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F1 2011 Review

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Formula Won

★★★★

Last year’s F1 2010 announced Codemasters’ take on the Formula One racing franchise one to be reckoned with. Eyeing an annual series, it’s doesn’t come as much of a surprise that F1 2011 doesn’t make any radical changes from its predecessor released just twelve months ago, yet it manages to justify itself as another annual release due to its further refinement of the formula and by focusing on authenticity.

While maintaining the thrill of an arcade racer rather than a fully-fleshed sim, there are more minute modifications that demand racers to hone their skills. Initially tweaks to the handling clearly make vehicles more weighty, with tight responsiveness keenly felt while on the track, while the environment itself an all-important factor in shaving those crucial seconds off lap time demanding precision on each corner as one tyre scraping the gravel can even reduce the wheel’s grip – losing precious seconds.

Skill is thoroughly rewarded and the much-needed additions of DRS and KERS open up the gameplay, offering tactical advantages for those who seek them. The latter of the two providing a limited boost – a typical racing genre attribute – but when paired with DRS (the opening of the rear wing) on straights can be a powerful ally and a challenge to master. And the game demands the you get a firm grasp of these mechanics, as the AI proves relentless, a healthy challenge jostling for position rather than sticking to a preordained path, making the single-player a testing experience – a rarity in the genre.

Career mode contains few thrills outside of the main races, vying to replicate the off-track experience to limited success (taking part in television interviews quickly becomes tiresome – much like the real thing, most likely). But there’s little disappointment to be found in the racing, which mixes a ferocious challenge with all the precision of the sport itself. It won’t feel hugely dissimilar to F1 2010 but there’s no denying that it is the quintessential Formula One experience.