Smooth as ice and twice as deadly.
Codemasters' F1 simulator comes rolling back around with a new 2012 edition of the series. With just a quick run-through on the practice track, cars are explosive and keeps pace with the high energy you would expect from a racing title.
This year, the most important new aspect is the learning curve, especially for beginners. Though I wasn't able to see a demonstration of the "driving test", it was explained to me that this feature will teach players the proper way to control their cars. It was said this feature was added because racing simulator fans wanted to handle the Formula 1 cars as if they were street cars and this is just not entirely the best way to drive.
The attention to detail is fully present as usual. Car damage is displayed accurately, with the wear and tear of the body of the car along with the tires. These physical characteristics are displayed in a few different ways. Driving off course will leave traces of mud and gravel around the tires. Fenders will bend and paint will chip if collisions are made. Gas gauges, tire flatness, suspension balance, suggested times to take a pit stop, and weather conditions are add a touch of realism.
Grand Prix and online mode also return in full form. Online mode will continue to have instant statistic posts of course times for all to see. The option to race alone or with a buddy both have their advantages. Solo driving means you take all the blame and all of the credit depending on how each race goes. Team racing, though, is the more interesting of the two modes. Much like F1 2011, 2012's co-op racing focuses on how well a team does as a unit. Individual performances are still accounted for, but the better each member of a team does, the more points they shall collectively gain toward the final result.
Full Formula 1 licensing is in place and you may notice many of your favorite tracks, as well as authentic cars, from all around the world. The graphics are clear and vibrant, which make it much easier to see and read all of the fine details. I'm sure real formula racers were recorded for sound because in-game car sound effects are spot-on, making it feel as if the player is at a real F1 event. Sometimes I don't even feel it necessary to race; I just sit at the starting gate, holding the emergency brake, revving the engine.
So far all seems well and the Codemaster team is sure to put on another great performance. All engines are a go with a release date sometime mid to late September.