Many previous Codemasters F1 games have left us feeling rather unsatisfied and even though F1 2011 was a turn in the right direction it was still underwhelming and easy to forget. F1 fans worldwide have been disappointed in the lack of realism of previous titles but I’m very glad to say that our wishes are finally coming to fruition. F1 2012 is no doubt the pinnacle of F1 simulation gaming. Licensing has never been a problem but here Codemasters have finally merged real drivers, cars and tracks with real simulation racing and tactics.
For those of you who crave the challenge of a perfectly hit apex without traction control then there is no doubt that F1 2012 is exactly what you need. F1 2012 has a brilliant handling system which is so dynamic that it requires players to consider their racing line along with different tire choices, tire usage, fuel levels and weather conditions. Track temperatures can determine whether you remain on track or in the sandpits, pit stop timing can slot you into first or last and one good sector on track can be the difference between winning and losing. Constant reports back from the pits aid in identifying slow zones on track so that players can gradually push the limits. These things might sway many from this title but in the case that you seek absolute driving perfection than look no further. The higher the level of difficulty, the higher the realism and the larger the reward.
Computer AI has improved immensely and it seems that other drivers are now able to react to your driving style and perform legal overtaking manoeuvres. A lovely little treat that F1 2012 has kept is the ‘flashback button’ which allows you to reverse back in time so that you can correct a mistake. This works in the game’s favour as these flashbacks are limited but give some form of leeway for easy- to- make errors. This allows you to race with a high sense of realism and gives you the ability to push the car slightly harder. A form of insurance if you like.
Practice makes perfect and certain practice days give rewards for achieving certain goals. This creates some form of hypnotic state, hitting every apex, lap after lap in a bid to improve sector times. Race days are even more fun as cars are now equipped with both DRS and KERS which allows for more overtaking and more entertainment. Career mode casts you as yourself attempting to start off at a smaller team in a bid to reach the top. Hint: Some starter teams, such as HRT, DO NOT come with DRS and KERS as is true of the real world, so start with Force India if you want that from the start. Champion Mode allows you to take on the best 6 drivers in the game in a series of fun challenges. Another improvement is the addition of split- screen multiplayer options which was a big downer in the other titles.
Overall, F1 2012 is the best F1 game fans can buy. If you enjoy simulation games and know the technicalities behind Formula 1 then this is a must buy. For the rest who enjoy simulation racing games this is a winner and although the only cars are F1 cars (as the title aptly suggests) the racing is as good as any.
F1 2012 Rating: 7/10
Check out the F1 2012 website: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/f12012/pc/