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F1 2011 E3 2011 Hands-On Preview

F1 2010 was well received last year and was widely regarded as the best Formula 1 racing game since the Geoff Crammond Grand Prix days nearly one decade ago. While F1 2010 succeeded in getting the bread and butter stuff right, there were still areas that had room for improvement and the developers have looked to plug these gaps, listen to community feedback and build upon the strengths of the original.

F1 2011

As would be expected, F1 2011 will feature all of the new updates, tracks and rule changes of the real-life Formula 1 2011 season. That means the inclusion of the short 80BHP boost called KERS, the use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) on straights and finally the contrasting 'Prime' and 'Option' Pirelli tyres . These rule changes have already proved to be an exciting addition to the real F1 season and should also add extra depth and tactics to the game.

F1 2011

Car handling was a strength in F1 2010 and this has been further enhanced to improve realism while remaining accessible for all driving abilities thanks to the diverse range of driving aids available. Graphics have also been improved with greater detail in the tracks, pit garages, paddocks and even the steering wheels. Tyre wear is also now visible which will help the player know when their tyres become shot to pieces. Complete authenticity remains at the heart of F1 2011 and this is certainly looking to be the case. Building upon its predecessor with more feedback on press interviews and new driver reaction cinematics, F1 2011 also features an overhauled AI system so that AI skill and behaviour is more realistic and fairly represented on track.

F1 2011

The main focus in F1 2011 is to “Go Compete” and one welcome new multiplayer mode is the two-player split-screen with a full 24 driver AI grid. This is what we were able to experience hands-on as we played three short races: two against different journalists and another against one of the developers. Racing on the Montreal circuit in Canada the tweaks to the handling were evident as the car felt looser on the track with the cold tyres. The car also felt more free as we danced through the field off the start line using the KERS button. The racing was true wheel-to-wheel but we managed to swerve around an opponent and out brake late in the corners to take another place.

F1 2011

We managed to sweep the other journalists aside in the first two races as they got caught up in minor accidents. This kindly showed off the improved damage model, which now extends to the added potential of having long term mechanical failures should you carelessly knock the car about. In the race against the developer however we were pipped by one position but the gradual learning of the racing line and braking points adds to the satisfaction of putting in laps. The overall drive was a pleasurable one, and although the plethora of changes are all quite subtle, they neatly combined to add to the immersion and create a more enjoyable experience.

F1 2011

Also new is a full online 24 driver grid with up to 16 human players and the balance made up with AI drivers. By far the most exiting prospect however is the online co-op championship. You and a friend can join a team together and race through an entire championship, with the ability to save progress after each race. The potential for this mode is superb – imagine driving together under the same team objectives but competing with a friend to be the number one driver. If the Webber-Vettel partnership of Red Bull is anything to go by then the term 'co-op' here should be used rather loosely.

F1 2011

F1 2011 will clearly take the path of being a yearly released title and the developers admit that having the game released towards the end of the real F1 season isn't ideal. However what is also clear is that this is an exciting time to be a gaming F1 racing fan. The blotches from the first F1 title by Codemasters look to be cleaned out and F1 2011 is set to be a well polished and enjoyable piece of F1 interactive entertainment. Take the drive online when F1 2011 is released on September 23rd 2011 on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, and later on Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita in November.

F1 2011

POBmaestro | 9th June, 2011
Platinum's picture
Looking good, may get this, didn't get chance to really get into F1 2010 sadly

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