First things first, and it's a minor gripe that has always nagged me somewhat and that is from the moment you first put this disc into the console, you don't get the official opening theme or montage by the BBC formula 1 team which I feel is a great shame. None of the series has done this so maybe for 2012's please? It would I feel give it that little bit more of a sense of authenticity.
OK now I've got that off my chest, it's onwards and upwards with the review.Plot:
Are you really expecting one? It's as simple as simple can be. You start the game asking what they call golden questions, such as your name and nationality etc, etc. From these questions, you are then asked to choose one of three teams. For me, being patriotic and all that, I got offered the choice between Team Sauber, Force India and Lotus. I decide to choose Force India and so became the number two driver to Adrian Sutil.
So from here on in, it became my task, over the next 5 seasons to become the number one driver and perhaps move onto a bigger and better team, say Red Bull. Now here comes the slant on the game that may surprise some, and hopefully this isn't jumping ahead, but for once you can have a two player on line co-operative mode with you both competing to become the number one driver and gain the technical upgrades before your team mate.
This is a feature that has not been done before and is a welcome change and one I hope they keep for the 2012 incarnation. Anyway back to single player mode for now.
OK, you have selected your team and it's not long before you are thrust right into the thick of it. Gone from previous titles in the series are the fuel and tyre tests, etc, you are given an objective to compete both in qualifying and the race itself. My first was to qualify in 16th place or higher, and finish 14th or higher in the race which is not beyond the realms of possibility on the easiest mode. Of course it gets trickier on the higher skill levels but the feeling of accomplishment when you nail a target is most satisfying.
You have a handful of options available to you as well to add to the overall experience, such as only racing 10% or 20% of a full race, or of course going the full distance (You can go half distance as well). Also you can go through the whole race weekend which would include the practice and the three rounds of qualifying, or a shortened version of the three day event. The choice is yours, nothing is foisted on you here. And like Formula 1 itself has evolved, so too has the game itself.
With the technical revelations of KER's and the RBS system in the sport making life interesting, they have now made it into the game for the first time. Not everything is covered though, the limitations on tyres and engines, etc are not covered. That may irk some people perhaps, making them bemoan the lack of detail but I feel that it would have made the games difficulty level way too high. Maybe it will be included somehow in the 2012 incarnation? Perhaps that could be covered in a team management mode, we shall see what innovations will come for the next game.
As it is, you can tinker with the options all you like, which will affect the difficulty of the game. For instance you can have the driver aids such as brake assistance (and until you get used to it if you are a novice, then I'd recommend using it), a Forza style line showing the race line and braking zone if you have the brake assistance off, from cosmetic damage only to full impact damage (and you know how fragile these things are, so switch that off if you want a REAL challenge). Penalties cannot be altered in single player mode though, so watch your racing p's and q's as it were, though for online play if hosting, you can switch that off but that will be covered later. There are times though that the penalties seem a little harsh and I will cover that in the pro's and cons section. There's also an XP point/reputation score system in effect, that aids you in becoming the number one driver and of course, gain access too the technical upgrades for your car that you can select and add as you see fit in the garage before you go onto the circuit before the race. OK time to roll up the sleeves and take a closer peek under the bonnet of the game shall we?Graphics:
Well though not as breathtaking as forza 3 or indeed forza 4's demo, never the less they are extremely pleasing to the eye indeed. Cars are reflected in the tarmac on wet tracks, dust clouds are generated if a car takes a slight detour on bends, and the gravel flies. It's also possible (that is if you can spare time to look!) to see the marbles appear on the track as the race goes on.
There is no pop up or fade out and the frame rate runs as smooth as can be. All in all a great job has been done by my fellow Brummies at the Codemaster's studios. They can hold their heads up high with pride. Nice one guys!