Fast track to fun

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Tech - MIKE WIL­COX

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.

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