Fast track to fun
AS F1 fans take a breather from the international race calendar, it’s the perfect time to rack up some laps in the latest official video game.
Featuring all the teams, drivers and circuits from the current F1 Grand Prix season, F1 2011 picks up where UK developer Codemaster’s awardwinning F1 game left off last year.
The first noticeable improvement is in the realistic vehicle handling.
Simulation- style racers like this are highly responsive to variations in the track surfaces and weather conditions and F1 2011 feels unforgivingly spoton in this regard. Tyres offer less traction on gravel, grass and also in the wet.
Drivers will also need to balance high- speed racing with pit stops to refuel and change tyres.
In career mode drivers start from the back of the grid in a low- ranking team and must consistently place well to upgrade their ride and reputation.
This is typically the area that separates casual gamers from the serious ones as changes to tyres, engines, gearboxes and suspension all affect overall performance.
KERS ( Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and DRS ( Drag Reduction System) are also welcome additions as they reflect changes to the rules in the real sport.
Multiplayer is where most of the changes have taken place. In addition to 16 player online races, which are also now available in a split- screen for two players, there is a new cooperative mode, where two players form part of the same race team, while also competing for the drivers’ championship. Another potential racing outcome changer is the introduction of the safety car which wasn’t in last year’s game.
Unlike arcade racers, the driving in F1 2011 is unforgiving at best and, even with the auto assist features enabled, it requires more patience to master than most racing games.