Codemasters the team behind Race Driver Grid and Colin McRae Dirt have turned their hands to the pinnacle of motor sport – Formula One, obtaining a full licence to recreate the sport in all its brilliance and as you would expect they have crammed in the full driver line up and all 19 tracks from the 2010 F1 campaign.
For me as a massive F1 fan the game is a bit of a mixed bag, the campaign mode is the games main mode, and you can see this from the amount of effort that the codies team have put into making it look just right, (fans of Grid will notice certain similarities between the floating menus in both games) from the moment the disc boots up your are thrust into the campaign, and get to choose how many seasons you want to do, what difficulty and team selection, but they are done in the form of a press conference like you would see at the end of a real F1 race which is a nice addition, throughout the campaign you will be interviewed in the paddock and also after races (if you are good enough to reach the podium) but after the tenth time of asking you the same question it can become a bit boring and you feel like you are going through the motions to get to the next race.
The racing itself is very enjoyable and because of the career mode you do feel a real sense of achievement when you overtake another car, or get yourself into the points with your pit crew radioing in to let you know how you are doing, that said the game also has a considerable amount of bugs some of which can really destroy the racing for instance in modern F1 in a dry race you have to do one mandatory stop to change tires during a race, and whilst you must obey the rules I have seen AI cars go on to win a race against me because the computer never made them stop, also on some tracks you will really get dialled in and understand the best way to drive the circuit being able to put out a few seconds on the cars behind, but they seem to catch up to you whenever they want to even though your laps times are considerably quicker and if they hit you whilst they try to clumsily overtake then you will receive a penalty!, that said though most of these things I can overlook as the game itself is fantastic and is easily the best use of the franchise since the original Playstation titles back in the day from Psygnosis
One thing I can’t overlook is the worst bug in the game; as you are doing practice the team offers you the chance to do some R&D work on the car to obtain extra down force, more power etc but if you take part in the R&D, finish practice, save and turn off then the next time you fire up your trusty PS3, Xbox or PC the game save will be corrupt meaning the only thing you can do is restart the game, I can understand why the bugs appear in the game, mainly because it was rushed to get the game out before the season finished but someone should be getting the game patched asap and as it stands at the moment, no patch exists which is very poor, even worse for any unsuspecting console owners who don’t take their machines online because they will always be stuck with a buggy version of the game with a ticking time bomb waiting to destroy their game save at any moment.
I personally found online very fun, the multiplayer modes offered allow you to race up to 12 friends at any of the chosen GP’s, getting into the games was relatively quick and pain free although I did occasionally drop out of sessions for no reason, and I have been unable to join any ranked grand prix to date.
To sum up, as I said in my opening paragraph F1 2010 is a real mixed bag, and for me a real missed opportunity, I’m glad that Codemasters picked up the licence and I think that their future efforts will be much better than ’10 simply because they will be evolutions of the same game, much as Fifa is every year, the game plays brilliantly (when it is working nicely) and for the most part if you are aware of the bugs before you start playing you should be ok, that said should you be paying £40 for a game that is unfinished?
With all the downsides that the game has to offer F1 2010 is still my favourite Formula One game ever, and to date I have racked up almost 30 hours playing career mode, not to mention getting to level 10 online, the challenge is well balanced and can be tweaked to your own level; either very easy or ridiculously hard and the appeal of impressing the other teams with your skills and planning a future move to get into one of the big three really gives the game some purpose, if you are a big F1 fan and love racing, pick up the game now, you won’t be disappointed even with the issues the game has, if however you just like racing games wait until the game is patched or you will be disappointed.
F1 2010 is available now, as of 15th October 2010 the game remains un patched, we played the game through on an Xbox 360 and completed one and a half seasons of career mode attaining 545 gamer score.