F1 2013 review
Codemasters takes us racing once again. With this being now the fourth game in a yearly release franchise, can F1 2013 still take pole position?
Legends of the past
F1 Classics is the main new addition to the game which features cars from the 1980s from the Ferrari, Williams and Lotus teams. The mode also allows you to race as legendary drivers from various decades, particularly those most prominent with the mentioned teams at different times.
The classic tracks included in the game are Jerez and Brands Hatch, which can be raced on by either modern or classic car. Note that the older cars can make an appearance on modern circuits, too. Whenever the classic cars are used, the track and HUD are given an antique look, and when combined with the roar of the engines from that time, it really makes it feel more like the era they came from. The cars themselves do feel quite different from the modern cars; they are noticeably slower, seem quite bulky to drive and obviously have none of the overtaking assist technology. The game modes within are pretty much the same from last year’s game. Like the modern era you can choose from a single race in Grand Prix, practice your technique in Time Trial, aim for gold in Time Attack or take on a challenge in Scenario Mode.
Back to the present
Career, Season Challenge and the Young Driver Test modes all make the cut once again for the modern side of the game. When starting the game for the first time you go through a series of challenges in Young Driver Test, which ultimately decides which team you can start with for your career. The better you do the more teams you can select from (with the maximum choice being Lotus). Career remains the same as previous games with the main change being to the minimum distance you can race which is now set to 25%. However, It is possible to choose the length of participation from a full session weekend to even just a short weekend with just a qualifying hot lap.
Season Challenge is the equivalent to a mini season in F1 with only ten races, a hot lap qualifying and a five lap race distance. The highest starting team is Force India and although the goal is ultimately to win the championship, it is to be done with some fun on the way. You select a rival at the start as well as during the season, and if you beat him in the best of three races you get offered a contract to that team. So you could start with Force India, go to Lotus, then to Ferrari and on to Red Bull. Obviously the higher the difficulty the longer it will take to get to a winning team, but the AI seems more tougher throughout the entire game. When driving a Force India I noticed a jump in the AI’s difficulty on intermediate – for example, it was quite tough to try and keep up with the Red Bulls, much less overtake them.
Multiplayer is once again in the game with a co-op championship possible with a friend and grand prix action for up to 16 players total. All of your progress in F1 2013 is tracked through Codemaster’s RaceNet with awards and experience given for completed events that are hosted by the service.
A little goes a long way
One of the new features in F1 2013 is a little thing called “mid session save” which sounds exactly like what it might do – you can now save your game in the middle of a session! No more planning time around the length of an entire grand prix; if you need to leave you can activate the save and then return to it any time you want. If you have a mid session save in a lengthy mode, it is visually displayed on the main menu.
Another nice addition comes in the form of being able to watch a hot lap of each track which features excellent commentary from Anthony Davidson on how to get that perfect lap. And finally, a much welcomed option has now been included for penalties which allows you to reduce the setting to just corners only. So yes, if you tap another driver you’re not going to get a penalty for it. Bliss!
With continued stunning realism and attention to detail, F1 2013 feels, looks and sounds the part. However, I couldn’t help but feel I was playing near enough to the same game as last year, but with all the shiny improvements. Nevertheless, it still is a very enjoyable game.
Miss; It doesn’t feel like there were as many changes from F1 2012 to F1 2013 when compared to 2010 to 2011 or from 2011 to 2012.
Need; More balanced AI. Increasing the difficulty too much on the lower difficulties, especially when there’s now five different levels, might be a turn off for newer players.