F1 2013 REVIEW
With a fourth attempt at the F1 series, stagnant rules before major changes next year and no new tracks on the calendar, what can Codemasters do to keep the series fresh?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Oct 17, 2013 14:04 (Oct 17, 2013 14:04)
Written by: Ian
A real classic?
With a fourth attempt at the F1 series, stagnant rules before major changes next year and no new tracks on the calendar, what can Codemasters do to keep the series fresh? This year with "F1 2013", a number of cars and tracks from the 1980s and 1990s have been included – will this tempt past fans in and keep current ones happy?
Maybe I’m the only one with a long memory, but three years ago Codemasters promised a series where you would ‘live the life.’ And the game has never felt further away from that. The menus are bland and functional, the young driver test is just a glorified tutorial, and the career hub is just a series of screens and generic emails that sort of link you between the races. It’s extremely sparse and functional, and at this point, I very much doubt the promise of providing a realistic paddock and surroundings to the racing will ever be fulfilled.
With effectively no rules changes, and no new tracks on the calendar this year, it would have been easy for Codemasters to sit back and churn out an easy sequel. Unfortunately, in some areas, that does seem to be the case. There are no new modes, and many of the returning elements, like the Young Driver Test and Time Attack, are basically unchanged from last year’s game.
There’s new scenarios, and whilst some of them do seem more interesting than before, it’s not exactly a major overhaul or particularly exciting. However, there are plenty of decent gameplay upgrades that more than make up for this. The AI is far superior to before, will get out of your way more sensibly if they are a backmarker, and noticeably more aggressive when going for overtakes. It’s a much better, and more realistic racing experience as a result. The handling has also been refined, and is the most consistent and best model to date. There are a few issues though. Damage is still woeful, and there’s basically no chance of mechanical or tyre failure outside of the scenarios.
The 1980s and 1990s content is a seriously cool idea in principle, featuring classics like the 1986, 1992 and 1996 Constructor’s Championship winning Williams cars, and a number of others from Lotus and Ferrari. However, there are a number of stinkers in there, like the 1988 Williams and 1996 Ferrari, and McLaren, the other long term manufacturer, is entirely missing.
There’s also no Lotus cars from the 1990s (although no great loss there), meaning that races are limited to just 2 unique cars from a year. There’s also some classic tracks, in the form of Jerez and Brands Hatch from the 80s, and Imola and Estoril from the 90s. Most of these are a blast from the past, but Imola is unfortunately the neutered version from the late 90s, changed after the tragic deaths of Senna and Ratzenberger in 1994. So, a cool idea is rendered pretty much ineffective by a lack of cars, odd scenarios, and historical inaccuracies as a result of not getting all of the correct driver licenses.
So, in the first scenario, you end up playing as Alan Jones in his title winning 1980 Williams, but with Alain Prost as your team-mate, trying to hold off 1986 Lotuses at Brands Hatch for three laps. As a result, the mode feels a little bit like a gimmick; a novelty that wears thin after 2-3 hours. I wouldn’t probably pay extra for the ‘classic’ edition unless you were absolutely desperate to drive the mighty FW14B that Nigel Mansell won the 1992 championship with, or Damon Hill’s 1996 title winning Williams FW18.