My car whip is better than yours.
[Editor's Note: Our prior review for F1 2011 didn't go over so well with some folks, though the humor on Southerners was obvious and intentional. It certainly did not come from a bad place, but we understand that it might have been offensive or just off. We admit that the concept didn't make much sense for a review on F1, which is mainly popular in Europe and Japan. The original writer, Devin Charles, has rewritten the piece at our behest.]
From start to finish, make sure you’re strapped in tight because these aren’t the cars your grandfather used to race. Of course, if he did, you've got one awesome grandpa. F1 2011 brings in a “grind it out” type of simulation. This is not a "press the gas pedal down", “I’m just gonna floor it to victory” kind of game. No, this is a racer where you’re going to play your position, make the right passes, and hope you finish in the Top 15.
With all the team sports and racing games that are around these last few weeks, F1 2011 has jumped into the mix looking to make an impact. The Codemasters team has created another riveting title that is sure to get the crowd watching. This is the same game developer who released Worms: Mayhem and Dirt 3, so you know it has to be good, right? Combing team strategies with racing techniques, the game has an authentic feel. With not too many Formula 1 racing titles on the market, it’s fairly safe to say F1 2011 is one of the best, if not the best, title of its kind.
Online co-op is probably the best feature on board. Partnered up with a buddy, you can race the computer for top spots as well as compete against each other to be your team’s number one racer. We know sharing may be caring, but we all can’t be the best.
In-game sights and sounds have been tuned almost to perfection. While stepping on the gas, braking, and dipping around corners, you get to hear the engine motor roar just like a real racer, that sweet purr of a high-pitched engine revving, nothing but pure sleek muscle. Car detail is at an all-time best as well. Drivers bob and weave their heads throughout the race as the vehicle's suspension and shocks bounce and shift over uneven areas.
Attention to detail is also a huge importance to your success. Not only can you search and study specific race tracks, but modifying and tuning your race car make a major difference. Adjustments can be made throughout the entire car. Let me repeat: The Entire Car—aerodynamics, braking, balance, suspension, gearbox, engine, alignment, the whole works. This is when racing, specifically Formula 1 racing, knowledge comes in handy. Sadly, there’s no in-depth help with how to construct a top racer, so you'll have to do the best you can with what you've got.
Once you’ve spent an hour of allotted time tweaking your vehicle (and preparing for a race you probably won’t win), it’s time to hit the course. Don’t sleep on the computer, either; the A.I. opponents want you to know they can race. Defending corners and making strategic passes are just a few situations you might find yourself in as you battle the computer. Management is key too, as your pit chief helps by giving instructions and important information through your headset (if you have one; if not, just through the TV speakers). He will inform you on things like oncoming cars, when you need to be aggressive, and when it’s time to pit for fresh rubber or more gas.
Turning on or off driving assistance could mean love or hate for this game. For beginners, I’d suggest leaving it on the default settings. For the intense car gamer or someone who wants a challenge, you will be tested with all the settings off. Whatever your desired choice of racing, though, implement them in the modest selection of game modes. Along with career, skills can be tested in Proving Grounds, Grand Prix, or multiplayer.
F1 2011 is full of detail but keeps things simple, a solid racing title across the board. Menus are easy to navigate and the racing jargon is comprehensible. Okay, I did scratch my head for a hot second when seeing "tyre" written out. I thought I was going to have to comment on a typo, but it’s just the Commonwealth Nations’ spelling of "tire". Thanks, Codemasters, for showing me your British ways.