F1 2010 - game review

Author: eJay
Date: 2010-09-30 12:36:00
The review was based on the PC version.

PC owners have been waiting forever for the next Formula 1 game. Seven years ago, EA Sports decided to publish a compendium called F1 99-02 , which contained a database of drivers and teams from the entire 3 seasons. Then there was a silence, and Sony took over the rights to the queen of motorsports license, which made it clear that it prefers to supply owners of Playstation 2 and 3. In this way we got the fairly warmly received Formula One Championship Edition , which was the first to show the power of the next generation of consoles. In 2008, the brand was bought by Codemasters - so far the rally car specialists from the Colin McRae Rally series. Has more than two years of Code Masters' effort paid off and we got a product that is worth the money?

Long before the premiere, there were discussions on the forums as to whether the British studio is trying to reach Sunday players or is it going to provide entertainment to more demanding customers? Cooperation with former British American Racing team driver and Super Aguri - Anthony Davidson - suggested the latter solution. Anyway, numerous promotional materials emphasized that the experienced team focuses on the exact reproduction of the racing realities, so one should expect something more ambitious than the hackneyed "arcade" in snobbish climates. The final result, however, is far from what hardcore sim lovers expect. F1 2010 is an arcade racing game and if we do not want to be disappointed, it should be treated as a derivative of the studio's previous achievements.

The driving model is, of course, to blame for this, and it looks at least strange. F1 2010 is a title that is not worth playing if you only have a keyboard. Controlling the car, speeding at high speed, requires some precision (especially on street tracks), and the combination of the directional keys makes our driving look not much better than the first foray into the city of a rookie in the test car. Therefore, potential customers should acquire at least a pad first. Everyone knows that the best experience is provided by a solid steering wheel.

The biggest disadvantage of driving the car in F1 2010 is the lack of any feeling that we are actually driving something with over 750hp and unimaginable power at high revs. In this respect, the physics of the game looks at the level of the well-deserved Need for Speed: Underground. Speed? Is. Dynamics? Is. But these are the only advantages of steering a racing rocket. There is noticeable - unfortunately - a negligible influence of the settings on the behavior of the vehicle. You can only see the difference between the most extreme solutions in setups in straight line speeds. Whether we choose an understeer or an oversteer setup ... it doesn't matter in the slightest. We want to get out of the bend fast? Go ahead and push the gas pedal to the floor.

As a result, driving with a steering wheel is rather banal. F1 2010 is not a game in which we "fight" with a car. It's a bit sad that even turning the traction control off doesn't increase the difficulty level. It seems as if this help was added a bit by force. However, these are not the last doubts I have about the physical model. I adopted the arcade character after a dozen or so laps, but I can't understand why Codemasters decided to introduce a delicate realism here and there, unfortunately, a bit of a shaky quality. The car that I was controlling liked to play a trick on me from time to time and get into a 360-degree skid. It is so bizarre that such miracles happened even when I was driving slowly or at ease.

This begs the classic question - what's wrong with the game being a bit more unpredictable? Well, in F1 2010 , slipping means losing a few or even a dozen or so positions. Any counter-steering has a rather meager effect, precisely because of the limited 'feel' aspect of the car. The settings are of little use, as if the vehicle should be predictable in driving (that's why individual configurations are created), and it is a bit artificial and harder. The Code Masters have acted inconsistently in my opinion. On the one hand, the game is terribly easy to use and digest, on the other hand it is often irritating, because we do not know what mistakes the player causes a bad result. However, without any additional facilities, the ride is stress-free anyway - until a random spinning top, of course. I really regret that the people of DiRT 2 and Grida did not prepare something extra on the highest difficulty level. This could really be a unique asset.

In minus, I was also surprised by the elementary shortcomings in the racing sphere, specifically at the stage of stops in the pitches. The driver's nose monitor has only basic information, such as weather forecast, car settings or installed improvements. And it gets really uninteresting when we look at the scoreboard, the usefulness of which is virtually none. For example, we can't check the times of the previous laps, both ours and our rivals. Supposedly, a racing engineer says in which sectors we lose the most, but dry texts are not able to replace specific numbers. And we have no access to the latter. Instead of rich statistics, comparisons or analyzes, we only see a fragment of the information from the last circle. If you would like to test your racing pace on a selected tire mix, you have to get by with your taste. There is also no option to watch rivals on the track, as the replays menu is outrageously limited. This is a nod to realism, but you know - over-combining looks comical and works against gameplay.

Codemasters apparently ran out of time to polish a few elements, so you should take into account a number of shortcomings at the first contact with the title. A bug with the pit-stop has already become famous, where the mechanics do not let the player go into battle until the rivals pass him in the pit lane. All in all, it's quite a fun and emotional problem, because we can lead the pack, and after changing tires, leave the tail and continue fighting. Of course, I `m joking. Nothing upsets the driver more than a failed pit stop. More or less every second descent to the mechanics looks like waiting for the sentence. If you manage to lose just a few seconds, you can consider it a success.

I can also write not much good about artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, Codemasters definitely scorned the matter in this regard, implementing ideas that differ not only from the simulation canon, but above all, are simply unfair. It turned out that the AI ride does not translate into the times it sets - these are generated according to a certain template. An opponent riding just behind our rear wing, achieving 2-3 seconds better results, is actually normal. I will just mention the unpleasant fact, namely the zero penalty for bots. The computer does not get penalties, but they always hit the player, even if he receives a typical back or side shot.

