E3 2010: Codemasters' F1 2010 Hands-On

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Codemasters have secured the rights to create the new series of official Formula One games and have set out to create a game that is very different from their latest titles.

Grid was loved by some and hated by others for its strange driving physics that didn’t agree with everyone. Codemasters hopes to bring their flair to a franchise that has all but faded over the last half-decade, but have they managed to maintain to keep it realistic for the hardcore sims fans as well?

I can summarize my thoughts of Codemasters’ Formula One in one word:

Phenomenal.

Needless to say that I am incredibly impressed with this game, in almost every single way. I played a one lap race of the Spa-Franchorchamps track a couple of times over and also managed to try each time with different weather.

Codemasters have really nailed down a driving physics system that is highly enjoyable to play, and is true to the real cars. The cars feel fast, and you can almost feel the traction and rubber under your tires when steering the car through corners .

In my first race, the track was bone dry and I hammered the car around the track as fast as I could, with a few close calls here and there as I dodged an AI car that had spun out in the middle of a corner.

The second race had rain pouring down from the skies by the bucket load. Some of the best water and camera effects I have ever seen kept my jaw firmly planted to the floor as I cruised around the circuit with water splashing around on the screen, waving in the high speed winds, just as it would on a racing helmet visor.

What really impressed me was the race after that, where the track was dry, but it had been raining just before. I raced around the circuit at first thinking that it was dry, only to find that one major section of the track was still a little wet and had puddles on the track. Once past that section the track dried up again, mimicking real life scenarios that racers would actually face.

The water isn’t just for show either. When racing in the wet, lines will dry up on the track over time after the rain has stopped and the water itself maintains temperature properties that work together with other properties like track temperature. You can actually drive your car off of the racing line in the wet areas of the road to cool down your tires, but beware because if you do it in the wrong places you may just find yourself spinning out.

I am incredibly impressed with Codemasters for what they have achieved. They have somehow managed to create the coolest, most atmospheric and intense Formula One game ever made, but at the same time made it completely accessible to newcomers and as deep and realistic as any sim buff could ever hope for.

The game looks great, plays incredibly well and looks set to put some very large smiles on Formula One fans the world over.

I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the final version of this game.

Last Updated: June 18, 2010

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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