Review

F1 2013

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F1 2013 is Codemasters’ latest attempt to bring the highly technical and demanding world of Formula One racing into our living rooms. As its name suggests, the game features all the drivers, teams, cars and tracks from the 2013 season which is currently in its final stages.

What You Need to Know

F1 2013 lets you experience the thrill of being a driver racing in one of the world’s most mentally demanding sports. Formula One feels very different from other forms of racing since smooth steering and braking is paramount, and hitting the apex of each corner is often the difference between winning or losing a race. F1 is also the world’s fastest multi-turn circuit-based motorsport so if you haven’t played a F1 game before then you’ll probably take a while to adjust to how quickly everything happens once you’re out on the track.

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What’s New?

F1 2013 features official classic Formula One content for the first time in the series. The base game (in PAL territories at least) includes the 1980s content pack while the more expensive F1 2013 Classic Edition also features the 1990s content pack. These two packs add a further four circuits to the mix including Brands Hatch and Estoril, while also introducing eleven classic cars for the 80s and 90s as well as legendary drivers such as Nigel Mansell, Gerhard Berger and Jacques Villeneuve. The great thing about this classic content is that you get to experience firsthand how F1 technology has advanced over the years, and besides the usual range of modes involving these extras you can also compete in online or local multiplayer races using the cars and tracks which these two packs bring to the table.

What’s the Same?

I haven’t played any of Codemasters’ previous F1 games extensively so it’s difficult to judge what’s the same in terms of the finer details. However, according to my research the Young Driver Test which introduces you to the basics of F1 racing makes a return, as does Scenario Mode which was called Champions Mode in F1 2012. This mode sees you race under a variety of conditions in an attempt to complete various objectives, such as regaining lost positions following an unscheduled pit stop. In F1 2013 this mode is broken up into different stages of a driver’s career whereas in F1 2012 it hinged on beating six F1 champions such as Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Just like previous racing titles developed by Codemasters, F1 2013 features the ‘flashback’ gameplay mechanic which allows you to rewind time at any point during an offline race so you can have another go at avoiding a collision or swinging into the apex of a corner.

You’ll Enjoy F1 2013 If You Liked…

… The Gran Turismo series. If you enjoy taking the fastest cars in Gran Turismo 5 for a spin and making adjustments to each car’s setup then you’ll find a lot to like in F1 2013.

… The Grand Prix series. The last game in the Grand Prix series may have been released over a decade ago but if you enjoyed the thrills and spills synonymous with this classic franchise then odds are F1 2013 will get your pulse racing.

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What I Liked

- 5.) The Young Driver Test is an excellent way for casual observers of Formula One racing like myself to be introduced to key F1 technologies such as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System KERS and Drag Reduction System (DRS).

- 4.) F1 2013 has an impressive number of camera views to choose from, including the ‘TV Pod’ view which replicates what we see during real races when the broadcast angle switches to a driver’s over-the-helmet camera.

- 3.) Tyres are a crucial component of Formula One racing and F1 2013 does a great job of visually representing tyres which have a puncture or have picked up gravel from going off the track.

- 2.) Rain not only affects your car’s handling in F1 2013 but it also obscures your vision in a very realistic fashion when you switch to one of the many non-chase camera views.

- 1.) During a race you can pull up a status menu detailing the condition of your car and other important points such as how many times you’re scheduled to enter the pits. You can also play a hand in affecting the outcome of a race (apart from driving) by scheduling tyre, brake and fuel changes by pulling up another menu while on the track.

Favourite Moment

It’s fair to say that I’m still a long way from being a competitive racer in F1 2013 due to how differently the cars handle compared to what I’m used to. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the few multiplayer games I took part in where I led the field into the first corner of a race, although sadly my lead had usually been destroyed by more skilled drivers by the time the second corner was in sight.

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What I Didn’t Like

- 4.) F1 2013 has great sound effects but is lacking in the sound department overall. There’s no commentary during races nor is there any licensed music to enjoy while browsing menus or racing around the track.

- 3.) Many sports games these days are constantly being updated with real-world results and statistics which gives you a sense of the ever-changing nature of sport. Consequently, F1 2013 seems outdated by not including features such as highlights or results from the current F1 season.

- 2.) F1 2013′s presentation definitely could have been better. For example, if you perform terribly in a race you see a cut-scene of your driver shaking his head in the team area upon its completion. These brief cut-scenes don’t contain any dialogue and certainly don’t have the impact I imagine Codemasters was aiming for.

- 1.) There’s no doubt that F1 2013′s Career mode is a lengthy and enjoyable aspect of the game but its lacklustre presentation doesn’t encourage you to spend many hours with it. You can read emails from your managers and newspaper clippings during the season but there are no cut-scenes featuring likeable personalities to make this mode more engaging.

Least Favourite Moment

Playing a Grand Prix event on the easiest difficulty setting and eating the rest of the grid’s dust as I quickly slipped to the back of the pack. Though this is no fault of the game, F1 2013′s handling model certainly takes some getting used to if you’re new to the series, and I think playing with a steering wheel and pedals will make your life a lot easier since smooth steering and braking is what this motorsport is all about.

What’s Extra?

Besides online multiplayer, F1 2013 supports split-screen and system link so you can invite your friends over and see who’s the greater F1 driver between you. You can also create your own custom online events, lending this mode plenty of longevity if you have a group of people to play it with. F1 fanatics will probably want to spend some time attempting to climb the fastest lap leaderboards for the nineteen circuits comprising the 2013 F1 season, while less knowledgeable players will do well to try out Scenario mode to learn more about the wide variety of demanding situations which face drivers during their careers.

F1 2013 – Launch Trailer

The Bottom Line

F1 2013 is an authentic representation of the 2013 Formula One season but it appears to lack the ambition which defines the greatest racing games of the current console generation.

F1 2013 was reviewed on the Xbox 360


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