"Doing Formula One Right, Yet Again"
I know Codemasters are experts doing at least one thing: F1 racing sims. Their newest game, F1 2012, doesn't disappoint. In a world filled with arcade racers, a few racing sims just briefly touching (or not even acknowledging) Formula One at all, it's important for F1 2012 to get things right. So what does Codemasters do to succeed in bringing the sport to the console yet again?
F1 2012 already has the feeling of being a niche game for Formula One fans, but it wants to be so much more. The thing is, if you nerf the challenge and make an F1 game more acessible, it loses everything and all meaning of what makes a good Formula One game. F1 2011 was "hard", and when I say "hard", I mean it took practice. Lots of practice. You just didn't pick one of 500 cars, race around a track, buy new air filters and suspension, and race faster. It was a game of meticulous care and skill.
F1 2012 is the same, but Codemasters has found ways to bring this racing sim to fans outside the sport. This comes across by adding in optional driving aids, different track levels, and other options which will help those who want to take the time to learn, making the path a little more comfortable. These learning aids also include a rewind feature to help master the tracks mid-race. If you crash, just go back before your crashed to master that specific turn. Pretty neat stuff.
At the start, you begin with mastering the skills of using DRS and KERS systems, racing at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. From here, you learn just how precise and intense F1 2012 can get in regards to its controls. It will also get true F1 fans to learn the new FIA rules instituted in 2012. F1 2012 continually gets more difficult, but with practice and patience, the player will be able to take the higher tier tracks and do quite well. F1 2012 won't tempt you to throw the controller as much as much as F1 2011 and F1 2010, but it's going to still be a challenge.
F1 2012 looks a lot better than 2011, but this comes mostly from updated track graphics. 2011 already looked great as far as car models, but the track was a bit lackluster. F1 2012 focuses on making that track just a bit more realistic at slower speeds. Track re-creations are great, and Formula One fans won't have trouble recognizing these famous spots. F1 2012 stays focused on realism, and it does a fine job.
Whether you want to race in career mode working your way up the ranks, or just have a quick race in arcade mode, F1 2012 can be as time-consuming as you want it to be, but mostly this time consumption will come from just becoming a better driver. Multiplayer mode is also available for those who are in the need to test their skills online against other players.
After all that is said, I don't want to scare casual racing game players or other car sim addicts away from the F1 series. Though there is a learning curve, it's just a simple "don't expect to get it right away" kind of situation. You will get it, it will be fun, and it just takes a little longer and a little bit more focus than your average race game. That being said, hardcore car sim fans and F1 fans won't be disappointed with what Codemasters has done yet again with the series.
GameDynamo's Score for F1 2012 (PS3)
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