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Cian Hassett
09 Oct, 2010

F1 2010 Review

PS3 Review | Welcome home old friend.
Gamers generally associate racing games with the big budget releases like Forza, Gran Turismo and maybe even Need For Speed. Behind all of this, a clever bunch of developers working for Codemasters continue to release top quality products. Codemasters has been in existence since 1985 and has been at the helm of some terrific titles. The lads over in England certainly know how to keep themselves busy, the past few years have seen Colin McRae's legacy continue with the DiRT series, not forgetting GRID (previously known as TOCA Race Driver). The list goes on and proves that this relatively small studio has all the credentials needed to produce a slightly more challenging racing game. F1 2010 marks the first proper return of Formula One racing to our main powerhouse platforms, and you'll be glad to hear it was worth the wait.

We're told to never judge a book by its cover, because presentation can often be a deceitful tool used to hide larger flaws. In the case of F1 2010, first impressions give an accurate representation of what the rest of the game has to offer. Codemasters has a natural ability to excel and crush the opposition in one small, but significant part of video games - the menu system. Polish doesn't even begin to describe how well F1 2010 is presented. Every aspect of the racing, from the moment you create your profile, has been streamlined into a beautifully minimalistic display. It takes a lot from DiRT 2, so your main base of operations is the safety of a trailer. No matter where you look in F1 2010, you'll find that every conceivable option has a place around this little haven which puts almost every other competitor to shame. Menus mightn't be the most obvious element to receive critical acclaim, but if it's not done properly, it can be a game breaker. F1 2010 manages to make high profile releases appear obsolete in comparison, and that's definitely something to be proud of.

Obey the clearway!

Obey the clearway!
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Drivers will start off by selecting a contract from one of the lower ranking teams, so don't expect to be screeching around chicanes in a Ferrari until you make an impression. Your team will outline some objectives, particularly in relation to qualification times and final race positions. It's not impossible, but it's very difficult to compete with more experienced drivers like Jenson Button. F1 2010 wants you to gradually adjust to this unique style of racing, but as time goes on, you'll eventually grow confident and pose a greater challenge. Your career stretches across every race in every location, and they have been meticulously constructed with plenty of care. If you live near Albert Park in Melbourne, then you might even be able to see your bedroom window. Attention to detail is an understatement. There is no substitute, this is the most detailed and comprehensive Formula One game ever made. Even seemingly insignificant moments like an interview with a journalist can have an adverse effect on how rival drivers behave, leading to some entertaining battles on the track. For a game that focuses purely on a very particular form of racing, it offers a level of depth that few other developers can achieve. Subtle touches like this, along with the consequences of not treating your car with care, make F1 2010 one of the most realistic racers around.

Controls rarely deviate from the norm, so the triggers demand your attention. Accelerating and reversing, we've all done it before. The great thing about F1 2010 is that everyone, including the Forza junkies, needs to learn the ropes. Unlike other lightning quick racers, driving a Formula One car feels completely different. The first thing you'll notice is that these beasts won't drift, quite the opposite in fact, your wheels are glued to the asphalt. You won't need to burn rubber when driving around a hairpin turn, instead you'll be rewarded (or punished) for aggression. F1 2010 requires patience and timing, so you need to be confident when overtaking. Moving from the bottom half of the grid up into a podium position will be a tricky task, one that can't be completed without brave and ambitious driving. At breakneck speeds, one mistake can end a race. The rewind feature is an obvious inclusion but you'll only be given three chances for an entire race, so they need to be used sparingly. Cut a corner - penalty, cause an impact - penalty, failing to obey rules and regulations - disqualified. It's harsh, but that's the life of a superstar driver.

This is where it gets serious.

This is where it gets serious.
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Each Grand Prix is divided into practice and qualification sessions before the big race commences. During this time you can decide what tyres to use, determine a race strategy and customise any assists that you may want. Just don't mention assists to any hardcore fans online, it will not end in your favour. Formula One races are usually lengthy affairs, but you can trim the race down in percentages. Normally, you'll only have to race between ten and twelve laps. The option to partake in a full Formula One weekend is there, if that takes your fancy. As you progress through your career, and eventually learn when and how to effectively overtake, F1 2010 will lure you into a false sense of security. The most challenging and jaw dropping part of the game comes from its dynamic weather system. Rain changes everything. Adoring a fine spring day from pole position can go drastically wrong as the track begins to dampen, meaning that every car will be frantically trying to alter their setup. Frankly, it's a terrifying experience. Visibility becomes limited as your helmet is drenched with rain drops, opposing cars spray surface water at you, and in the end - you'll be fearing for your life. Not literally, but F1 2010 is probably the scariest simulation racer that we've seen. Your crew in the garage will give you warnings and words of advice (a voice which replaces that of a commentator), but it's done so well that it will never impede on the intensity of the situation at hand. This is about pushing your car to the limit, and doing everything possible to cope with a constantly fluctuating set of scenarios.

