Yesterday, I was lucky enough to go hands on with the latest edition in the F1 franchise, F1 2013. As soon I was sat down, the first thing I was most anxious to do, was a race around a classic track in a classic car. For all the fans that have been following the F1 franchise, will know that F1’s 2013 newest addition is the inclusion of classic cars and tracks from the 1980’s and 1990’s period. I only had a few choices of drivers to pick from and only 2 tracks but that was more than enough to satisfy my need for fast cars. When I first played F1 2010 it took me a long while to get used to the control of cars, it was hard to master but at the same time was the most rewarding racing game I had played in a long while. This same experience was had when driving Nigel Manson’s car from the 1980’s around Brand Hatch. The car was fast, hard to control and I loved every minute, because I felt no control over the car it was more exciting to drive, drifting round the corners not knowing whether I would make it or not was something that the drivers from the time would feel. It was exhilarating in a way that no other racing games have made me feel and I loved it. In the 2 hours I played it, I still could not master the way the car handled but the sense of reward I could get from winning a race in that era is exciting and is something I want to achieve when the game comes out.
The presentation of the game reflects the different eras you play in and gives an authentic experience. The colour palette, the way the cars look, the HUD and the camera angles are all representative of that era. It’s very impressive and shows just how much Codemasters respect the sport of F1.
After a few races of the 80’s I decided to see how much the season of 2013 has changed in terms of gameplay. For this I went with Mark Webber on the Australian track for 15 laps. Starting up, nothing felt or looked that different from F1 2012 but then a few laps in I started to notice a few changes and all for the better. The first change I noticed was that the driving felt more forgiving that 2012, I was racing in the rain and normally I struggle and end of sliding round the corners instead of gliding around. This time though, I had full control of the car and because of this I had more manoeuvres I could pull off to gain position over the opposition. The AI never made this easy though as they have been greatly improved over 2012, each driver is more aggressive and acts exactly like their counterpart; Vettel is always in front, Lewis Hamilton is aggressive and Alonso is great at overtaking. The attention to the AI and their behaviour is fantastic and makes for a more enjoyable and satisfying game.
F1 in all media formats has always had impeccable sound design and F1 2013 is no different, in fact F1 2013 showcases some of the best audio in the sports franchise. The cars are loud and even louder in the earlier eras and you can perfectly hear the friction between the tires and the track… amazing. I am disappointed though that commentary is still missing and from what I saw so is the glamour of the sport, now that it is possible to save during mid race, more people will be inclined to do the full races. Without commentary, races might start to feel a little stale. The racing feels great but that commentary can add to the competitiveness and excitement of the race. The glamour of F1 may not seem important but when you watch a race and you see all the pre race content, it really gets you pumped for the race and when the formation lap is over and the countdown begins, the sensation you feel is unexplainable but its something that should be felt in F1 2013.
F1 2013 runs on the EGO Engine, which was used in Grid 2, so the game looks very crisp, in particularly the cars have much higher resolution and the lighting on the tracks and cars is more impressive than before.
Although I did not get anytime with the career mode Greg Pryjmachuk from Codemasters Birmingham stated that its been kept similar to last year as their main focus was getting the classic cars and tracks right. Pryjmachuk also said the same of the online component, which is no bad thing as the online mode is already pretty great.
According to Pryimachuk getting classic tracks and vehicles is something they have wanted to do since F1 2011 but not been able to due to legal reasons, considering this was their main objective for 2013, it is impressive how well the overall game plays and feels in contrast to 2012. Check back here for our full review before the game hits shelves on October 4th on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.