F1 2010 Review (Xbox 360)

Game Review: F1 2010
Release: September 22, 2010
Genre: Racing
Developer: Codemasters
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Players: 1, System Link 2-12, Online Multiplayer 2-12
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Website: F1 2010

F1 2010 is the sequel to last year’s F1 2009, also developed by Codemasters. F1 2010 takes the series further than ever before with the new EGO 1.5 engine, developed specifically for the F1 series. Jump into the driver’s seat for any of the Formula One teams and take on Career, Time Trial, Grand Prix, or online multiplayer.

Career mode puts you in the place of a rookie F1 driver.  At your introductory interview, the reporter asks your name and what team you will represent. You can even select from a variety of nicknames; Moose, Rain Man, or my choice, McLovin. This is an innovative way to get your feet wet and submerse you in the world of F1 racing.

A poor effort in qualifying will put you in the back of the field for race day.

You handle each race like the pros. Your first day of race weekend is practice, where you have an hour of real time to get familiar with the track. This is also your opportunity to experiment with the thousands of various car setups. You have control over nearly every dimension of your driving machine: front and rear wing angles, weight distribution, camber and toe alignment, and even the exact MPH at which each gear shifts. Your team also sets practice goals for you, awarding upgrades when the goals are achieved.

Hug the turns to shave time and block other drivers.

I like a challenge in my games, and F1 2010 is no disappointment. I have been playing on easy mode, which gives drivers full traction control, braking assist, and a dynamic racing line, and my highest race finish is 3rd. The racing looks and sounds great, although the environment is hard to notice given the amount of focus you have to dedicate to staying on the track.

Arguably the most impressive feature is the weather, an innovation led by the EGO 1.5 engine. Midway through my race in Malaysia, the rain started coming down. Almost immediately I began to notice my car losing traction while turning, a symptom of using dry-weather tires. The rain kept coming, eventually forming puddles in low spots and soaking the track. I had to crawl around curves lest I fly off the edge. I don’t have any real-life Formula One racing experience, but I imagine the impact rain has on the track is accurately portrayed here.

The environment looks great when you can afford to look away from the track.

F1 2010 suffers from what I call, “Extreme G Syndrome.” Extreme G is a motorcycle racing game for the Nintendo 64 which has players nearly reaching Mach speeds. The camera angle cannot respond accordingly, leaving the player guessing when a turn is approaching.

F1 cars cannot reach Mach speeds, but I was still struggling with visibility. Hallmarks of F1 racing are the hairpin turns and snaking curves, which are complicated by the various camera angles. I am no F1 driver and can’t race from the cockpit viewpoint, and the game does offer a shallow, third-person view; unfortunately, it still sits too close to the car and prevents you from seeing too far ahead. Most players won’t take the full hour of practice time to memorize the track layout and I am in the same boat.

No wet weather tires? Have fun in last place.

This is my first F1 gaming experience and I am very impressed. The effort that Codemasters put into their product is visible with the incredible amount of detail, from the racing physics to the stickers on the cars. I have long considered Forza Motorsport 3 to be the best 360 racing game, but F1 2010 is ready to take the throne. Once you get accustomed to the spelling of “tyres” you are in for a rewarding experience.

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