The very first review I ever wrote on Amazon was a couple of months ago for Dirt 3 - I just had to write in to tell everyone why Dirt 3 was so bad in so many ways. Today I'm moved to write a second review - of another codemasters game - but this time to rave about F1 2011; the game that beat my every expectation. Do yourself a favour, stop reading this and just buy it - you won't be disappointed!
Alright, lets give this game a full breakdown. Unlike Dirt 3, F1 2011 opens with a terrific introduction sequence which really heighens the players enthusiasm for the game. The menus are basic to begin with, but functional, and unlike Dirt 3 they don't detract from the experience. There are only 4 options: single player, multiplayer, proving grounds (time trials etc) and the options. The single player career mode is so much more thought-out than Dirt 3, and the player really does get the sense of starting from the bottom - to rise majestically as a champ only after showing a significant degree of talent. The cars on 'Easy' mode are not exactly a push over, and choosing 'intermediate' or higher opponent intelligence means the player is in for a very tough time. This is in contrast to Dirt 3 - which was very easy in all modes except the very hardest. The player gets to tune the car with a simple slider, or they can tweek the car and fine tune it to perfection in the hope of gaining that bit more of an edge.
The player is then able to drive out onto the track - and at this point the heart rate goes up higher than any other game I have ever played. I chose to play using the 'Cockpit' view - which is very rare for me as I tend to use the bumper camera on all my other games - and I never use the 'Chase' view. As such, I was pleasantly surprised by the detail in the cockpit, all the buttons and readouts are faithfully repoduced, and even the angle at which the drivers sits is absolutely authentic - and really gives the driver a sense of what it must be like to drive a Formula One car. I could almost hear Paul DiResta saying "...and you can't always see where you're going because the gloves get in the way. Sometimes you have to turn the wheel and hope the road stays underneith you, because you can't always see it..." - and this sums up the cockpit view perfectly!
The graphics are superb in their every detail, the sounds are immaculate to the extreme, the weather effects are simply magnificent, the speed is palpable and ultra smooth, and everything else comes together perfectly. Using an Xbox steering wheel, the player gets to feel every lump of gravel, every blade of grass, and even the way the tires start off cold can be felt in absolute detail - giving the player unparallelled control. Overall, the handling and feel of the car (with an xbox wheel) is staggering! - sooo much better than Dirt 3.
When the race is over, the player gets a very impressive victory animation, and this really does give the driver a terrific sense of acheivement (again, unlike Dirt 3), and you even get to be interviewed by the press. A champagne drenched podium is the only noticable ommission, but the victory animation more than makes up for that. It will take several seasons before the player gets to fight for survival in the very best cars, but even so, it is always possible to beat the other drivers with grit determination (and no mistakes!) using just about any car.
I played this for the first time several days ago and I must say my overall impression was MIND BLOWING! I was so blown away by this title that I could still feel my head hurting several days after. My breath was literally taken away - rendering anything beyond blasphemous exclamatory expletives all but impossible.
Some people have commented that this is only for F1 fans who have a good knowledge of the sport. That is often used as a critisism; but to be honest, the level of difficulty in F1 2011 and the depth of the F1 experience appears to have been coded absolutely flawlessly. Unlike Dirt 3, this is a big-boys game. There is no hand-holding, no 'driving school', no stunts or other silly things like that, just pure, frenzied, exhilerating F1 action! Highly recommended!!!
Presentaion = 8
Playability = 10
Sound = 10
Graphics = 10
Value for money = 10
Longevity = 10