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F1 2010 Gamescom 2010 Hands-On Preview

There have been many F1 titles over the past decade but none have particularly shone through the license with quality gameplay mechanics since the Geoff Crammond Grand Prix series at the turn of the Millennium. The developers giving the F1 2010 presentation explained their passion for the sport as a whole and why they have delayed releasing F1 2010 by a year to do the game, and indeed the glittering sport itself, justice.

F1 2010

So not only are Codemasters looking to create an authentic racing experience, but an entire driver career too, with the mantra "be the driver, live the life". While the racing element remains fundamental to F1 2010's core gameplay, Codemasters are trying to incorporate almost every single aspect of a driver's career, all be-it without the Monte Carlo lifestyle. This is done through what looks like a smart 3D menu, with the different menus shown around the team paddock. Outside of the racing itself you will need to deal with diverse media interviews that will grow in number and intensity the more successful you become. Your answers will have consequences for the team, but you do have an agent to keep you in check and sort out contract negotiations.

F1 2010

Objectives will change throughout a championship but they will vary for the different teams. Play as Ferrari and the team will expect nothing less than a win, whereas team Lotus will be thrilled to obtain a single point. Should you continually beat your team-mate then you can expect to become lead driver and be on the receiving end of some handy benefits, including advising which research and development car upgrades you would like throughout the year to suit your driving style.

If we steer away from these game features for a moment and focus on the graphics, then we can see a great looking and solid engine. An advanced weather system should not only provide some pretty visual effects, but it will add to a race strategy, as some parts of the track will go from dry to wet and vice versa at varying rates. The track will also gain grip over the course of the racing weekend and rubber from the tyres will form a 'dirty line'. The AI is also said to race and compete like a human being; for example AI opponents should weave in and out of your slip stream for an overtake manoeuvre or take a defensive line into a corner if challenged.

F1 2010

Striking a balance between authenticity and accessibility is a difficult undertaking, and unfortunately the results of this won't be known until a full play-test can be carried out. The signs are promising though, with a race engineer on hand to set-up the car for you each race and provide advice and feedback directly to you mid-race if and when needed. Should you get a grasp of the basics then you can finely tune the car settings should you feel confident to do so, and there is also an option to dial-up rev levels and wing balance mid-race for the more ambitious driver.

F1 2010 

There are of course game modes other than playing through a career. A time trial mode lets you play a track either alone or by taking turns with friends using a single controller, and a Grand Prix mode is on hand should you wish to race a custom season without the added lifestyle choices. In terms of online multiplayer you can jump into a quick race or play a longer endurance race with online qualifying and pit stops. You will also be able to host a game online and customise a championship whilst also being able to finely tailor the settings. 

This all sounds promising but I still wouldn't want to splash the cash on a title like F1 2010 if the actual racing itself was dull and the handling model was not up to scratch. I will admit it is hard to form accurate conclusions from a 30 minute play-test whilst lying inside a shell of an F1 car using pedals and a steering wheel, but I came away feeling suitably impressed.

F1 2010 

My first attempt at a race was at Silverstone in the wet using manual gears, in a Lotus. Perhaps not the easiest way to start but at least I was able to test the damage model, which pleasantly met my expectations. Next I tried a dry Catalunya track which allowed me to test the handling characteristics at full throttle. The car felt like what I'd expect from a Formula 1 car and the other drivers had a physical presence on track. I did find it hard to complete a competitive lap but it was appealing to put in lap after lap to learn the track and keep improving my time, until the time came for a multiplayer race. At the time there was only one other journalist to race, but I took a Red Bull up against his Ferrari in a three lap race in the streets of Monaco.

F1 2010 

This was a good showcase of different driving styles, as my aggressive attacking style was pitted against his slow but surely mentality. It is notoriously difficult to overtake on this track and he held first place from his initial grid position until the second right hander, at which point I made a move up the inside. This would have been fine had I not overpowered the revs on the exit and agonisingly spun 180 degrees. I soon caught him up with him again but made the same mistake again on the second lap. I caught up with him for a third time and made myself known with some gentle nudges, which resulted in me getting a warning flag, with the next steps being a penalty. I then made my move during the final lap on the downhill hairpin and finally took and held position having learnt from my previous mistakes.

F1 2010

While my experience was short and sweet I believe that F1 2010 finally looks set to nail the F1 market. Whether non-F1 fans will be able to gain a similar level of enjoyment remains to be seen, but Codemasters are trying everything in their power to introduce newcomers to the sport whilst satisfying hardcore F1 followers. F1 2010 the game is due to be released in Europe on September 24th.

POBmaestro | 21st August, 2010
Platinum's picture
My **** is now sore
Rasher's picture
A trailer been added to the preview now (see preview page)

also here is one of the new Dev Trailers for F1 2010

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