F1-2012.jpg Copyright: Codemasters Racing

In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris finally gets to grips with the much-anticipated F1 2012

F1 2012 - Review

Just like the real thing, Codemasters’ F1 game series has been augmented and refined with each new season in an attempt to outperform what has gone before it. F1 2011 was the best of the lot so far; a brilliantly realistic sim that really brought the super-rich sport to the masses.

Topping it in 2012 was always going to be a tough ask, but the developers have clearly taken an objective look at the few shortfalls of last year's game and concentrated on making it the most approachable entry yet.

This year’s release is all for welcoming a new audience with the introduction of the Young Driver Test, a detailed tutorial for the novice gamer who doesn’t yet know their KERS from their elbow.

But that’s not to say the main game makes too many allowances for noobs. In fact, the Formula One sim has become more realistic than ever with hyper-sensitive controls, authentic weather systems and inch-accurate circuit recreations all adding to the tricksy true-to-life gameplay.

The skittish controls and lack of computer-aided traction ramp up the excitement levels as every delicate move you make – either on a joypad or a racing wheel – makes the difference between crossing the line first or crashing out early.

Visually, F1 2012 outdoes its forebears thanks to some great use of lighting, while the track presentation (this year including the all-new Circuit Of The Americas) is absolutely stunning. The weather system also looks great as sudden downpours and the like totally change the look and feel of a race.

With all this attention to detail, it's unsurprising that the game rewards tactical racing over bombast. From in-race strategy to pre-GP practice and parts testing, it’s all about making sure your machine is at its best and you the driver are primed and prepared for the challenge ahead.

The strategic elements most notably come into play in the career mode, as your nobody racer works their way up through hours and hours of game time to world championship level.

If dedication of this level isn't your bag, perhaps more instantly rewarding is the new Career Challenge mode which lets you speed through an entire season in just 10 short races. Also enjoyable is the Champions mode which lets you take on Vettel, Räikkönen, Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Schumacher in head-to-head races. Both are great fun to get your teeth into, making up for the lack of noticeable change in the multiplayer modes.

These amendments and improvements, small as they are, add a great deal to the overall look and feel of the game and, what’s more, they totally justify the purchase.

Not only is this the best game in the series, but it’s the greatest F1 racer we’ve ever played. We can’t wait to see Codemasters try to top this in 2013.

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