Codemasters has been making awesome racing games for seemingly forever. TOCA Race Driver, DiRT, GRID, FUEL (hey, we liked it) - if a racing game comes from Codemasters there is usually reason to be excited about it. With these lofty expectations, we tore into Codies' latest racer and first entry into Formula 1, F1 2010. And we were not disappointed. It is a little rough due to some glitches, but the presentation and core gameplay is everything we expected and more. Find out all of the details here in our full F1 2010 review.
- Publisher: Codemasters
- Developer: Codemasters
- ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
- Genre: F1 Racing
- Pros: Excellent visuals; great gameplay; challenging even on easy; using a wheel is highly recommended
- Cons: Glitches; no local multi; not for casual race fans
I suppose I should preface this by admitting I'm not a die-hard F1 fan. Never watched a real full race, even. But I love racing games and have actually owned a half-dozen F1 games over the years (Formula One Championship Edition was the first game I bought with my PS3 three-and-a-half years ago ...). As such, my take on the game is more gameplay and feature focused than a die-hard who may be more concerned with more minute details. Just thought I'd toss that out there.
F1 2010 sports the full F1 license and features all 19 tracks, 12 teams, and 24 drivers from the 2010 season. You can play through a 3, 5, or 7 year career, do time trials, set up your own Grand Prix with races of your choosing, or jump online to race on Xbox Live. There isn't any local splitscreen multiplayer, which is kind of a letdown. There is a "pass the controller" party play option, but that doesn't count.
Career has you joining a low level team and trying to work your way up to being the lead car on that team and eventually to joining more successful teams. You earn upgrades based on your performance, and being the lead car on a team lets you direct the upgrades to suit your driving style. It makes it interesting because you don't necessarily have to win every race to be successful, you just need to make sure you're better than your teammate in practice or qualifying and races. At least to start with. You obviously need to win eventually.
The career is a time consuming beast, all told. You have to run practice, qualifying, and at least 20% race distances, and it all really adds up. Casual fans might find the endless practicing and R&D sessions boring and the career overall a bit plodding in pace. But if you do put in the time and effort required, it is one of the most satisfying career modes you'll find in a racing game because you really have to earn every bit of what you get.
F1 2010 is clearly a simulation-style game, but it does things a little differently than other sim games. You have a variety of assists you can turn on or off to make the game easier or more realistic, but even with all assists turned on the game isn't a cake walk. With full assists, the game will brake for you so you can keep the throttle held down the entire time. But that doesn't mean it is easy to win. You really have to take a perfect line - yes, even on the easiest difficulty - if you want to have a shot at winning the race. You have to know how and when to pass. How to slipstream without overheating your car. And a dozen other things if you want to be successful, even on easy. If you take a bad line and try to accelerate too soon, you will spin out even with all of the assists. Also, the A.I. isn't ever really dumbed down based on difficulty. They always take good lines, are aggressive on overtaking, and will blow you away if you don't drive well. It is pretty amazing, really.
Turn off the assists, and the game takes a completely different feel. Now you actually have to manage your braking and acceleration along with taking the right lines through corners. Add on top of all this the ability to tune each setting on your car, and you have a remarkably deep and accurate racing simulation.
The best thing about F1 2010, though, is that you can have it either way. An easier (but still remarkably challenging) light sim, or a super hardcore sim. Both are equally fun in their own ways.