Formula 1 is the latest sport to jump on to the yearly update
bandwagon, much the same as the Madden American
football game and the FIFA football game. But is F1
2012 enough of an upgrade to warrant a purchase?
For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Four and a half stars (out of five)
Formula 1 has rejuvenated itself in the last few years, with
rules to encourage passing and more exciting races, and it's
been wildly successful. The success has also translated to
the latest series of F1 games, with development
shifted from Sony's internal studios to racing game
aficionados Codemasters, and its popularity has increased
directly as a result.
F1 2012 has all the modes you'd expect. A fully
fleshed out career mode where you start with the minnow teams
and work your way slowly up to lofty heights of Ferrari and
McLaren, a quick race mode, as well as up to 16 player
On top of this, the co-op season feature introduced in F1
2011 carries over, so you and a friend can take on the
However, the majority of time spent playing the game will be
in career mode.
Starting with a driver test is a clever way to teach players
the basics of the sport while not alienating the hardcore
But the real question is - how well does the game replicate
Graphically, it looks outstanding: almost as real as we'll
get in this generation of consoles. The handling of the cars
has been tweaked, too, and is very good.
While it's no hardcore simulation like Forza or Gran Turismo,
it's still an accurate representation of how F1 cars handle.
Add in the KERS (speed boost button) and DRS (rear wing), and
you have an experience almost identical to the real thing. A
new difficulty level adds a real challenge for simulator
fans, too; all of a sudden passing cars and winning races
becomes a real challenge. This adds to the re-playability and
enjoyment, especially compared with the easier and more
Just finishing in the points is now a real achievement when
in the minnow teams, as opposed to a missed opportunity.
However, there is one significant barrier F1 2012
faces when compared with Madden or FIFA.
Madden and FIFA launch roughly a fortnight
before their respective seasons start. F1 2012
launches 75% through the season. This makes it somewhat dated
on release as, after a couple of weeks, the 2012 season is
That may stop some people from buying it, as the hype that
builds prior to a season is almost non-existent by that
point. Ideally, the game will tide you over until next season
starts, but by then the cars and drivers may already be out
Games that have yearly releases are not always must-buys.
They tend to feature refinements rather than adding
revolutionary new features, and people are loath to
effectively buy the same game twice.
In terms of F1 2012, people who have bought the
previous two seasons may think twice about this game, but
those who haven't given F1 games a try since the Sony
days, will be very pleasantly surprised.
- Simon Bishop