F1 2012 Review
Codemasters has turned in their 3rd installment of the F1 series, hoping to pick up a few new fans by refining key aspects and simplifying others. Last year we were introduced to the DRS and CURS systems without a whole lot of explanation as to what they were for or how to effectively use them. This season the opening tutorial, missing from previous years, covers not only basic controls but also these advanced racing perks. Another improvement is the ability to save race progress more efficiently and in that same vein, the ability to select shorter race distances for those who may not have hours to dedicate to one single event. This improvement complements the new Season Challenge mode nicely with a much shorter number of total races needed to complete and rankings changing around every two wins. Gone is the focus on interviews and off-track persona building, which some found enjoyable but I could never really get behind.
In terms of controls, F1 2012 doesn't appear to have made any drastic changes to the control set. There are a handful of noticeable improvements to handling under certain track conditions, but in terms of steering, acceleration, and braking, I wouldn't expect any groundbreaking improvements. DRS and CURS however, is definitely on the list of improved items helping fans from last year that never got used to the two systems to now have a much easier time selecting and applying each one efficiently.
Visually, F1 is still a thing of beauty and Codemasters has improved a few aspects here as well. Right off the bat, there appears to have been an effort to not ship with the same framerate issues as last years release. Additionally, there are noticeable improvements to the dynamic weather system, and even the off track characters have been given a facelift for a more believable experience. Lighting and textures of both the track and cars have been given bump as well, making for one of the best looking F1 games I've ever had the pleasure of playing through.
The one area I didn't notice any major improvements was in the audio department. If you read my review from last year, I don't really know how they could have improved on this aspect, so I guess it's a wash. If you're an audiophile looking for something specific out of your game, you may enjoy the new victory music or hear slight improvements to engine and track noise, but you'll have to be the judge on this as I was unable to hear anything that was drastically different.
Online modes have been improved on, picking up an improved penalty system to keep misbehaving drivers somewhat in line. Even though the default race types are the same, you can take part in or create your own customized race types and co-op mode has expanded to allow progression online with a friend. The expanded campaign mode was a delight to see, and fans of the series will be able to keep themselves busy for countless hours if they follow the schedule without any skipping ahead. Another fun addition is the Champions Mode, where you get pitted against professional driver AI in scenario situations that have certain handicaps in place but you must still drive your heart out to win. When you take into account everything that Codemasters has included and improved on in this years release, it's easy to say that this is simply not an incremental upgrade to the series. F1 2012 isn't without a small amount of bugs and areas to improve on (which Codemasters may have already addressed by the time this hits the site) but whether you're a current owner of an F1 title or are looking to jump in, this year's release is an easy sell.
Final Rating: 92%. Whether you're a current owner of an F1 title or are looking to jump in, this year's release is an easy sell.