Codemasters is back with the latest in their series of Formula One games, F1 2012!
Reviewed on the PlayStation 3 by Matthew Reynolds
Codemasters is back with the 3rd F1 title in the series, appropriately named, F1 2012. The previous game was balanced more towards multiplayer, with the addition of CO-OP seasons and split screen, the jump to F1 2012 has gone back to improving the single player experience.
As the game loads up you are immediately into the Young Driver Test. This basically serves as a fancy 20-30 minute tutorial but it is definitely a welcome addition to the series. Your performance on these tests also determine which teams are open to you at the start of the career, however you can just replay these at any moments until you pass perfectly. Driving game novices will definitely appreciate the small tips provided on how to properly drive on a racing track while experienced drivers may feel a bit insulted. The first impression is overall very positive as we are treated to a completely different opening to the game than the previous ones. However, after this small tutorial you realise that quite a lot of the pieces from past games has been copied and transferred over to the new one. For example the main garage sub-menu which is seen before every single race doesn’t have many new features at all. This is not a huge problem but it is very noticeable and feels a bit cheap.
In F1 2012 the career mode is slightly more complex than before. Available to you is a new mode called Season Challenge or the traditional Career. The season challenge is an interesting new feature which is basically a small 10 race season with 5 laps per race, and the overall premise of the season challenge is primarily about out racing a rival of your choosing and winning the championship. Every 3 races you change your rival and move to their last spot. This continues through the 10 races as you try to reach the top. This mode is quite clever but it doesn’t really feel that much different to a trimmed down career mode. The regular career mode is back with a revamped menu system. You are no longer in your trailer and walking around the paddock instead it is a much more traditional interface but sleek and stylish nonetheless.
The multiplayer is still there with nothing particularly new there’s just a few small fixes from previous games. The split screen is improved allowing for a 2 person race with AI. This was long overdue.
F1 2012 also introduces Champions Mode this is basically a challenge mode where specific racing conditions and goals are presented to you and you have to beat themUnfortunately I believe a gigantic opportunity was missed here as there are only a handful of challenges. There was a great opportunity here to have the player replay many great F1 &moments from over the past few decades and maybe even race in some old style F1 cars.
Now onto the reason we are all here, the racing. F1 2012 feels very similar to the other games and after a few laps you won’t realise anything shockingly different but this is to be expected as the other games were great. There is definitely some improvement on the graphics and the sound of the cars is still as loud and noisy as we want. A big feature is the dynamic weather which unlike the previous games is much more obvious and this makes a very big difference to your races. What would be straightforward races can soon develop into tense drama with the sudden outburst of rain causing lots of tire changes and safety cars, this was defiantly a great step forward in creating a more thrilling experience. In the past I had always felt the Flashbacks didn’t let you go back far enough, fortunately this seems to be fixed in F1 2012 allowing you a few more seconds after your crash before you have to press the instant replay.
With many positives here how do we some up F1 2012. Well naturally with a sports game each sequel is usually better but the big question is, has enough of a step forward been taken? I feel that there is a lot of emphasis on the singleplayer experience at the start of the game but as the game progresses I feel that it just deteriorates into a standard racing career and there is little ambition to want to play season after season as there is no real progress or exciting/random events. To give some credit to Codemasters some of their time has been spent developing the new F1 Race Stars. So yes F1 2012 is definitely a fantastic racing game and there are some nice improvements. However there is no need to rush out and buy this now as there are no big features you are missing out on.