Previews// F1 2010

Posted 25 Mar 2010 11:10 by
Games: F1 2010
I'll admit it. I'm not very good at racing simulations. Driving games aren't really my forte at all, to be quite honest with you. My race tactic has always been the 'OutRun Approach' – smash the accelerator pedal to go blistering fast, then pump the brake a little into a drift round each corner. That sort of thing would get you killed in an Formula 1 race.

Paul Jeal
Paul Jeal
So playing F1 2010 in a racing chair - using a wheel peripheral and applying pressure to appropriate pedals – was almost like taking driving lessons all over again. In an event set up on the Monza course, I immediately learned how differently a Formula 1 car handles from a normal one. Sure, this discovery was mostly made by spinning out of control every time I tried to turn, but at least I was learning.

Development of F1 2010 also appears to be a learning experience for Codemasters, as it gets to grips with the licenses and reputation that is expected of the sport. But as a company famed for its sublime racing games, it seems fitting that the F1 license would end up with this publisher. It feels right.

While the 2009 Wii and PSP title was its first under the new deal, it will be this 2010 season on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC that will prove Codies' competency with the license. The team must be at odds to make a good impression.

“Yeah, there's always pressure,” agrees Senior Producer Paul Jeal. “There's a bit more than usual as well, because F1 games are done differently to other kinds of racing games we've done before, in terms of handling licenses and obtaining assets for example.” Codemasters' impressive track record is an additional pressure, but above all that is Jeal's desire to make a game that will live up to his own high standards as an F1 fan.

Having said that, the developer feels that it's time for F1 games in general to enjoy something of a modern update. The last licensed game was made by Sony on the PlayStation 3 in 2006, after all. “Internally, we don't think the bar is set that high when it comes to F1 games in the last few years,” Jeal said. “I'm a massive fan of the weather system in some of the games from the late 90s, but in recent times the genre hasn't really reinvented itself too much. We're thinking there's room for improvement.”

When you read the slogan for F1 2010, 'Be The Driver, Live The Life' – I know, it's a tad cringeworthy – it's obvious where the team's focus is going to be. Citing the Create A Pro mode in EA Sports' FIFA games as an example to follow, Codemasters introduces a career mode that aims to really get under the hood of the lifestyle that comes with being a Formula 1 racer.

As you progress through the season, you get press clips of your performances, a paddock and a VIP house to explore, an agent to deal with the media, and a garage to take care of your car. And of course, you'll always have a rivalry with another driver that will vie for the same position as you in each race. That's 'Living The Life', right there, and how you deal with these extra-curricular activities will affect how the virtual world sees you.

The advances in F1 2010 don't stop at a few new modes here and there. The 'Be The Driver' mantra refers to how Codemasters is tackling the art of the race itself – players will have to adapt to different race strategies in an environment that Jeal calls 'Active Track Technology'. Tyres will leave their mark on the tarmac, and driving over the top of the skids will slightly affect your racing line. More effective signs on the wheels involve blisters (tyre damage), punctures and marbles (balls of rubber that peel off the tyres) littering the track.
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Games: F1 2010

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ghoti 25 Mar 2010 15:08
I would have bought this if it had come out at or just before the start of the season. It would appeal to me to follow the F1 calendar and drive the tracks on the actual weekends the real life races happen. I can't really imagine bothering in September, though.

As for using a Natal interface - sod that. It'd definitely make it rubbish.
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