For the Codemasters F1 regulars, the headline retrospective feature – the Classic Mode – was well implemented making for a brilliant alternative to the usual racing modes. The rest is business as usual, but that ‘business’ has been so polished for a few years now, that I beg the question, “if it aint broke?”. For those concerned that F1 cannot be done properly, think again, and F1 2013 is the most comprehensive offering in the series.
Developer: Codemasters Racing
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3, PC
If we had to give it a numerical score: 9.5/10
What I liked
- Tried and tested racing physics
- Classic Mode
- In-Session saving ability
Not so much
- Classic Mode career please?
Gameplay and Features
Just to recap in case you haven’t had the pleasure of playing a Codemasters F1 game. The series offers a near perfect compromise between sim-racing and arcade. The proper petrol-head can set the car up and gameplay to deliver more than enough of challenge, while still maintaining that ‘racing magic’ that F1 offers. Unlike F1 games in the past, you won’t just either sit in front of the back of the pack. The Codemasters’ physics ensure that every corner is an occasion and every over-take is worked for. Then on the flip-side, for the more Arcade fan, you can have all the gismos hold your hand around the track so all you need to worry about is the actual racing.
F1 2013’s physics seem mostly unchanged, but the fact that I played last year’s game right through the year, tells me that the physics have been tweaked, albeit seemingly very little. With F1 2013 the steps forward have been in the game mode offerings and a few tweaks and changes – more race info and the ability to save during Sessions to mention a few.
In terms of game modes, for the most part it is similar to last year’s game, but more comprehensive. There’s the career, the seasons, offline and online modes as normal, but then there is the ‘scenario modes’ throughout. You can play through scenarios in both the current and classic modes. As with 2012, the scenarios add proper options to the staple career mode. You can also again jump into seasons, with the difference being that you need to qualify for the various teams from your prologue Young Driver Tests. So you can’t jump straight into the Red Bull for example, which is nice, as it keeps you working for it longer.
This year’s exhibition offering is the Classic mode. I was wondering how it would, or if the Champion’s Mode of 2012 could be topped. I was concerned that the old F1 cars were going to be a handful, and they are, but it seems Codemasters stopped just before that point where the cars become too much for us mere mortals to handle. What makes this mode so interesting is that where modern F1 cars do differ, they relatively learn a majority of things from each other. So with modern cars, for the most part, they feature similar tech – the aerodynamics will be similar, the FIA has also implemented parameters through the years that the teams have to follow. So performance varies, but not as drastic or more correctly – as differently – from car to car as was the case with in the years gone by. With the older cars (from the eighties as standard), they were built very differently from one another. They not only offer different shapes and therefore aerodynamics, but also little things, like speedometers and so on. The Classic cars offer a very different experience from one another, more so than with the modern cars. And I have to say, Codemasters got it spot on. Without the modern gismos and advanced tech, the older cars are in some ways more of a handful than the newer ones, but like I said, it’s like Codemasters made it as difficult or sim-like as they could without being too much, and more importantly, as not to detract from the ‘racing’ aspect. I mean the cars’ backsides kick out coming out the bends, but the lesser horsepower, means with a little adjustment, they are manageable, some more so than others. I absolutely love the Classic Mode, and will keep purchasing add-on DLC for mode cars, drivers and scenarios. The only room for improvement here would’ve been the inclusion of a Season or Career.
Sound and Visuals
The car, the tracks and visuals in general look like that from 2012, which is not a bad thing as the series has been one of the most impressive looking since Codemasters have been making the games. There have been improvements or tweaks though, but 2013 retains the same general, polished presentation.
The sound has always been spectacular too, and this year builds upon that. The only headline here is that we get reacquainted to the wonderful and familiar voice of the legendary Murray Walker, as he introduces the Classic portion of the game.
Visually, F1 2013 is a love letter to all things Formula One. The loading screens are adorned with spectacularly beautiful photographs from days of old to present. There’s some breathtaking captured moments, again, making F1 2013 a real gem!
I don’t think it’s fair to keep saying Codemasters’ F1 games are the best F1 games by default. It’s true, they have no peers, but that sentence implies that if there had been competition, Codemasters might not have come out on top. I believe they would. I have played every single F1 game ever made for consoles, and they all suffered from some sort of compromise. It must be insanely difficult to produce a game where drivers need to pilot the most extreme of racers. The F1 games were either ludicrously difficult when made into full-on simulators, like some of the PC F1 games previously made, or they were too ‘arcade’ like and therefore alienate the proper F1 nut. In my opinion, F1 has never been so well executed before Codemasters got to them.
With F1 2013 Codemasters are now just showboating, and rightfully so. The studio’s first entry into the series introduced us to their gaming-engine and physics, which was warmly received. Codemasters miraculously managed to create an F1 experience that would please simulator fans while not being over-the-top difficult and best of all, the studio managed to encapsulate all that is “racing.” The games in the series have just been refined over the few years, and to a point where the games can start building upon the game offerings, rather that have to “fix” things that were wrong with the previous entries. F1 2013 seems to have had little work done on the technical side, but it’s about the comprehensive game modes where it trounces the previous entries. There are much more proper game modes with 2013, so if you are considering saving a buck to get the much cheaper previous editions, well, you’ll be missing out. And for die-hard F1 fans, the Classic modes make this one a collector’s piece.
Read about our ratings here.