Published on August 31st, 2012 | by Alisdair3
F1 2012 – A First Look & Hands-on Thoughts
Over the past few years Codemasters development team have been working on the F1 series, each year bringing new features and improvements to the title whether it is the new game-modes for the average sim racer or bringing the physics up to the standards of the hardcore sim racers in the community – Codemasters certainly hasn’t let down with the changes in previous years…
This year is no different as we were first greeted with the news that Codemasters have obtained the licensing rights to produce the F1 series of games for a number of years to come. Great news considering how much the game has come along over the past few year and now with many years left on the licensing is this a chance for Codemasters to take that extra step with the next version of the game and provide a game suited to everyone.
This year on the 21st September will mark the release of the latest F1 title to be developed by Codemasters, F1 2012 which is defiantly setting the bar high for the future F1 titles as it features updates physics, graphics, game-modes and features. As with any game the first thing you are greeted by is the menu system. Taking a new route this year Codemasters have produced a really simply but stylish and modern user interface which makes navigating the various game-modes and settings easy and hassle free.
As expected the graphics of F1 2012 have again improved greatly over F1 2011 with some of the noticeable changes being the circuit lighting which appears more realistic dependent on the current weather conditions. The smaller attention to detail is what real struck me such as the immense detail put into the tires not only on track but when you run wide and pick up dirt and grass you can clearly see it being picked up by the tires. Some other smaller graphical and damage effects which really appealed to me are the front wing flex which can be clearly seen just like in real life when running over the rumble strips or high apex.
The damage models of the cars also appear to be upgraded as those times when you simply spin-off the track and take out the barrier you can witness the front wing simply disintegrate into small pieces. All of these small details are just some of the things that set 2012’s graphics apart from the previous titles
Now Codemasters also decided to take the game one step further in development this year by adding a new feature, the Young Drivers Test mode which you take part first before then advancing through to the main career mode . Without the Young Drivers Test mode new players in previous years have felt almost intimidated by the game as the words Kers and DRS for example are mentioned without them knowing anything about it.
However with Codemasters decision to adopt the Young Drivers Test game-mode into the title this year it allows you to get a feel of the terminology if you are new to the F1 series and also a feel for the car and how it compares to the previous games before heading into the main career mode.
The Young Drivers Test is a great new feature for everyone even myself even as a follower of the F1 series knowing the specific terminology detailed in this game-mode, the Young Drivers Test provides an area for the new players to learn the ropes of driving a Formula one car and also for the more skilled and knowledgeable player to home in on essential driving skills from the correct braking distance, straight line tests and hitting the apex just right to just trying out and getting a feel for the cars in both wet and dry conditions.
The physics feel much improved in F1 2012, just as stated in the new developer diary 3 the suspension and overall physics model has received an update which involves the user more in the car as you can have a more precise feeling of what the car is doing from the weight transfer into corners to locking up the brakes and even blowing a tire which i must say was an extremely weird moment when it first happened.
With all these changes and improvements to the title one thing that i noticed is that F1 2012 involves the driver more than any of the previous titles such as the garage cut scenes at the start of the Young Drivers test which take you through a similar scenario to what a real driver undergoing the test would experience as you are guided by your race engineer through what you can expect to happen on the day. You will also feel more involved in the title this year with the new localized weather system as it will affect your pit stop strategy, you as the driver will have to make a quick possibly race or even championship changing decision on what set of tires is the right choice.
When running wide off track on F1 2012 the engine power appears to be cut considerably until you are back on track, this seems to be Codemasters was of stopping cheats and exploits from cutting the track to gain higher leaderboard & lap times. However since the multiplayer function is not yet available in the test version we aquired its unsure if this penalty system will be the same for online or if it will be disabled with a new online anti cut system in place.
Codemasters new F1 2012 will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC on the 21st September 2012 with a demo for the title due out on September 14th. Also i can confirm that one small change i noticed is that Codemasters has removed the Games For Windows Live association on PC and is now sticking to the Steam platform for achievements etc.