There have been notable numbers of Formula One games translated well into the digital playground. F1 games have emerged from the titles created by legendary British game developer, Geoff Crammond, into the Formula One series we see now on Playstation by Psygnosis. In the current sixth generation of game consoles, there has been a vacuum of F1 games until British game developer, Codemasters, took over the franchise and never looked back.
Codemasters are in fact masters when it comes in developing great racing games from the Colin Mcrae’s Dirt series, TOCA, and Race Driver Grid and the F1 series has bought F1 video games into the higher level. Come 2013 and CodeMasters has released their 5th installment of the F1 series on what properly their last F1 game on the PS3 and XBOX 360 before the new generation of game consoles arrives. The game is also available on the PC.
F1 2013 is based on the actual 2013 Formula One season, featuring all 19 tracks, 11 teams and 22 drivers from that calendar. Where it remains an incremental version of last year’s sequel which means the aesthetics of the game remained more or less the same, the new and interesting addition which will turn every F1 fan’s attention will be the classic edition, which we get into that later.
Knowing that Codies’s quest for immersive F1 experience in the F1 games which means the game can be unforgiving, players will start off with the Young Driver’s Test in Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, which serves as an tutorial section to familiarized players with the correct ways to handle an F1 car.
There is a lengthy and challenging career mode, allowing players to immerse themselves in all 19 races all over the world, starting with the first race at Albert’s Park in Australia until the finale at Intergalos, Brazil. Race weekends can test the player’s patience considering players need to perform the practice sessions, qualifying and the 15 laps race, although now they can save their progress midway during the race. It is definitely a very useful new feature in this game.
For those with less patience can opt for the season challenge which is a compact version of the career mode with ten 5-lap races, or the scenario mode where players were given 20 different challenges to compete, from leading a race using an inferior car, recovering from a blown tire and so on.
Similarly with the real counterpart, succeeding in F1 requires more than just nerves of steel or a car designed by Adrian Newey. Apart from having a decent race craft, drivers must master the tyres which determine the race can be won or lost. Of course it is unlikely that the Pirelli tyres on the game will blow like this year’s disastrous British GP, pushing the tyre too hard in the game will result in the car losing grip, which may cause the car to be difficult to manage and eventually losing to rivals. While the driver’s AI hardly caused any incidents that prompt the safety car, the interchangeable weather patterns may process some familiar challenges as per the previous editions.
The hallmark on the F1 2013 is the Classic edition which features classic F1 cars and drivers from the 80’s. There is a downloadable content option for the 90’s pack that adds a few cars and 2 tracks from F1 of the 90’s. Where modern F1 cars are filled with buttons, electronics and gizmos like the DRS, KERS and so on; F1 cars on the earlier era were basically a go kart with tobacco sponsor liveries scrapped to a rocket engine. Despite looking primitive compared to modern F1 cars, the classic F1 cars from Team Lotus, Ferrari and Williams, were a blast to drive due to the rawness feel from the handling and the massive surge of power from the turbocharged units from the 80s and the V10 from the 90st. Piloting an Williams FW11 with a turbocharged Honda engine into the Eau Rouge on Spa is anytime more fun that driving the modern Red Bulls on that similar curve. Also players can choose to pilot any of the classic F1 cars in modern F1 tracks like Sepang, with the added sepia filter on the screen mimicking the races of the past.
However if there is a major complain, it will be the omission of McLaren cars from the past. There is not a single McLaren car from the 80’s that were offered which means the dominion MP4/4 that won all but one races in the 1988 calendar is missing and so is the team’s legendary driver, Ayrton Senna.
For those that have fantasied to see if a classic F1 car can defeat Lewis Hamilton in a modern F1 W04 Mercedes will be disappointed as these different modes doesn’t allow for that. That makes somehow the classic edition an under delivered product with a lot of potential gone unfulfilled.
On hindsight, without the classic mode F1 2013 will become a forgotten affair and even with the limited number of tracks and cars from the classic mode it still offers F1 fans to electrifying experience on indulging into F1 machines of the past, something that the current library of racing games has not offered. This is easily the best F1 experience offered for the current generation of game consoles and undoubtedly this is perhaps the only opportunity where you may able to stop Sebastian Vettel from taking the 2013’s drivers title.
Image Source: Codemasters