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PS3 Game Review

F1 2011 (PS3)


Format: PS3
RRP: £49.99
5 024866 345674
Age Restrictions: 3+
Available 23 September 2011

F1 2011 offers wide-ranging technical and game play advancements on and off track and vastly extended competitive and co-operative multiplayer components when compared to last year's F1 2010. F1 2011 features all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the highly anticipated 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship, including the current FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion Sebastian Vettel. The 2011 season also sees the debut of the 2011 Formula 1 Grand Prix of India at Delhi’s Jaypee International Race Circuit and the return of the iconic Nürburgring to the calendar...

Codemasters F1 2011 sees quite a few improvements on last year's game. When opening screens started I was a little concerned that the graphics had taken a bit of a step backwards. You're introduced to a commentator whose mouth is obscured by a microphone. This looked like a blatant effort to sidestep any attempt at lip synch. The graphics in the race are hit and miss (being best when viewing the camera angles in replay), but they're functional - just don't go expecting beautifully detailed backgrounds and you won't be too disappointed.

There are various game modes but the one where most players will head first is the career mode. This allows you to start as a novice driver with one of the lower ranked teams and practice, qualify and race each track in the 2011 calendar to elevate you and your team to the top rankings.

Each race sees you starting off with the practice session. Here you can get to grips with each course for an entire hour, but once you think you've got it nailed you can go back to the garage. Next you have to qualify. You can complete the qualifying laps (which can be as long as 50+ laps) or you can get the best lap time and then go back to the garage and move time forward to see if anyone beats your best time. If they do, simply go back out onto the track and keep racing until you beat them - or get the best lap you think you're capable of). Finally you get to race the track from your grid position. You can also customise how many laps you want the race to last for (the default is three).

Then when you've finished each race you can check your emails (which offers weather conditions and expected results from your bosses as well as any interest from rival teams who may offer you a position for the following season); change your helmet; or get ready for the next race.

Whether you're a driving novice or expert F1 2011 can be customised to ensure that you get neither frustrated nor bored. New to racing (or just not very good) then you can turn on the racing line so you can see where to manoeuvre your car and when to brake. Not quite used to knowing when to brake when going into the bends? Then turn on the automatic breaking system so that your car will do all the work for you leaving you to concentrate on steering. Don't worry, this doesn't take the fun out of driving, as you still have to choose when to add more acceleration when coming out of the bends.

Worried about hitting other cars? Well, you can alter how your car interacts with other vehicles. In the easy levels you can hit the cars and suffer no damage and very rarely get pushed off the track. However, increase your difficulty and tapping another car will have consequences that could see you losing the race.

The cars are also a lot easier to handle this year and there's the addition of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and the Drag Reduction System (DRS) which help boost your speed. Also you can fine tune your car or (if you've no idea what you're doing) leave it to your engineers to do for you. In addition you'll get the chance to do a bit of test driving and, should you complete a test lap in a given time, this unlocks a mod for your car which the engineers will fit for you.

Other modes include Grand Prix, which allows you to chose the tracks and conditions for a simple pick up and play race. You can also race online against other players or split screen with friends and family.

If you like driving games where you have to think then you'll get a blast out of this game. However, if your idea of a good driving experience is putting your pedal to the metal and slamming into anything that gets into your way... you'll find this frustrating.

F1 fans are sure to enjoy this immensely.


Darren Rea

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