Release Date: Out now!
In recent years my beloved motorsport has gone through many changes, now it’s often just as much about the off-track politics as it is about the on-track racing.
Turning this into a game is a challenge that none have attempted of late, but now racing legends Codemasters have quietly stepped up to the plate in a bid to bring the sport into the gaming world once more.
Did they manage it? The answer is a resounding yes….
The idea is simple enough, F1 2010 pits you as a new driver who must make their way through the ranks to a top team and start winning some championships. At the beginning you can choose how long you’re in for – 3, 5 or 7 seasons.
You can only pick from the bottom team to start off, and that team will present you with realistic goals such as qualifying in 15th or higher and or even finishing in the top ten in the actual race.
It’s a neat touch and gives a nice sense of progression but is let down a little by a simple fact – unless your on a very high difficulty it’s not that hard to win races with a low ranked car.
The home trailer idea from Dirt 2 returns, you can look around your trailer, chat to your Agent and venture outside. It’s just a slightly fancier menu system but still looks and feels quite nice.
The same can be said for the garage where mechanics bustle around your car and you can compare stats with your team-mate, adjust the settings and check out race information.
But it’s on the track where F1 2010 makes its mark.
These high-powered vehicles handle with precision and need a gentle touch to get around the track at high-speed. Thankfully a wide choice of assists and difficulty settings will allow pretty much anyone to throw one of these bad-boys around the track.
Change from hard to soft tires and there is a big change in handling, the same goes for any tweaks to set-up.
The game can be tailored for almost any player, assists can be turned on and off to help car control while yo can choose to participate in a short weekend or go for the full-blown three practice sessions, qualifying and full race.
Dynamic weather also adds a degree of realism to the affair with temperature even affecting handling. Heavy rain races turn into insane affairs as you fight to keep in the lead.
Flashback returns allowing you to rewind time if you make a mistake. The amount of these you get is also customisable. It’s still a nice way to help out people who are struggling and those who fancy themselves as a pro can just ignore them.
It’s hard to criticise the game for its on track performance, the cars all handle amazingly and races are fun.
Off the track things are a little less fun. Interviews add a nice touch to the game, after a race or if you get on the podium you’ll be asked to participate in a press interview. Three questions usually make these up and your answers are always simplistic. These can affect how your team treat you and affect the chances of new contract offers from bigger teams. Sadly you can always tell the ‘best’ answer and the press tend to repeat questions or just ask damn stupid ones. Being asked if you had a good race when you came in 24th is just irritating. Shame there is no ‘punch the interviewer’ option.
There’s a fair whack of playtime involved, a season (even with a short weekends) will still take close to ten hours and is a fun affair. Performing well and watching your team rise through the ranks is a good feeling.
Research and Developement can be used to improve your car, often leading to a tough decision as you choose whether to stay with your team or accept a contract with a new, higher placed team.
Graphically the game makes good impressions. Cars are highly detailed as they should be due to running on the same engine used for Dirt 2, thus the slight grainy look. Trackside details are good even if crowds do look a bit like they’re made out of cardboard.
Of course such details are hard to even spot when you’re blasting past at stupid speeds. The game does a good job of conveying the speed of these cars can hit.
Sound effects are also superb with the cars engines providing that high-pitched whine that is so familiar. Go into the timing screens and you’ll be greeted by some sweet licensed background music which once again resembles the Dirt 2 soundtrack.
Codemasters have made a wise choice to keep music out of the actual on-track racing, instead relying on the sound of the engine to keep you smiling.
The AI behave with an impressive amount of realism, even if they can often block your hot lap in qualifying. Each has a slight variation is style as well, some are better in the wet and others in the dry. Make a move up their inside and they won’t just pull straight into you and instead put up a fair fight around the corner. Occasionally they’ll make a suicide move on you, but that happens in the real sport to so it’s forgivable.
Random mechanical failures have been left out of the game to help keep things feeling fun, though oddly punctures can happen. Things like safety cars and warm-up laps are oddly missing as well, and while this is not a bad thing for a game those looking for ultra realism may be a little disappointed to find them missing.
A bigger disappointment is a rather lack-luster damage model compared to previous Codies games. Cars just don’t hit or crumple with much force.
Ultimately F1 2010 is not the most realistic Formula One game there is, but it’s close enough. It tries to provide the lifestyle as well as the driving which is doesn’t quite succeed at, but on track this is a damn fine racer and deserving of your cash whether you just like racers in general of if you’re a fan of the real sport.
Now excuse me, I’m going to go shunt Schumacher off the track.
+ Getting my Torro Rosse onto pole! Eat that Red Bull.
+ Slamming Schuey off the track
+ Getting that new contract through from a big team.
- Die interviewer!
- Getting intimate with a wall.
The grainy effect is still a little odd but the detail is superb and everything looks crisp and clean.
A wise choice to only include music in the timing screens pays off as engine sounds are spot on.
You’re a driver. Go win something.
A few bugs can hit you, and they’re game breaking but with a patch coming out soon they won’t be worrying you much longer. Nailing that fast lap is a great feeling.
the full seven season career will take you a looooong time, but you may get bored quickly. For the die-hard though, this is a big game.
The best Formula One game in a long time with great handling and an interesting attempt to let players live the life. Ultimately you may bore quickly of the game but the racing is truly spot-on and the big F1 fans will find a home here.