Formula One racing, or simply F1, has traditionally been dominated by a European following. The video games based on the popular sport have a similar fan base. Since 2010, developer and publisher Codemasters has been at the helm of releasing a new F1 title every year. This year is no different, with F1 2013 bringing the annual release to Formula One simulation video game fans everywhere.
By default the game puts you in easy mode, with assists like automatic shifting and cornering enabled to allow players of any skill level and experience to enjoy what the game has to offer. Albeit, being a simulation racing game, these assists are as close as you’re going to get to being an arcade racer. Driving off of the track will fill your tires with debris and affect your traction, and you’ll want to remember to take pit stops during regular races, or something as silly as running out of gas will occur.
It was a bit of a surprise to see the default controls and settings holding up in races where seconds matter. You don’t have that edge that the more experienced gamers may have, but you still very much feel like a part of the action. The analog sticks provide a very tight and responsive control over your vehicle, so if you’re trying out a new vehicle or customization option and you just happen to clip another car and spin out, you can quickly get back in the action and not get overly frustrated. Again, this is how the controls are set by default, so if you keep your changes to a minimum, the game will remain just shy of being arcadey while still being quite a bit of fun.
There is nothing particularly mind-blowing about the visuals over last year’s release, other than some minor improvements. It’s still neat to see the rear wing flap clearly move to a different angle when using DRS. To be fair, there isn’t much to really gaze upon other than the cockpit in certain view modes, some elements around the track, or maybe the stadium structure where the fans cheer and your pit crew eagerly awaits your return. There’s even less to consider when it comes to the audio in the game. Your pit crew will advise you during races, and the actual engine noises and other miscellaneous sounds feel pretty authentic.
Much like other sports titles, the career mode is probably where most fans will spend the majority of their time. It’s the same song and dance you know and love, starting out on the lower caliber teams and gradually making your way up the ranks throughout the season. You’ll get opportunities for practices, qualifiers, Grand Prix races, and even research and development goals that can earn you more upgrades. Should you find yourself struggling, or even trying to drive in races like you’re playing a kart racer, there is a pretty thorough training mode to get you accustomed to the intricacies of these one-man machines.
If anything can sway your decision as to whether last year’s version of the game is good enough for a pass this year, it’s the Classics mode. Broadcasting great Murray Walker appropriately leads your journey to experience, racing against big names like Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, and even Nigel Mansell, among others. The visuals get a slightly aged and almost washed out sepia look to them in this mode. Top that off with an opportunity to use classic cars from manufacturers like Lotus and Ferrari, and it becomes nearly impossible to not want give it a spin. There is also some additional paid DLC available for those that need more classic options.
The multiplayer modes work pretty well, and even offer split-screen configurations in addition to the traditional online options. The lobby system works without a hitch, and the host of any given online multiplayer session will even transfer to another user, if any connection problems arise. Beyond strictly multiplayer races, there are also time trials and events from the developer’s online service, Racenet, that provides tracking of stats and bonus unlocks to the online community. The service can be accessed from both standard and portable browsers, and is also free of charge.
Overall, it can be somewhat daunting to pick up a game that gets released annually with only a few minor changes. The Classics mode could potentially be enough for the Formula One fan to consider picking up F1 2013 this year. For the rest, there are other racing titles most likely better suited to your needs.
F1 2013 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Lyrics. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360 and PC.Powered by Sidelines