F1 2012 Game & Audio Review

30Sep

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Codemasters are back with their latest installment of F1 2012 delivering a host of changes, some small and some significant, that will have the rev-heads out there and racing enthusiasts thrilled to the smell of racing engine fumes. F1 2012 is the third installment now in the series and Codemasters has truly delivered a racing title that qualifies in pole position, let’s take a look.

When you first start up the game, you will be thrust into the young drivers test which is the games way of welcoming you to what will be the most important lessons of your life if you want to or expect to survive a Formula 1 championship. You’ll be put through 2 days (in game time that is) of driver’s tests including everything from braking to acceleration, taking corners correctly and following the optimal racing line. It even goes further to teach you two new elements called KERS and DRS which essentially are like Nitrous for your ride so to speak, but more on that later. These tests don’t take long to complete and you’re on your way shortly after that.

Now that basic training is over you have many choices at your disposal. The first area you’ll find yourself leaning towards is the Season Challenge mode. Here you are required to compete in 10 Grand Prix’s and challenge a series of rivals. Or if you’re so inclined you can jump straight into the Career mode which is far lengthier and challenging and will have you racing up the league tables, impressing the press with your wins and earning contract offers to drive for other teams in your pursuit for world champion. Then there are the Proving Grounds. Here you can compete in Time Attack modes and Champions Mode. Champion’s mode requires to complete six challenges that require you to outrace your rivals and is a lot of fun. And let’s not forget those Time Trials modes where you’ll be pushing your car to the limits as you attempt to shave fractions of a second off your lap times. There is certainly a feast of game modes that will keep you entertained for a long time and I am pleased to see so much variety compared to previous versions.

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F1 2012 prides itself also on being as realistic as possible and it shows. Firstly there’s the drivers themselves who are all there, from Raikonnen to Button, Hamilton and more. The racing commentary is also voiced by none other than former F1 driver Anthony Davidson which helps create that true atmosphere and experience that you’d come to expect. You’ll enjoy the commentary and overall presentation of the game as you work from the ranks of a trainee or rookie so to speak to a world champion.

F1 2012 can be extremely varied in its difficulty as you will come to learn. Firstly when you race you can select from the usual myriad of driver assists ranging from ABS to Traction Control, Auto or Manual gearboxes and suggested lines and heck even automatic braking. Depending on your skill level you can set these assists to whatever level you desire and that’s where F1 2012 shines because the game adapts to that difficulty levels and adjusts accordingly to suit. For me, I played with the Traction control set to its lowest level and removed most of the other assists as I want to feel fully in control of the car and the game. It is noticeable when you’re taking a long sweeping bend at 250km/hr and the slightest nudge of the throttle can unsettle the car in a split second for which there is no time to recover, or is there? Codemasters has also introduced again the rewind function that with the push of the back button you can rewind time and re-resume your race as if nothing had happened. That’s right; this is known as the Flashback system and can come in extremely handy when you push that little bit too hard around a corner. You’ll get 5 of these per race so use them wisely is the key.

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Weather effects are also a great part of F1 2012 in terms of realism. From bright sunny days to wet thunderstorms, you’ll encounter all varieties and this is where setting your car up accordingly can make all the difference. Tires are everything in F1 2012 and you need to ensure that for each type and style of race/weather combination that you choose the set up you think will deliver the best performance around the track. Just a simple setting in relation to down force or braking bias can shave those valuable seconds off your lap time, so don’t be scared to tinker with some of the settings to find that ultimate set up for your car.

Other great features of the game in terms of realism are the environments. Apart from being gorgeous to look at they are also real too! So hit the grass at 200 km/hr and you will hit the spins! Also, even just rolling over the grass will see debris litter your tires and will cause traction issues. It will certainly make you think twice before cutting your next corner. Earlier also I made reference to KERS which essentially acts like a 10 second Nitrous shot that increases your horsepower and can be used for effective overtaking or to gain the advantage whilst on a large straight. Whichever way you use it you’ll want to keep the car straight!

As with all of the points mentioned so far, the extremities of each can be felt or not felt at all depending on how you set the difficulty. This is what makes F1 2012 accessible to both the novice and the expert, and it gives you the option to set that difficult accordingly. So that’s a win win in my book.

In addition to expected online multiplayer, split-screen and LAN options make welcome appearances. With no noticeable decline in frame rates or overall visual quality in split screen, the chance for some deliciously tense competition with your real-world mates is one to be enjoyed. F1 2012 also supports split screen and system link capabilities as well, so there’s no excuse not to challenge a friend.

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The sounds in F1 2012 are rich and vibrant, and depending on your sound system can vary extensively. You can certainly feel the road of the Ferrari V12 engine at 10,000 RPM through your speakers and chest if you turn the volume up loud enough. Also, the commentary also helps make the game shine which is important given that feedback from your pit crew on your performance is ever so critical to help keep you in tune with the race and your current standings.

In term of the visuals for F1 2012, they are gorgeous to say the least. That’s also not a knock to F1 2011 as it too was gorgeous to look at and for those expecting leaps and bounds, well, on the current hardware that’s simply not going to happen. However, refinement is something that does happen and with each version of F1, the visuals have increased as well as the frame rate. F1 2012 needs to be fast, and you need to feel like your burning along at 300Km/hr and you do. That sense of speed is there and you don’t get caught up in the clutter on screen or get bogged down with screen tearing and frame rate drops. There is an exceptional level of balance and smoothness with F1 2012 and it shows.

The menu systems and visual layout and presentation is nice, with clear menus, easy to read hubs and instructions are all well laid out. In terms of the tracks, environments and cars, all levels of detail are there and you truly have a sense of realism each time you play F1 2012. Codemasters have done a magnificent job at capturing the feel of F1 racing and it shows.

In terms of value, F1 2012 will give you hours of entertainment thanks to its huge assortment of modes and lengthy career modes. You’ll find yourself spending a heck of a lot of time finding that perfect car set up to help you achieve those super-fast lap times and it’s here that F1 2012 can soak up a lot of your time. There’s no doubt about it, there’s loads of value here and replayability and that’s before you even take the game online.

Conclusion

Overall F1 2012 is the best in the F1 series yet and offers more than just a racing game can. It offers a racer that can be simple and friendly to something that can be extremely challenging and geared towards and expert racer. Codemasters has truly captured the F1 experience and F1 2012 will show you the way to become the world champion and or at least appreciate the ride in getting there. F1 2012 is a must buy for any racing enthusiast.

9 / 10

Pros:

+ Beautiful environments

+ Plenty of race modes to choose from

+ Exciting online

+ True sense of speed

Cons:

+ Lap times can be frustrating to achieve

+ Career interface can be daunting to newcomers

Also, be sure sure check out our Audio Review as well by clicking on the link to hear what we have to say about F1 2012!

Boosty

Also Gamers, welcome to the first Audio review of the latest F1 2012 racing title by Codemasters.  Take a listen and enjoy as we tell you everything you need to know about Codemasters latest title F1 2012.

The Daily Joystick Team

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