F1 2013 PC review — A slight tune-up, not a rebuild | PCGamesN

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare system requirements are after your hard drive spacey

Killing Floor celebrates Halloween with evil, demented killer toys and new maps

Londinium's burning in this new Total War: Attila siege battle trailer

F1 2013

F1 2013 PC review — A slight tune-up, not a rebuild

F1 2013 review accident

Sports franchises like Codemasters’ F1 series are almost always caught between dull incrementalism and risky revision. With each new edition, the sales pitch inevitably becomes harder, because with the exception of roster changes and updated performance figures, the core game has little reason to change. But bold strokes are dangerous, because they risk alienating loyal fans and creating more problems than they solve. 

With F1 2013, Codemasters find themselves following in EA’s footsteps, looking to the past as a way out of a somewhat stagnant present. But unlike the historical rosters you find in a typical sports game, racing F1 cars of past seasons actually makes for a profoundly different experience, one that enriches a still-improving, if slightly antiseptic, F1 racing game.

Two things have come into maturity with F1 2013. First, its handling model has found a delicious balance between accessibility and volatility. These cars will still get out of control the moment they get too much power, or put a tire on the grass under braking, but they don’t seem like they are actively trying to shake their driver off like a mechanical bull. They respond to inputs with ferocity, but still recognizably like automobiles. Just incredibly sophisticated, aggressive ones.

The other major change that dovetails with the handling is the much greater granularity Codemasters have added to difficulty settings. From AI settings to brake assist, F1 2013 makes it easy to find the exact right settings for a budding F1 driver to have a rewarding, exciting experience. Where previous years often had massive disparities when it came to these settings, whiplashing players between over-simplicity and merciless difficulty, this year’s version can manage to be instructive, helpful, and thrilling all at the same time.

The assists are so good that, when I was racing in a multiplayer match with a group of PC Gamer writers and editors, it took me a few laps to realize that brake assist had been turned to “low” by the host (don’t worry, you can override this). I didn’t notice because it wasn’t fighting me for control, it was just smoothing out my braking and perhaps adjusting my brake point slightly. Another writer, playing with a gamepad, was able to use the aids to become competitive within a couple races, despite having very little racing sim experience. This is exactly what driver aids should do: help the learning process along without undermining players’ agency.

Faceless driver

There remains something off-putting about some of the art direction and career mode changes that Codemasters made with F1 2012 and continued with 2013. Everything is just a little too clean and impersonal. Menus are slick and clean, with spotless F1 cars parked in the background inside rooms so sterile and cold that only Ron Dennis could love them. There is something faintly Apple-ish about the way F1 2013 looks between races, a techno-narcissist’s dream of fake brushed steel and cool colors.

That’s also the case with the career mode, which has gone from being a nicely personalized “first-person” view of an F1 career in F1 2010 and ‘11 (right down to bland non-answers to reporters) to being a glorified series of performance evaluations and unlocks. There is no sense of there being a real “off-track” existence in the career mode, which actually matters in an F1 game. F1 is a soap opera, with coded messages included in every news clipping. Fernando Alonso never just shoots his mouth off about Ferrari, every “outburst” is calculated. Drivers don’t just get fired or replaced, there are weeks and weeks of tea-leaves to read before that happens.

Login or Register
1
+1
-0
Shriven's picture
1615

One Word:

Complacency.

Same thing is happening with the Football Manager series (has been for years). No challengers for the genre crown and they got lazy.

Like Bain Says to Batman "Victory has defeated you"

Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
Here's what's coming in EVE Online's Phoebe expansion, and beyond

EVE Online

Here's what's coming in EVE Online's Phoebe expansion, and beyond

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare system requirements are after your hard drive spacey

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare system requirements are after your hard drive spacey

Killing Floor celebrates Halloween with evil, demented killer toys and new maps

Killing Floor celebrates Halloween with evil, demented killer toys and new maps

Londinium's burning in this new Total War: Attila siege battle trailer

Londinium's burning in this new Total War: Attila siege battle trailer

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion announced; coming Spring 2015

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion announced; coming Spring 2015

Watch CCP's EVE Vegas event unfold on Twitch right now; find out what's in store for EVE Online

Watch CCP's EVE Vegas event unfold on Twitch right now; find out what's in store for EVE Online

Playing With Myself: Legend of Grimrock 2

Legend of Grimrock 2

Playing With Myself: Legend of Grimrock 2

Dota 2 team Arrow Gaming disqualified from The Summit 2 over match-fixing allegations

Dota 2 team Arrow Gaming disqualified from The Summit 2 over match-fixing allegations

Doughlightful: Bossa Studios announces I am Bread

Doughlightful: Bossa Studios announces I am Bread

Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.4 will bring Shiva, a naked guy and some glasses to Eorzea

Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.4 will bring Shiva, a naked guy and some glasses to Eorzea

Tired of Waiting: Asus gets off Valve Time and announces its console PC, the GR8

Tired of Waiting: Asus gets off Valve Time and announces its console PC, the GR8

Heroes of the Storm celebrates Halloween with the time-honoured tradition of getting new skins

Heroes of the Storm celebrates Halloween with the time-honoured tradition of getting new skins

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault is the single-player campaign you've been waiting for

Company of Heroes 2 - Ardennes Assault

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault is the single-player campaign you've been waiting for

Project CARS has hit a few speed bumps and won't reach the finish line until March 17th

Project CARS has hit a few speed bumps and won't reach the finish line until March 17th

Play Hearthstone and meet Blizzard's Hamilton Chu in Stratford next week

Play Hearthstone and meet Blizzard's Hamilton Chu in Stratford next week

Halo: Spartan Strike trailer promises top-down prometheans and warthogs

Halo: Spartan Strike trailer promises top-down prometheans and warthogs

Ubisoft won't stop PC players from fiddling with The Crew's frame-rate

Ubisoft won't stop PC players from fiddling with The Crew's frame-rate

Minecraft 1.8.1 will improve stability, make the ender dragon killable again

Minecraft 1.8.1 will improve stability, make the ender dragon killable again

Make conversation, not war: Galactic Civilizations III gets diplomacy

Galactic Civilizations® III

Make conversation, not war: Galactic Civilizations III gets diplomacy

AMD to cut 7% of workforce after iffy sales forecast

AMD to cut 7% of workforce after iffy sales forecast

A storm is coming to League of Legends, tease Riot

A storm is coming to League of Legends, tease Riot

Valve fix Team Fortress 2's most powerful exploit: items_game.txt

Valve fix Team Fortress 2's most powerful exploit: items_game.txt

Minecraft Movie lures Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy

Minecraft Movie lures Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy

Blizzard will feed Heroes of the Storm thousands of new players over the next month

Blizzard will feed Heroes of the Storm thousands of new players over the next month