Over the recent years Formula One (F1) has really taken off again, with Sky Sports now having their own dedicated channel, great drivers including Great Britain’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and of course for us gamers, F1 has come back to our consoles. Since 2010 that has been the case for us gamers and every year the standard of the game released by Codemasters has improved. Does F1 2013 provide us the same thrill we’ve been expecting or has the brakes began to lock up? Read on to find out.
Once you’ve completed the compulsory Young Drivers test, also known as your introduction to F1 game, you’re greeted with a fresh looking menu screen where you can decide what you fancy doing. If you’ve played F1 2012 you’ll feel straight at home with the options available; namely career mode, season Challenge and individual races. In 2012 you also had Challenge mode where you would face six relatively new champions. This option has been red flagged by Codemasters and instead they have put on some fresh new mode tyres, specifically Classic mode, but more on that later.
While Sebastian Vettel has yet again destroyed the competition and won the world title for the fourth time in a row, the career mode allows you to change that and try and win the title yourself. At the beginning you’ll only get the option to join one of the lower rated teams as you haven’t built a name for yourself yet, something I’m still sitting on the fence for as I’m not too sure if I find that annoying or not. I teamed up with Force India and throughout the career you’ll get to travel to all the F1 circuits on the 2013 calendar. That includes visiting my favourite track of all time the Monaco Grand Prix to the western hemisphere and the American Texas Grand Prix. All the tracks look absolutely stunning and if you had a big enough TV, it’d feel like you are there.
Once you’ve done visiting all the sites, I mean challenging for the World Championship, there are other options available to you including the season challenge. The challenge involved here asks you to choose a rival, and then beat them in a ‘best of three’ races contest. Beat the car, get the car; that’s the aim here, and eventually you’ll move from a back of the field Torro Rosso car to the dizzy heights of Ferrari or Red Bull. Burnt out your tyres in this mode? Then head to the pits (main menu) and you can try the new classic game.
This was extremely interesting as for the first time you can drive as legends Alain Prost and Alan Jones among others. Not only that, but everything including the quality of the graphics has been, for want of a better phrase, taken back a generation or two, but somehow it still looks great. In the three scenarios available and unfortunately yes there are only three, you are able to experience the thrills of that generation. The first scenario puts you in the boiler suit of Gerhard Berger within the Ferrari car and your aim is to finish on the podium. The second requires you to pass all the drivers and finish first ahead of the two Ferrari’s whilst the third scenario requires you to keep the lead and remain first. These races are fun but don’t offer much substance and there is no replay value whatsoever. You can purchase the 1990’s pack if you wished which would also give you some classic tracks to drive around.
Once you’ve swept up the offline competition it’s time to take your skills online and face other drivers who are thinking the same. The Xbox LIVE races are always fun but like every other racing game out there, there is nothing more annoying than someone clipping the rear of your car sending you into an uncontrollable spinning motion with a barrier of tyres the most likely destination. If you have a friend to play with you can also do a co-op championship which will give you plenty to do. This is enjoyable and you can work as a team to win the constructors championship or fight it out for the world championship.
Approaching the final lap Formula One 2013 offers a steady improvement from 2012 however not much more than that. The graphics look great and the gameplay feels smooth and right. That said I think there is plenty more fuel in the tank with this type of game namely a more immersive career mode, perhaps TV commentary and even some fun side games so hopefully Codemasters push those boundaries when they release their next F1 game on the next-generation of consoles. Until that date any F1 gaming fan should have this in their collection to keep the engine ticking over.