F1 2012 review (Xbox 360)

Bringing welcomed changes to practically every aspect of the game, F1 2012 attempts to inject the notion of being a real F1 driver more than ever before; but is Codemasters’ fourth go at the F1 franchise worth a spin?

With Formula 1 being overly technical and jarringly precise, Codemasters have adopted a lucid approach to learning the art of F1 racing. Unlike the previous instalment, Codemasters has improved its approach to newcomers, offering better training through informative narrations and “Young Driver Test” short courses, which prove invaluable and help ease the sharp learning curve.

Whether you’re a rookie driver or a regular jockey of 750 horses, F1 2012 has a vast amount of customisability for your racing preference. There are options for track guidelines as well as automatic braking assists, so new drivers won’t have to hone “Jedi-like” reflexes to compete for a podium spot.

F1 2012 has improved the feel of all the F1 vehicles with even more realism. F1 technology, like the Drag Reduce System (DRS) and Kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), are well explained and adds a stronger element of strategy going forward. Coupled with discipline and patience, one can quickly change the outcome of a race.

For a game as clinical as F1, the best driving experience will come from a racing steering wheel and pedal set, as a normal d-pad controller proves more challenging for those methodical corner entries and apex clipping points.

Along with the usual Quick Race, Multiplayer, and training modes, the Career is where you’ll be spending most of your time.

A new feature to give you the excitement and immersion of a Career mode, but in a concentrated burst form, is that of Season Challenge, where laps are shorter, qualifying is quicker and includes a new Rivals mode.

Being built on Codemasters’ current EGO 2.O engine, F1 2012 looks good with significant improvements over 2011 with regards to lighting and colour depth. But somehow, there seems to be anti-aliasing issues and often models show overly rigid lines. This comes as a slight disappointment alongside the sharp polish on the rest of the game.

The 20 meticulously-modelled circuits on the other hand look fantastic and are flawlessly detailed.  The weather system has also been revised to correctly simulate the transition from sunny skies to torrential rains, which affect your pit strategy too.

One of the most notable improvements from F1 2011 is the great audio. From the orchestra of bees on the starting grid to the 350km/h rasp of a F1 engine, one thing that cannot be faulted is the sound. The authenticity of the audio features really add to the overall sense of speed, as well as sheer terror.

After activating your free VIP pass, only then can you compete on the world’s stage with fellow F1 drivers.  There’s a line-up of Quick Match races, Custom races, and a a co-op championship mode to try out with some friends.

Jumping right into Quick Match, I quickly found out how fast-paced and realistic F1 really is online. With fractions of a second between you and a podium finish – F1 2012 isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Whether F1 2012 is a worthy buy after owning 2011 is questionable, but for hard-core enthusiasts as well as newcomers interested in trying it out –F1 is a solid game that won’t leave you disappointed. Codemasters have polished-off another great F1 simulator that will leave F1 enthusiasts enthralled.

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F1 2012 review (Xbox 360)

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