This year’s Formula One videogame is set to arrive later this month, and with the widely respected Codemasters Racing developing and distributing the title expectations of F1 2012 are understandably high. This time around however, only PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will be graced with a version of the videogame, as the studio are keen to ensure that they don’t spread themselves too thin and that the quality remains high.
The measurement of a high quality production centres largely around Codemasters Racing’s insistence on ‘overhauling everything.’ Visuals have been made over, the physics engine offers more realism and the handling system more customisability. More so than any of this however, F1 2012’s gameplay modes present a dramatic revision of the established variety seen in previous titles.
To begin with, all players starting F1 2012 will experience the Young Driver Test. A mandatory gameplay mode, the Young Driver Test is a revision of the standard tutorial mode in which players will be introduced to the handling of Formula One cars while the videogame assesses their ability and devises its own opinion of which assists would be most suitable for the player. This is performed by setting the player on a specific track on the first day of the test, and then bleeding into the beginning of the Career mode. Your performance in the Young Driver Test will have a significant impact on your five-season career, but not necessarily by way of the difficulty curve.
Another addition to the formula is the Season Challenge gameplay mode. Codemasters Racing are keenly aware of the subset of Formula One fans who want to experience the virtual adaptation of the sport, but don’t have the time to dedicate weeks worth of their free time to play through five complete seasons. That option is still there for those who wish for a deeper experience, but for the less committed Season Challenge mode provides a ten race ladder with an arcade style presentation, but still delivering a gritty simulation in-game.
The final gameplay mode demonstrated to Electronic Theatre was the Champions Mode. A revisit to the Challenges gameplay of F1 2009, this time around players must race head-to-head against seven Formula One world champions. Additionally, a scenario mode will build upon this established challenge with unique situations, for example entering a forty-four lap race on the forty-first lap and being set the goal of achieving pole position in the remaining three laps.
Codemasters Racing has set a standard with the Formula One videogame adaptations that is not only working to build their good name, but also their own worst enemy. Managing to build upon the foundations of previous years with a title that excels in all respects is undoubtedly a difficult task, and so taking a step back and seeing where the weakest aspects reside is surely the best course of action. From what Electronic Theatre has seen of F1 2012 this most certainly looks to have been the case, and as such we can only expect the videogame will attract an even wider audience than ever before.