The weather effects are undeniably the highlight of F1 2010's visual treats, and it's likely that unpredictable bursts of torrential rain will become standardised for racing games (much like the rewind option). However, F1 2010 doesn't really match the quality of Forza 3. Most of the locations and vehicles are stunning and fly past without any drop in framerate, but there are a few very minor problem areas. Human characters look very unnatural, especially when they're talking. Another issue can be found when using the first person camera angle, the reflections in your rear-view mirror are lacking in detail and are often comparable to last generation titles. If you prefer the third person perspective, then it won't affect you at all, but purists may be slightly disappointed. It's hardly a major fault, and the rest of F1 2010 does more than enough to compensate. Engines roar, crowds scream, tears of joy and sadness are shed in equal bursts - this is what real racing is all about. F1 2010 doesn't pretend to be anything other than a pure racing game, and that's a testament to a caring team behind the scenes.

See that Ferrari? And that Mercedes? Yeah, you're not driving one.

See that Ferrari? And that Mercedes? Yeah, you're not driving one.
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The only other minor nuisance comes back to the previously mentioned interviews. While the concept does work, journalists in F1 2010 really love to repeat themselves. The conclusion of each race usually means answering a question or three, and it can get a little tedious - just like real life. Thankfully nothing detracts from the overall quality of F1 2010, because it is a truly brilliant racing game. Starting off as a new driver and slowly becoming the world's greatest will take time, but each and every step is filled with the spectacular atmosphere that only Formula One can provide. F1 2010 gives you the chance to create a custom Grand Prix and also drive online in an environment free of lag. It mightn't include the editing capacity of Forza 3, or the variety of Gran Turismo 5, but there's still plenty of depth and a lot of content to get through. Whether you're the hardest of the hardcore, or a leaner driver, F1 2010 is an accessible and rewarding journey for everyone.

Codemasters deserve all the credit and praise thrown at them. This is another fine example of how to make a proper racing game, free of gimmicks and full of terrific gameplay. Even if you're not an avid Formula One supporter, it's difficult not to appreciate the effort and craft on display here. F1 2010 is one of the most challenging, entertaining, infuriating, engaging, frightening and breathtaking racing games available. This sort of experience isn't available anywhere else, and for the first time in far too long, we can welcome home a dearly missed franchise. Let's just hope it sticks around for a bit longer.
The Score
Another gem from Codemasters. F1 2010 is everything that a racing game needs to be, and so much more.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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22 Comments
3 years ago
I bought the game, even after hearing about the massive 'fake AI' flaw... I still like it, very much. But I would have to let people know about it as a reviewer and probably even mark it down quite a lot because of it.
3 years ago
Phreakuency wrote
I bought the game, even after hearing about the massive 'fake AI' flaw... I still like it, very much. But I would have to let people know about it as a reviewer and probably even mark it down quite a lot because of it.
I purposely kept away from the forums when I was writing it. I only found out about the 'flaw' after the review was ready to go. I honestly didn't notice it, and it's completely irrelevant online.
3 years ago
Phreakuency wrote
I bought the game, even after hearing about the massive 'fake AI' flaw... I still like it, very much. But I would have to let people know about it as a reviewer and probably even mark it down quite a lot because of it.
Codemasters denied that there is any fake AI in races.

