Review: F1 2011
Formula One is a sport where excitement marks everything – be it a spectacular crash, a brilliant piece of overtaking, or an engine blow up – it’s all about being on the edge of your seat. It’s very rare that a sports game can capture the pure instinct of a sport, making you feel like you are actually competing for real, but the F1 2011 team have done just that. Despite EA games series’ such as FIFA and Madden attempting to create such an atmosphere with their ‘Be a pro’ or ‘Superstar’ modes, neither have come close to F1 2011’s creation of the Formula One world.
F1 2011 really does give you a sense of what being a Formula One driver is all about in its career mode, where you must handle the press, listen to your engineers and most important of all, take your car through a whole season of racing.
The first thing that hits you as you load the game is the unbelievable game intro (shown below). Not only does it portray the real life 2011 F1 season up to the point of release, but it really does get you excited at the prospect of pushing your car to the limit.
Once you get past the initial excitement you start to notice the exceptional detail in the graphics. Each track looks lifelike, the attention paid to the mechanics and physics of the car are superb and the weather effects are just stunning. Then you have added extras like driver celebrations, pit girls, TV interviews and the highly anticipated safety car.
Moving onto the gameplay itself, there are so many big improvements that you could go on for hours detailing the ins and outs of every single one. I won’t bore you with that, but I will outline the biggest determining factors as to why this game is one of the best sporting games to date.
First of all you have the new features that have come into F1 for the 2011 season. DRS and Kers have both been implemented and are easily used by the push of a button, just as they are in real life. Then you have the introduction of Pirelli tyres, which really has made a big improvement on previous versions of the game. Now you must look after your tyres because once they degrade the car begins to handle like a slimy gorilla. In the past you have been able to stay out on track for ages without needing to pit, whereas now you must think about strategy; when the best time to pit will be, what tyres you should start on.
Handling has to be one of the biggest improvements. In F1 2011 you are punished for making a mistake and boy does it ruin your race. Brake too late for a corner and you are heading straight for the gravel trap. Put one wheel on the grass in the braking zone and you won’t make the corner. Little things like that really give you a sense of pressure as a driver and the concentration needed to keep the car on track.
Although I am yet to see it in action, the addition of a safety car has been one of the biggest talking points surrounding the game. No longer will there be a huge pile up at the first corner where the racing will continue as normal, with one wheeled cars somehow making it off the track and out of the way.
Despite the positives, as always, no game is perfect. Although the simulation of crashes has been improved it is still far from reality, with heavy bumps with other cars or walls sometimes going completely unnoticed. Hopefully this will be one of the big things they look at in the future.
One other down side to the game, which may or may not have been fixed in the recent patch (Not being able to connect to the internet is a big pain), is the fact that drivers who should easily be qualifying in the top 5 are being knocked out in the first part of Qualifying, without any issues or crashes.
In spite of these minor issues, the game is simply outstanding. Fans of the series and sport couldn’t have asked for a better product, and it certainly builds a brilliant base for future F1 games.