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F1 2011 Review

19 October 2011

Genuine racing games are much harder to come by in comparison to the genre stretchers such as Need for Speed and Split/Second. One of the few genuine racing games available are the Gran Turismo games, which cover nearly every aspect of racing even down to cart racing. F1 2011 takes on a stance of speciality, and it's striving for a spot above the rest of its contemporaries by giving the player the exact experience expected from Formula 1 racing.

The game opens into a very simple menu in front of a backdrop consisting of race car shipping trucks and a garage in a very exact and pristine detail. The menu consists of an equally detailed career mode, which starts with the initial signing to a car with a sponsor and a television interview. The mode is very specific, and it gives the player a first-person view in his trailer of all the options and information needed to run the races. Even more detailed is the initial entry into a race car, which gives a fully detailed overlook of the track and weather via a propped display on the hood of the car while the pit crew is working diligently on fine tuning the car. After fine tuning the tires and speaking with the engineer, the car is set down on the ground, and the player is directed toward the track.

Vehicle motion is very calm and smooth, and the tire rotation is well detailed to enunciate the proper motion with very smooth and clean spinning tire animations. Even running into walls or other racers makes parts break from the cars in a very vivid and realistic way, which gives F1 2011 a very authentic look. The sounds of the cars are very accurate as well, giving the high pitched hum of the engines, and the Doppler Effect definitely was instated very well in relation to the vehicles and how they moved past each other. The music is typically set only to the menu screens, since the engines would definitely convolute the sounds. Regardless, the accompanying score is soothing and it gave the atmosphere leading into and prepping for races a very calm representation.

Unfortunately, as many know, F1 racing consumes a lot of time per race. The initial practice race in Career Mode required me to lap the track 24 times before moving on to the official race, so F1 2011 will require a vast amount of diligence and patience to fully appreciate. My attention span doesn't require much to keep it interested, but being directed through each lap by green lines and listening to the hum of the engines without much change made for a very dull experience over the length of a race. Easy mode becomes even more uninteresting, because the braking system is automated so turns are done without any issue. On the other hand, a tool such as that can be very effective for learning how turns look and feel before doing them.

The multiplayer experience isn't very vast, but it does exactly what is to be expected. Unlike 2010, 2011 has incorporated split screen support to play with a friend. It also has added support for a full racing grid, which allows for 16 players and 8 AI characters to race together. The tracks themselves aren't enthralling either in the actual Formula 1 racing, and that fact carries over into this game to make the racing experience become a mind-numbing experience. I caught myself constantly veering off into the sand on curves because of zoning out from the game, and I would jump in surprise when I ran into other cars and parts flew across the screen (though, the vivid debris from collisions brought me back to perspective).

I can't say that this game is bad, because it gives the full experience of F1 racing in a very visually glorious way, but it feels a bit too repressed from difficulty, especially with the lines and automatic braking on easy mode holding my hand the whole time. Changing difficulty modes was more rewarding, since turns are precise and unforgiving, and having proper acceleration is rewarded with faster times. All it will take is time and effort to make this game worth its well-deserved time.

F1 2011 is a very authentic game, which gives the full experience desired from Formula 1 racing, but it also doesn't give gamers unfamiliar with F1 racing much reason to play it outside of a new outtake on racing. The experience is authentic and visually delivered with a high standard of effort, but it doesn't grasp any sort of gamer outside of the F1 fandom. If it had a more dynamic system, or it gave a physical reward and customizable system for the cars, crew, and trucks, this would be a game meant for all players. Furthermore, F1 2011 would also benefit greatly from a more entertaining online experience outside of simple races. Unfortunately, the slow rate of Trophy gathering and the equally enthralling delivery of such a visually accurate game doesn't give much excuse to play it outside of being a die-hard F1 fan. 

-The Final Word-

F1 2011 creates a great and exact rendition of Formula 1 racing, but it doesn't give new fans a reason to play it.
  • +Visually gorgeous cars
  • +Authentic sounds
  • +Split screen support
  • -Dull tracks and backdrops
  • -Bland online modes
  • -Low replay value
7.5
Platforms reviewed : PlayStation 3
See PSU's reviews scores on Metacritic and Gamerankings

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