F1 2012 Review
With F1 2012, we have to applaud the hard work that has been done to bring the simulation closer to the real world F1 circus. The interface looks great, and the car and circuit details have already been improved on the brilliant F1 2011. However, there is now a steep learning curve attached to driving even in simple mode. Career mode now requires a lot of patience.
F1 2012 detailed review
F1 simulation games always lag behind when it comes to mimicking the exact same environment and feeling like real world racing. Since the Codemasters took charge of the annual F1 outings, things seem to be improving considerably. However, there are still some big issues with F1 2012 that you want to get back into the F1 2011 game!
The moment you start with F1 2012, the first thing that will inevitably catch your attention is the redesigned user interface. At least one infobox look has disappeared from previous versions, and has been replaced with a mix of card stacks and multiple boxes. It works well because you get a lot more visual material on a screen itself. The card stack style has the advantage of giving more information on one screen, the effect of which is to focus on the main stack and blur the rest a bit. What screens the information about your progress in the game as the next race loads. This time though, instead of showing the overall numbers, you’ll only get statistics from the specific categories you’re running in – career, fast running, etc.
To get started, you’ll get a huge view of an F1 car hovering over a turntable, and at first glance, it’s usually a Red Bull one, but that will change when you select a car and start playing the game. The initial menu moves as a strip at the bottom of the screen. Other than that, it’s all like a pile of cards, until you go into season challenge mode, which is affected by the paper clippings.
Incidentally, the F1 2010 and F1 2011 had relatively similar UIs, with little change between them instead of a complete redesign. The overhaul of this period is impressive. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with the predecessor’s interface, it only took the next step towards being very effective.
It’s a fast-paced and fully realistic track layout. There are new additions – the Texas Circuit being one, but the old ones are much more realistic. For anyone who follows F1 closely, any inconsistency or unrealistic element will stand like a sore thumb. Although there is no such problem. What has improved a lot is the look of the crowd / audience. Instead of cardboard cutouts, they have more realistic 3D features this time around, with many more flags and banners floating around the stands. The joy of the people is clearly heard this time. Try to lead the Italian Grand Prix in the Carva Parabolica round and start by finishing directly on Ferrari and you will hear the roar of the crowd.
There are a lot of new things though. The first is the Young Drivers Test. This is now the point of entry into full career mode. You will have to go through a two day test, and at the end your performance will decide which teams have been unlocked to start your career mode. With a gold and a silver, we saw that you HRT, Caterham and Toro Rosso. Better performance, and Williams and Force India will be available. Once you’re done, the goal of the game is to provide a complete experience – team meetings, press conferences, rival team offers and even having your own manager who takes care of PR and communication activities.
Season Challenge Mode is another addition that lets you pick a car and compete with the rest of the actual grid over the length of a season. At certain times, you have to choose your opponent, whom you want to lose. If you can finish better than them in the next two races, hopefully the team will offer you a deal. It is up to you to accept or reject it.
Champions mode throws multiple challenges where you carry a big gun – the world champion, in direct competition. For example, you have to catch Kimi Rকikkেনnen at Spa Francochamps in three laps and get out. Before you get started, you can choose between easy, medium and hard modes, but trust us when we say this – even in easy mode it is very difficult to beat the champions.
Qualifying for the race in F1 2012, excluding the Season Challenge mode, replicated three session formats. You must be above the drop out zone to advance to the next round.
Flashback is something that allows you to rewind the race for 15 seconds and start from there. Crash the car, immediately press select on the controller, rewind to where you were driving correctly and restart from there without any time or penalty. It is only available up to 4 times per race, but can be something that first-time players and casual gamers may find very useful.
We’ve already talked about circuits, and how real they look. Now, we talk about cars. In previous versions, the cars were very realistic. The cars have been slightly modified to be as close as possible to this year’s versions, and the reality remains intact. Every little detail is clearly visible, be it outside or in cockpit mode. Tires also have a different look. Pirelli Chinterato tires are available in a variety of compounds, each with a different color sidewall.
