Monday, 17 September 2012

My Usual Spiel: F1 2011, To strive for perfection or misbehave

Release Date: 23 September 2011
Genre: Driving/Racing
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters Racing
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

F1 2011 was a game that was suggested to me to try out by one of my friends Aaron Simpson, a friend whose experience with Japanese swords I couldn’t question but with video games I really had no idea. Though I was only trying out the game free of charge this time around unlike the instances of Magicka, Diablo III and possibly Arma II which I purchased on the proposition from friends that it was a game I would enjoy and found I actually didn’t in the end. But anyway I’d never played am F1 simulator before and who was I to refuse a driving game. I found starting out with the game pretty easy, I thought It was going to be a nightmare settings up all the controls and options but it turned out to be pretty easy almost over simplified I think as it struck me straight away that this was not a serious racing simulator such as Grand Turismo and not a crazy arcade racer like Burnout but sort of like a middle of the road one like Test Drive Unlimited 2 for example which is what I’m used to.

Ah the very start of the race, quite chaotic especially in Singapore at night
The experience of being a new F1 driver is fairly thorough you get a full on introduction and media interview though they don’t actually react to your answers, you also get a laptop with emails from your Team Manager your Race manager your PR Manager and your Manageering manager of managerial services but this is just formality basically as you are told what your targets are for each race anyway, things like placing 18st or under which is pretty reasonable for your first time. So you select the race (Australia is first up as usual) and then you get straight to the garage and in the driver’s seat and have options to configure all this stuff and view these screens with things like, tyre type, weather, engine set up etc, but basically depending on the difficulty level you have it set on the options should be picked for you and you can go straight out and start.

"C'mon let's go man! it's all good, I'm good! I'm fine! get this damn computer off my car! dunno what most of it means anyway, wait I think I need to go to the toilet!, is there a toilet in here!? errgh aargh eeg! oh screw it let's goooo! woah! sorry about that buddy almost ran you over! woah this shit is fast!

To my annoyance you don’t actually drive the car out yourself, it’s automatically done for you to stop any speeding through the pits, but the problem with this is that the car keeps accelerating and they only give you control back on the first corner and you have to really make sure that you slow down. I actually tried turning all of the assists off and faired mostly fine without them surprisingly though I had a hard time measuring the throttle to my joystick, I use a Logitech Playstation2 style controller for PC and I use one joystick for steering and the other for acceleration and braking unlike the new PS3 one which had the bumper pads for accel/braking.

These two turns couldn't have gone any worse, I was having trouble getting used to the throttle and was accelerating way to fast.

So I did laps, and more laps, it was pretty challenging to start off with even on the easiest setting (especially in the freakin rain) but I got reasonably used to it. Though in order to get the full experience you really need the whole force feedback steering wheel/pedals set up of course I reckon it does make things harder especially when you not used to it.

You can apparently buy an F1 steering wheel pheripheral
Not that something like this wouldn't be even better.
In order to do your first race you first go out for practice to do a specific amount of laps which I’m not sure how many and ended up leaving having done about 5 and just gone with that time. I then had to do qualifying followed by the actual race. The Albert Park scene was good, I was ready to do then I did the 3 lap race and came 14th which was pretty good, you really notice  If you happen to run into a wall and lose parts of your car the difference that it makes and how fragile the damn cars really are. I then went back to my drivers “caravan” and selected the next race which was in Malaysia and came 7th, which was even better. It was at that time I came to the realization that being a virtual F1 Driver was quite boring, the emails were boring the interviews were boring and the racing was quite boring. SO I had to shake things up a bit (as you do)

Lookin good for Albert park Qualifying
I like this shot too, I think their just used generic buildings though unless you can recognise one
During the next race (in Turkey) I could give two shits about setting a good time or qualifying, and got myself disqualified from both events. During the main race I started to ram the fack out of my opponents, I shoved them out of the way, I blocked them (illegally, yes there’s such thing as legal blocking in F1 apparently), I ran them into the wall, I threw my cigarette lighter into their cockpit onto their crotch, you name it I did it and eventually got black flagged with race director “Andy”  all the while calmly telling me what was going on with the stewards until very calmly telling me that “this is the end of the race for us” as I was booted from the track two minutes in.

I then saw a short animation of me swiping the camera away and storming off into what I think would be the locker room. And do you think after all this foul behavior, disqualifications and failure would I get a stern talking to by Andy? A negative interview about the results of the last race, an angry email from the Team Manager? telling me to pack up my stuff and get out? No, NOTHING I did the same thing two races and two different countries in a row and nothing happened apart from some animation of me being slightly moody, the interview was the same stupid supportive crap and I received absolutely no new email from anyone, and that my friend is not acceptable. What’s the fun on doing wrong when you don’t get at least some kind of negative feedback for it especially in an industry as freakishly competitive as Formula 1.

"Get that camera out of my face!, or helmet... damn car, damn race, damn sexual misconduct lawsuit, rrrgh mffrmggr mgrghrghrr...."

But anyway I’ll continue with the review, the graphics are reasonable though a bit cartoony, it’s almost like they used the same graphical style and engine from Vietcong 2  but technically this isn’t a game which needs detailed human characters and you don’t really need that much for an F1 game, the people look decent, the weather effects are pretty good, there’s a decent vibe going when you start the race not to mention the attention to detail including all the stands with the people during the main races. The singleplayer campaign should keep you going for a while but there is also the new “Proving Grounds” which you are given specific cars and settings to make a time in as well as the normal time trial. I didn’t really try the multiplayer mode as I don’t usually bother with most racing games though I have tried with a few games recently including Test Drive Unlimited 2, Wipeout Fusion and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. But if you’re a fan of F1 and want to play with and compete against people of the same liking then this will be for you where you can participate in the new Co-op championship mode, where you and a friend will be teammates/rivals for a whole F1 Season which sounds like a lot of fun, as well as that there also is the usual multiplayer plus a split screen mode which is rare for a PC version, there is also computer racers to fill in the gaps if you haven’t got the full 16 players on the track (imagine that)

Quite a good example of what would probably happen when you play multiplayer

Overall F1 2011 is a game mostly for fans of F1 or avid track motorsports fans in general especial the single and multiplayer co-up Championships you really get the feel of being an F1 driver, the learning curve can be a bit steep for newcomers  . I can honestly say that I’d rather be some rich bastard in Hawaii driving (almost) any car he wants any way he wants for some billionaire tournament rather than a chump who has to adhere to realistically strict rules. I can’t say I didn’t have a bit of fun, but seriously give me an open road and a Lamborghini anyday.


F1 2011 Release trailer

vvveeeeeeoowwwwwnnn!....... rock'n'roll outro

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