Codemasters’ F1 2013 roars into action on multi-formats as the premier F1 game with little competition. With lots of excitement on the track, how well does the video game recreate the drama. Take a look at our F1 2013 video review.
F1 2013 review text version:
Today we’re taking a look at Codemasters fully licensed F1 2013 video game which is available now on consoles and PC. To begin, players are presented with a variety of options and game modes, enough to drown in perhaps, making the choice quite varied. There’s a simple Grand Prix quick race option which is handy, but the real meat comes from the assortment of career and challenge modes on offer. The career takes players through the highs and lows of the pro circuit, whereas the others are more segmented with things like specific scenarios to race, or time trials and such like – there’s even a section to help gain your F1 wings. The wealth of modes simply means, there’s enough single player content to work through and this is not factoring in the many options to tailor the difficulty to suit your play style.
Jumping into a race, and depending on how the race has been set up in the options – players can go for a full race weekend which includes practice and qualifying runs before the actual main event, or the choices can be stripped down to just the actual race for those who are confident in racing from behind. The number of race laps can be tailored to suit as well, ranging from short 3 lap sprints, to full race lengths – although in the career mode these are fixed. The entire 2013 19 track circuit is included here alongside some classic extras such as Brands Hatch, and so there’s plenty of circuits to choose from under a number of conditions such as dry, light and heavy rain, to dynamic.
Once the pleasantries are out of the way, players jump into the driving seat and are given another set of options to either ignore, or go deep into. For die hard racers they can look at all sorts of data and tailor their race strategy to suit, whereas, the less informed can just dive in and take the advice from the pit on the fly.
Racing is very much as you would expect with 22 cars on the grid, making race starts very much a strategic foundation for the rest of the race. Whilst it is quite possible to make ground on the other cars once the race settles, the simulation aspect of the game means it’s more difficult to make sizeable gains from behind. As with any racing game, but perhaps more important here is learning each corner and straight, and how to apply the throttle and brakes effectively to get the most speed. It seems any mistake is severely punished with the AI opponents even on the easiest settings making for challenging rivals – perhaps too hard in some instances for newer players. Luckily there is a rewind option available which seems to be a standard in a number of racing games, but here doesn’t seem to rewind far back enough to fully rectify any mistakes and sometimes creating new errors in the process. For longer racers there is a handy option to save the game mid race which is especially handy when locked into the longer events and need a time out. What is neat is being able to chop and change the mode of play and then resume where you left off at any time.
Slick presentation of the menus aside – which come complete with a voice over description, the game looks very polished and features some well rendered vehicles and tracks. The PC version obviously maintains the highest visual fidelity, but the console versions are pretty high standard as well including the all important performance. What is probably the greatest achievement for the game in terms of its looks aside from the neat first person moments when entering the car, is the dynamic weather effects which really cloud the vision when using the cockpit viewpoint making racing highly authentic looking and upping the challenge.
The audio is also of a high standard with excellent engine sounds, and proper audience sound effects which have been lacking in F1 games of the past. There’s enough tutorial speech, throughout with handy hotlap videos for each circuit, and plenty of banter from your pit crew as they provide race updates and other bits of info about the car. Throw in a bit of commentary during the classic racing and you have a full on F1 experience on the ears.
F1 2013 is a game for fans and one that offers an update on last year’s roster. In this regard, playing a slightly better version might feel like history repeating itself, but still, this is the nature of sports games in general. For those who do partake in the game’s delights will find a wealth of single player content to master as well as co-op play, tracked stats, and an online multiplayer mode to dominate, there’s enough core content to last for many days weeks and months even.
Codemasters have done a wonderful job of recreating the F1 experience in video game form, and can’t be faulted with their presentation. In terms of a game, there’s a somewhat serious underlying element on offer which might make it a little less open to newcomers, but that said, with practice and learning, the rewards for success are worthwhile. As the only F1 game available at present, Codemasters have proved that they can offer a comprehensive racing experience that ticks all the right boxes but doesn’t rest on its laurels. If you’re an F1 fan, then this is a must buy, if you’re an owner of last year’s game, then this is an improvement but might not be the fresh journey it could be. In terms of value, there’s a lot of content under the hood, and therefore comes recommended for gamers looking to experience the thrills of F1 racing at home.
Score 8.5/10 – Review by Robert Cram