We preview F1 2012: Vroom Vroom

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I find previewing sports games in general pretty difficult as all the normal preview items such as storylines, weapon choices, side quests and the rest just don’t exist. It’s not like I’m going to tell you anything exciting by saying that you can race against Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel or Michael Schumacher in this game as you already know that.

You also know that all the manufacturers are represented and that all the tracks from the Formula 1 2012 season are going to be made available as well. So what do we really have to say?

Well the obvious one is the driving mechanics but with it being a Codemasters title you already know that the mechanics are going to be good and F1 2012 didn’t surprise in anyway as the mechanics and physics are sublime with the feeling of raw power into the corners being expressed perfectly with the slipping of the tyres and the difficulty in slowing down in time.

They’ve also perfectly captured the results when using kers or DRS around a corner… it’s not good.

A quick run through of what I’ve experienced, you start off in career mode as a young driver fighting to get noticed and picked by a team. You select which team you are going to enter the young driving program with and then jet off to Abu Dhabi circuit to be put through a series of challenges. This is basically your tutorial that teaches you how to drive and includes some testing with kers and DRS as well as how to keep your speed through the corners.

Each section can be replayed until perfected and while it starts off really easy, driving in a straight line and stopping, it does end up incredibly difficult and getting a gold medal in the final challenge is something I spent a very long time attempting and failing at.

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After that you are ready to enter the season but unfortunately that part was blocked out for me but I guess we all know what it is going to be.

So then I headed off to a quick race and took my McLaren for a spin in the wet, the change in racing strategy and lines is very impressive in the wet as your grip is markedly less and the amount of spray kicked up by the people in front virtually blinds you if you are in the wrong line.

After that I headed over to the champions challenges which are some of the most entertaining and addictive things I have ever experienced in a racing game. They are perfectly designed for those 15 minutes that you have waiting for the wife to get ready and are all based around previous F1 champions.

The first one you are Kimi Raikkonen’s team  mate and he’s currently in 7th spot with you trailing in 13th. The challenge is to overtake him with 2 1/2 laps to go in the game. You can choose easy mode where the game brakes for you and assists in steering or medium with less help or hard where you are never getting around that corner.

I attempted this challenge more than 40 times and never once caught Kimi, you have to ensure your lines are perfect and that your uses of DRS and kers is spot on else you are either going to fall behind or end up face first in the wall.

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The champions challenge section has 7 different challenges that you will need to unlock against each of the current world champions with each one giving you a solid challenge and access to a new champions challenge, the last one being a race against all 6 of these champions.

This is a great new addition and one that I can see being used as a measuring stick between friends.

The other mode that I saw but wasn’t allowed to play is the F1 2012 Season co-op mode where you and a friend can team up to take on the season together which just sounds like a great idea for solid F1 fans.

But what about the graphics I hear you say?

Well I took the game around to my family braai as my family are all F1 nuts and set it up in the lounge, as my brother-in-law was having a go my nephew walked in, looked at the TV and said “I thought the F1 only started this Sunday again”

Then after a pause… “holy cow is this actually a game?”

In short it looks incredible and every track is instantly recognisable to the hardcore F1 fan as every corner, bend, chicane and hill has been precisely replicated in the game making F1 2012 the most realistic F1 racing game to date.

If you’re an F1 fan this is a day one purchase without a doubt.

As always let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

F1 2012 releases locally on the 21st of September on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC

[Previewed on Xbox 360]

Last Updated: August 31, 2012

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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