See page two to read more about F1 2012, gameplay, and judgment …
This is where the codemasters went overboard, trying to make the game more realistic. It has a positive side, but it also has an equally huge negative angle.
First of all, if you drive one of the best cars – McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull, the game is a lot of fun. You will stay close to the top of the standings until you do something stupid. This is true for all modes – fast running, career, etc. The operation of a bunch of these cars is subtle, and rather realistic You can bounce on curbs without much trouble, while in F1 2011, it ensured a spontaneous spin. In the F1 2012, the car will turn if you put a wheel on the green stuff, but very stable even if you do not take the conventional lines round.
However, choose a second tier car – Mercedes, Renault or Williams, and the chances of catching up with Fernando Alonso or Luis Hamilton are almost negligible. Well, when you see the front car pulling farther and farther into every corner, there’s nothing you can do. We appreciate that the car’s performance is replicated as close to the real world racing scene as possible, but it takes a lot of fun from the racing bit. If you copy exactly the same difficulty settings between F1 2012 and F1 2011, you will see a huge difference. In the precedent, we actually won the Belgian Grand Prix in the rain because of a Lotus strategy! In this game version, there’s no chance of getting distracted, because of the extremely low midfield performance and low rated cars.
The penalties really hit our wall. Okay, imagine this scene – you’re driving from wheel to wheel between Jean-Eric Vergen and Melbourne Circuit 6 and Turn 7. Try hitting him on the side, or give him a little less space in the side corner and you will face number 10. Second or one stop / go penalty for “unsportsmanlike behavior”. Another scenario – everyone is going to the chicken in the first corner of the mansion, and Roman Grozgin is tapping you from the left. Inevitably, your car slides, and you hit someone in the back just to your right. You will be given a 10-second time penalty for crashing. You may mention that Roman may have also received a penalty, but ahem, this can be verified by checking the Race Director data only when you press the start button and there. The penalty system in F1 2011 was better than in F1 2010, which was also very strict, but instead of improving, it turned into a congregation of studious men who ridicule someone who can’t speak perfect queen English. If you add 10 seconds to your time for the slightest fun, where is the fun element? And why be punished for the mistakes of others?
KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) differed greatly in terms of vehicle performance during that time, and even seemingly had a greater impact than before. Interestingly, some angles of some circuits are not optimized for KERS or DRS used in the previous stretch. The biggest example is Manjar’s first corner chicken. Exit the Curva Parabolica and place the KERS (and / or DRS) directly for a while. Go to the corner, and you realize you’re not going to round it up anyway. Brake hard, lock the tires, run wide, cut thin and get a fine for “track cutting”! In the case of other similar suspects on the Canadian Montreal Circuit, we examined whether this was a problem. Use DRS and KERS directly below Ile Notre Dame with speeds in excess of 330kmph. You go to the Final Corner Chicken which takes you directly against the Wall of Champions of the Start Finish. The braking was perfect, the turn-in was correct, there was no tank slapper at the time of departure, and the journey was to another lap. Basically, the Manja circuit problem is a shutdown, and works well on the rest of the two circuits.
The last row
The F1 2012 franchise was supposed to bring more realism. And it certainly is. The car and circuit details are better than before. There are now three block formats in the qualifying session. You have a career mode that starts only once you pass the Young Drivers exam. Performance in this test decides which teams think you are good enough to drive for them. Then comes the issue of car performance. Good to see a realistic depiction of car performance, but even in Easy mode, this gap is a bit wide. Casual gamers will easily shut down, and it will take a lot of patience to get on top of someone starting out in career mode. There are plenty of drab hours for you to tour in Toro Rosso for at least one full season!
We will play F1 2012 for fancy new things – Champions Mode and Season Challenge. To play carrier mode, we will release the F1 2011 disc again.
Developer: Codemaster Birmingham
Type: Racing, sports, simulation
Platform: PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox, Windows