Codemasters newest title, F1 2012, will have racing simulation fans on the edge of their seat with this years steady improvements. Updated from last year's title, 2012 has some key differences, ranging from some pretty impressive dynamic weather to brand new game modes.
For the last three years Codemasters has taken the F1 game franchise in a new direction. The games offer fans an experience to actually take the seat of an F1 racing driver with all its complexities while also making it fun. However, this does not mean the player will be in for any sort of sugar-coated experience because the game can be very tough.
Fortunately, 2012 features the young drivers test, which is a new game mode that allows newcomers to get a feel for the basics of racing in an F1 car. While some veterans of other racing games might feel the need to blow this off, it is not recommended. Simply put, 2012 presents unique challenges unseen in other racing titles. The young driver test breaks down F1 racing's key elements; acceleration, breaking, handling and advanced controls such as KERS and DRS (in layman's terms, added acceleration mode). Through instructional videos and on-the-road training, the young drivers mode wraps players heads around what to expect in the main game modes, which tend to be unforgiving to newbies.
Once the player has completed the young driver test, they can pick from an array of modes and start the real fun. Champions Mode is the shortest, offering six races versus some of the best drivers in the sport. This mode is particularly fun if you want to jump right into a few races before starting the other,long-winded modes. Next up is the Proving Grounds, which allows the more casual players to take on time trials and practice their newly learned skills racing against the time. However, the real meat to this game is Season Challenge and Career Mode.
In these two modes, players will see why they took the hour to finish the young drivers test because these modes can be really tough. Starting with the longer and more challenging Career Mode, players will work their way from the ground up, picking up new sponsorships, and out racing their rivals in order to make the leaderboards in the game. Players will be able to impress the racing industry and media in order to achieve more prestigious sponsors and titles in the world. Season Challenge provides most of the content that Career Mode delivers, with a shaved off feel, taking out some time-heavy challenges.
Game content aside, the visuals in 2012 are quite spectacular. Codemasters has done a fantastic job with not only the F1 cars and track graphics but also the weather dynamics. You'll see storm clouds move in on your area which will dump rain on the track. There are beautiful sunsets casting from the distance which can be a little distracting while trying to race. Lastly, the sensation of speed while ripping down a straightaway is sensational while sitting in the first person camera view in-car. From an audio standpoint, 2012 nails it as well, featuring realistic engine noise, great race commentary provided by former F1 drivers and of course the game's soundtrack.
All in all, 2012 invites fans of the sport to play a fun, yet challenging simulation experience. Players will learn to tame an F1 car from the young drivers test, and then race it in the Career Mode. The fun is not only moving up in the ranks, but also just simply driving the car. You get to hit over 180 MPH and then suddenly have to hit a hairpin turn, making sure to nail the apex on the way. Challenges like this should appeal to racing fans of all calibers, but realize the game is not going to be easy. 2012 is a rewarding gaming experience and with all the new added modes and dynamics, makes it a must-have for those who enjoyed last years title.
F1 2012 is available for PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3 and iOS.
Final Game guys score: A
(Codemasters provided a Xbox 360 copy of this game for review.)