They said they fake it a little bit in the Practice / Qualifying but this is due to being able to "teleport" directly onto the track from the garage and also the ability to speed up time when you are in the garage. They say racing is 100% real.
3 years ago
Oh god, you made me visit the forums, and all the pc players got me depressed. They be hatin' something chronic. One guy who said he's played F1 games since forever was surprised he won races.
3 years ago
The incorrect timing is somewhat off-putting though. Even if the AI is real, the times most certainly aren't. I am sick of finishing lap 1 of a race in 1st place, then being told by my engineer that Alonso in 4th has posted the fastest lap of the race so far. icon_neutral.gif
3 years ago
Fastest lap doesn't mean first place icon_razz.gif Unless you start in last place.
3 years ago
But... wait... if you're in pole and you finish lap 1 in first place, how can 2nd start finish the same lap in second place with a faster time? I'm very much willing to concede I've a fundamental misunderstanding here, I'm not even remotely competent in matters of maths or time or whatnot, but I'd like to know why haha.
3 years ago
The lap starts as you drive beneath the lights, so the leaders will always have a head start. You might have a faster lap, but you need to compensate for the difference in grid position.

Or I could be completely wrong.
3 years ago
Gtpod wrote
But... wait... if you're in pole and you finish lap 1 in first place, how can 2nd start finish the same lap in second place with a faster time? I'm very much willing to concede I've a fundamental misunderstanding here, I'm not even remotely competent in matters of maths or time or whatnot, but I'd like to know why haha.
Was he second? If he was fifth he could have passed three people and you could still run first, for example.
3 years ago
Webber clocked the first lap 1.5 seconds faster than me the other day, even though i finished the lap about 5 car lengths ahead of him, started 1st and 2nd on the grid.
3 years ago
^He's not on top of the championship ladder for nothing man.
3 years ago
He owns a tardis
3 years ago
Had to google that. Thought it was a retarded Yaris or something.
3 years ago
Fetidchimp wrote
Webber clocked the first lap 1.5 seconds faster than me the other day, even though i finished the lap about 5 car lengths ahead of him, started 1st and 2nd on the grid.
Yeah that's the kinda thing I mean. This time talk's messing with my brain.
3 years ago
i have seen that in a lot of formula one games unfortunately.....still better than jumping on a racing game and saying "i am going to get a good time today" only to discover that you will have to go faster than 0.00 on the leaderboards.....ffs
3 years ago
I know I'm probably going to get flamed for this, since the rating is not really a true representation of the review, but I'll go and say it anyway. You have spoken so highly of the game in your written review, highlighting only a few small nuisances and yet you've only rated it at 8.5. In a print magazine context, I wouldn't have the opportunity to ask why..

So why...? icon_smile.gif Can you highlight your thinking behind the 1.5 points you took off. Are the interviews and lack of detail in the rear view mirror plus the character models the reasoning? Or are there other things that you couldn't fit into your article, that also affected your view of the game to bring the score down?

Yes, the score is just an arbitrary number but there must be a reason behind why it is 8.5 as compared to 7.5 or 9.5..
3 years ago
I think those reasons are fair enough to make it 8.5.
The interview thing in particular for me is tacked on for no real purpose, they could have had a story going on like race driver and have race outcomes and the interviews affect the cut scenes....i mean it will say to you....so the other driver in the team must be feeling the heat from your driving...and if you say, yeah well he better watch out i am better than him...then they should have had like the other driver confront you and stuff like that.....but so far, i havent seen one interview answer do anything at all....maybe it does later.
3 years ago
^^Probably because he felt that it fit into the description as provided here:

http://palgn.com.au/10471/palgns-new-and-improved-scoring-system-explained/

The PALGN scoring scale isn't one where we explicity deduct points for this or that flaw, or add points for doing something much better. A PALGN review is primarily based around providing the reader a comprehensive critique of what is available in the game, while the score is the one that best fits the description based on the guidelines provided above.
3 years ago
I/We consider nine and above to be groundbreaking or the best on offer in the genre. F1 2010 is excellent but it's not revolutionary and it's not the best racer out there (probably the best racer of the year though).
3 years ago
Best racer of the year? You say that with GT5 less than a month away? icon_smile.gif Pretty bold icon_smile.gif

Hehehe.. just teasing.. but thanks for the responses.. I just often wonder what justifies an 8.5 comapred to 7.5 and 9.5 etc icon_smile.gif
3 years ago
GT5 is years too late...but that debate is for another time icon_wink.gif
3 years ago
light487 wrote
You say that with GT5 less than a month away? icon_smile.gif Pretty bold icon_smile.gif
Did you miss the memo?

http://blog.us.playstation.com/2010/10/13/gran-turismo-5-release-update/
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  23/9/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Atari
Genre:
  Racing
Year Made:
  2009

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