F1 2012: First thoughts

Codemasters won the rights to the F1 game franchise in 2008 after Sony’s contract ran out. The first game in 2009 was nothing major, but 2010 saw a massive change in the series. The obvious change was the amazing graphics aswell as a fantastic new weather system which allowed a race to be wetter in some parts of the tracks, than others.

2011 followed a year later with even more changes; The new DRS and KERS, massively improved steering, a possibility of a red flag during races and a cool new feature, the introduction of a Safety Car.

Codies had a lot to live up to for the 2012 edition and they lived up to it. . . . Kind of.

A notable observation is the improvement in graphics, again. Another fantastic introduction is the first lap carnage. In 2011, The cars would be slow off the line and go into the first few corners in a nice neat line to allow the player to make massive gains at the start, which was very unrealistic and not enjoyable. But in 2012, the cars are all over the track, you can’t get as much an advantage coming off the line, and there is utter pandemonium into the first few corners. Although, if you are good enough, you can jump from the back to the middle of the pack, you will have a very hard time of not being passed by the faster cars. For example, If you are driving for Marussia, You will be swamped by the Sauber’s, Force India’s and the Toro Rosso’s in the mid-field.

Another great feature is the penalties. If you overtake someone off track, you will not be automatically given a time penalty, but you have a time limit that comes up on the screen which gives you time to give back the place before the time runs out, or you are given a penalty.

Practice has been scaled down from the usual 3 practice sessions to just one practice session in a weekend. Steve Hood, creative designer at codemasters made the final call and based his decision on the fact that there was nothing to entice players to do practice and he decided to remove two sessions until he could develop something to improve practice.

One of the biggest new features in F1 2012 is the Young Driver’s Test in Abu Dhabi which enables you to drive with either Red Bull, McLaren or Ferrari where you do various tests such as straight line tests, KERS and DRS tests among other tests, ending in an overall evaluation. I was really excited for this part of the game but completely let down as it proved to be no more than a simple tutorial for those who have never played F1 before. But, it is somewhat important as, how you do in the test determines how many teams offer you a seat.

Another new feature is the Championship mode where you  challenge all 6 World Champions on the grid on particular tracks over 10 races where you have to beat your rival in each race which ends in a race where you compete against all 6 Champions at once. This is a great feature and I have to say that although it is good fun, I wouldn’t spend too long playing it; Career mode is better.

One of the biggest controversies of the game is the removal of tire scaling. If a player is playing  a 25% race, then they will not have scaled wear and, theoretically, they could run the option tyre for all but one lap (As you still have to run both tire compounds in a dry race). However, on my last point, I’ll explain why it’s still a good idea to keep a split strategy.

The car handling is something that has been hugely changed since 2011. I would havesaid  ‘The car handling has Improved’, but it hasn’t been improved. It has been changed. Now, You have to be very careful going around corners and have to wait until your are fully out of the corners before applying full power. This is a pity as cornering used to be where I caught my speed in a slower car but this advantage is now completely gone. Along with cornering, you will also notice the change in the steering when going down a straight. A slight twitch on the controller has a bigger effect now and if you over correct yourself, you’ll end up wobbling down the straight. Something I’m not hugely happy with. Altogether, I’m not happy with the changes to steering but, don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible.

On the whole, I think the game has been improved. Better graphics, more realistic racing, and great new features over-weigh the bad handling and the tire wear. I’d give the game 8/10 and would really recommend it to any F1 fan. But don’t worry if you don’t like this new edition, Codemasters are treating us to two F1 games this year. F1 Race Stars, the Mario-Kart of F1, is being released in November and promises to be great fun.

What’s your impression? Please leave a comment below with your opinion on the new F1 game.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “F1 2012: First thoughts

  1. Stevie Chambers

    I was really looking forward to this game. I bought 2010 and 2011 and I was mightily impressed by the advances they made and they got the balance of being easy for anybody to play and for the very best to enjoy the game without it being too easy.

    I played the hell out of F1 2011, I think I’ve racked up a total of 190 hours of track time on it. Me and a couple of friends even had our own 3 way championship and completed 2 or 3 seasons and we were planning to do the same for 2012. However, we played a few quick races last night and none of us were impressed. The handling is far too sensitive, the race distances are ridiculous, and the lack of tire wear is stupid.

    On 2011, the race distances were brilliant, lots of variety and crucially, each distance had all features. 40% races were my favourite. Enough to make most races 2 or 3 stoppers, also, when combined with qualifying, the total play time came to about an hour. 5 laps, 25%, 50% and 100%? Really? That’s too extreme. Why they changed it I’ll never know.

    During the build up to 2012, I maintained that they should re-release 2011 with updated drivers etc, but tweak it. That’s all they had to do to make an already great game, perfect.

    I have realised that I’m sort of writing an article in response to your article, as opposed to a comment, but oh well.

    Now I’ve slaughtered the game, I can admit that since last night, I have played it again and my view has changed slightly. The handling is something you have to adapt to. If you try and drive like you did in 2011 or 2010, you’ll spin off or run wide at every corner. I like the weather conditions, I like the better graphics. I also like the penalty system, yes, it still makes the odd stupid mistake, (Bruno Senna crashed into me at Austrailia and I got the bloomin’ penalty) but I can’t complain too much. I especially like the fact that when you’re not on track, you can’t use your DRS and you are slowed down. The information you receive from your race engineer is better now and more realistic. I was also relieved to see there are more helmet designs.

    Things I don’t like, among those I’ve already mentioned, the hardly-improved list of audio names. I know it’s not a huge part of the game, but it’s deeply frustrating when playing co-op to have to use a silly nickname because there’s nothing similar to my name. Also, I’m don’t see the point in the inclusion of the brake bias adjuster. Yes, I know it’s more authentic, but when you’re using a controller, you’re normally far too busy racing, to fiddle around with the brake bias. I’m not keen on the menus either. The old paddock menus were much better and easy to navigate. Now it’s all a bit too show-offy for my liking.

    Other than that, it’s not bad.
    If I were a teacher I’d give it ‘Alright, but could be better’
    7/10.

    • 190 hours track time? Pffft amateur! Yeah I’m similar. I agree that the handling is far too sensitive, but I think the race distances are ok. Unless your only trying to do a really quick race! Yeah, I absolutely hated the changes when I played the demo and didn’t play it again, even after spending 5 or 6 hours downloading it! However, the game is a lot better in my opinion and It’s really growing on me except for the excessively twitchy handling. Yeah, the engineer is also improved on last years Buzz Killington, except he’s still nothing on the 2010 Mr. Enthusiastic. Good point about the brake bias too. I’m much more of a ‘give me a car and I’ll drive it’ guy, I tend not to tweak much unless its a REALLY bad car. Yeah, the Menu is also very annoying, especially with the very, very tiny writing. I prefered the 2010 set up, where you could see your agent. You’d make a great teacher Stevie! Thanks for your opinion!

  2. I almost never leave a response, however i did some searching
    and wound up here F1 2012: First thoughts | Ben Sweeney’s F1 Blog. And I actually do
    have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it give the impression like some of the responses look like they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional online social sites, I would like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your community pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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