F1 2011 Looks to be Firing on All Cylinders

By Ryan Winslett in Hands-on, Previews/Impressions
Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Buckle up for another lap
Codemasters' F1 2010 received quite a bit of praise when it was released last year. Unwilling to leave well enough alone, the team has spent the past year adding to that winning title, fine tuning the nuts and bolts and strapping on some additions that should put a smile on any racing fan's face.


During the F1 2011 E3 showing, the developers made it clear that they were not out to cash in on a yearly racing title.


"It has to be more than just an update with new tracks," said Codemasters' Stephen Hood. "We wanted to squeeze as many features into 2011 as we could to persuade gamers that the new title would be worth their time and money."


Being a sports franchise, the developers said they understand asking gamers to pay full price for a title just 12 months after they purchased your last game can be perceived as asking a bit too much. Thankfully, the real world sport of Formula One added some nifty new rules to the 2011 season, perfect for plugging into the upcoming game.


For starters, F1 2011 will feature 19 circuits and this year's new rules, like a short boost system called KERS, as well as the implementation of a Drag Reduction System for straightaways and Pirelli tires, which should have a big impact on how the cars handle.


Players can expect the usual update of 2011 car liveries and drivers, as well as some additional tracks like the Buddh International Circuit and Nurburgring.


Along with sharpening up the controls, the team said they wanted players to get a better sense of what it feels like to "be the driver, live the life and go compete." This means a greater attempt to replicate what you might see on television while watching actual F1 events (such as tickers, celebrations, etc.), as well as a new driver AI system, enhanced damage, reaction cinematics, a press feedback system and more.


Also receiving a healthy shot in the arm is the online play. F1 2011 will allow for two player splitscreen as well as co-op championship modes, allowing for friendly competition that sees budies competing for the same team. This year's game will also feature a full online grid, allowing for 16 players to join eight AI opponents.


I had the opportunity to get in a race following the presentation, taking on some pre-alpha code that seemed to have all of the basics in place, even if it didn't look too sharp just yet. It's hard to judge on a single run, but the controls seemed tight and the competition was fast and, dare I say, furious.


F1 2011 is set to ship Sept. 23 for PC, home consoles and handhelds, so the team still has a few months to polish things up and get their new game ready to roll. Hood concluded, stating that the team is going for the most authentic F1 experience possible on a console this time around.


"The races will really be about slowly gaining on the car ahead of you," Hood said. "F1 is all about fractions of a second, and our game is about giving you that experience."

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