Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: F1 2011

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While Codemasters recently announced the development of the latest formula videogame adaptation, coming this September, there was no mention of a PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) version in their plans. While a second instalment may arrive at a later date – as was the case with this debut – at present F1 2011 is looking to have a huge audience all to itself in the foreseeable future, but it takes more than just being a licensed product to be worth purchasing.

As with many of the adaptations coming to the PS Vita, the hope for F1 2011 would be that Codemasters had managed to convert the existing PlayStation 3 edition of the videogame with relatively little loss in quality. Arc System Works managed it with Blazblue: Continuum Shift Extend, and so it would surely be within the reachElectronic Theatre Image of the UK studio’s EGO engine. However, while F1 2011 is just as comprehensive a product on the high-definition handheld as it is on the high-definition home console, it’s not quite as technically sound.

The gameplay design of F1 2011 is just as you’d expect from a modern Formula One videogame. A huge amount of customisable assists are complimented by an inordinate amount of gameplay options, from a one-off Quick Race to a customised Grand Prix, to the lengthy Career and Championship modes. Of course, F1 2011 does offer multiplayer gameplay also, both ad hoc and via online networking, but it is limited to four players.

The Career mode is likely to play host to most player’s attention for the longest period of time, offering three consecutive seasons of practice runs, qualifying sessions and competitive races. It’s a fully featured gameplay Electronic Theatre Imagemode, with all the drivers and teams of last year’s Formula One season, though it doesn’t have quite the same amount of window dressing as the home console versions. A new addition for F1 2011 on PS Vita is the Challenge mode, in which players take part in a series of brief events designed for the immediate nature of handheld gaming. The challenges vary considerably, and some are notably more enjoyable than others, and as players work their way through the tiers of events new types will become available.

Despite being developed for relatively powerful hardware, the PS Vita version of F1 2011 is clearly inferior to its home console sister titles. The animation isn’t quite as slick and the backdrops are clearly lacking in detail. The videogame doesn’t seem to run at the same pace, meaning that players will find corners must be Electronic Theatre Imageexecuted quicker than repositioning on the straights, which certainly feels an odd balance. There may also be some omitted particle effects and occasionally uneven handling, but F1 2011 is still a reasonable looking title.

The hope was that, for all intents and purposes, F1 2011 on PS Vita would be essentially the same product as its PlayStation 3 sibling. While it’s just as packed with content, it’s not quite as close to reality as its home console counterpart. F1 2011 presents what is arguably the best Formula One simulation currently available on a handheld system, but it may take another year for Codemasters to get the most out of the PS Vita hardware.

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