Do you think the fight on the track is better? As long as the AI is ahead or behind us, everything looks reasonably tolerable. However, our side-to-side attack ends with the player being pushed to the side of the road. The AI is simply programmed to follow the best line, and woe to you if you use it during the overtaking maneuver. You have to perfidiously push into where the computer simply cannot cope (each track has such places), but I was rather hoping for an emotional battle for the last centimeters. Bots react similarly to flags, especially to the blue one, which forces the faster driver to give way. More than once in qualifying I had to contend with some laggard who left my box right under the front wing and blocked me for 3-4 turns. There can be no question of competitiveness then.

However, I would be lying to say that F1 2010 is a bad game. True, it has many shortcomings and shortcomings, but that does not mean that you can't have fun with it at times. It is certainly a decent racing proposition for a Sunday afternoon, and above all, perfect fun for geeks who are closely watching Kubica and his results. Codemasters managed to transfer the atmosphere of the competition and perfectly reproduce the role of the driver in the whole undertaking. In the booths, we feel almost at home (it is worth adding that the main menu is the back office of the team, i.e. the paddock), and there are mechanics next to us. They rummage around the car, tighten the screws, check the monitors. When we want to go to the track, they leave the car from the jack, take the information monitor, put on the tires. Character animation is really appreciated. These are just frills (the game could do without them), but how effective!

The authors also managed to build a player's career. Depending on the length of the game (from 3 to 7 seasons), we select the weakest or average teams in the rate. The cars differ in performance, which means that with the Lotus car we will not get the same times as the Ferrari or Red Bull Racing carts. You have to fight for a racing chair on the track. We start as a co-driver and if we achieve better results than our partner, the engineers transfer almost all responsibility for the team form to us. At this time, we get various improvements - stronger brakes, improved downforce, etc. So it's just nice, you can feel the competition in the air. After a successful weekend, we give interviews (in the Polish version one of the journalists speaks with the voice of Włodzimierz Zientarski), but their impact on the satisfaction of the management is negligible. Open criticism does not lower morale, and collecting points systematically increases it.

Visually, F1 2010 is pampered down to the last pixel. The mentioned Grid and DiRT 2 showed the advantages of the EGO engine, but it is the latest work of Codemasters that takes the possibilities of this technology to a higher level. I can not fault anything, you just have to admire a piece of well-done work. The tracks with the stands are perfectly reproduced. The road surface in some places arouses slightly mixed feelings (e.g. Monte Carlo streets are actually a bit more leaky), but the loose, dexterity nature of driving does not favor paying attention to such details. Atmospheric effects, on the other hand, are top class. The falling rain, wet asphalt and water drops on the camera look phenomenal. The binding touches on photorealism in places. In this category, F1 2010 is certainly the top class.

The long-awaited Formula 1 license game did not knock me down and even disappointed my expectations. Full of bugs, more arcade than simulation, and in addition with strange difficulties - it could be much better. And yet the volume and richness of cars and routes is far behind, for example, DiRT 2, which made a much more positive impression on me. However, the essence of F1 2010 , which is racing around nice tracks in career mode and in multiplayer, is fun, and this is the most important thing. It is certainly not a breakthrough and a title that we will remember for years, but with the season ending, it is undoubtedly a treat for the fans. Don't you feel up to the challenge of rFactor ? People from Codemasters fulfilled your wishes. It is a pity that they did not try to get a slightly higher level of difficulty. Well, this is the manufacturer's choice and his policy. May it be better next year.

Adam "eJay" Kaczmarek

PROS:

MINUSES:

Codemasters has not been a provider of very realistic racing games so far, but the latest productions of the British are worth recognition. This is mainly due to the excellent EGO engine, the next incarnations of which we had the opportunity to admire with the premieres of Race Driver: Grid , DiRT 2 and just F1 2010 . For the last few years, PC players had to be content with either a nearly ten-year-old game or rFactor mods, and now… that's not going to change.

F1 2010 tries very hard to make us feel like real car drivers. Beautiful, accurately reproduced car models, beautiful tracks, which we immediately remember thanks to many characteristic elements and the accompanying envelope perfectly cover the most important element of the racing game, i.e. the driving model. I would not mean to say that he is weak, what is not. It's just too easy to play Formula 1, even with all boosters turned off. What's worse, the game features a lot of smaller and bigger flaws - from mechanics replacing the wheels mercilessly to a rather random collision system.

The car is very durable and even if hit many times from the rear, it is not damaged in any way. The only thing that can break in it is the front wing, you can also get a flat tire, and the tires deteriorate. No access to any sensible telemetry, which is imitated by a picture showing an overheating engine, tires or brakes in colors.

However, a long career is excellent, with numerous challenges and expectations of the team. On the other hand, fanciful interviews and conferences, the absence of which no one would even notice, do not work at all.

F1 2010 is a game with very nice graphics, variable atmospheric effects and as such is worth recommending. It has moderate hardware requirements, and the EGO engine runs very smoothly even on an average computer.

Przemek "g40st" Zamęcki