Their are multiple improvements to gameplay, graphics and even new modes, this outshines F1 2011 and F1 2010 in every way. For example:
The game starts with a much needed tutorial or "Young Driver Test", in which they explain the dynamics of a Formula One car, which the former games needed like Will Smith's kids need to stop being in films.
Season Mode which offers a shorter, unorthodox version of Formula One in which you must beat rivals in order to receive contract offers from larger teams. Despite being unlike the normal Formula One season, this proved to be challenging and more fun than a pot of jam and a space hopper combined. There's also a mode called Champions Mode, which I am yet to try, another way to keep the game fresh, as season after season of the same races can get repetitive. It looks pretty good though.
The difficulty settings on the previous game were too easy on 'Easy' or 'Medium' and too hard on 'Hard'. Even playing on medium on F1 2012 does require some practice, and unlike the previous games it's not so easy to get to the front and gain a massive lead in a bottom of the tables car. Whereas in the previous game you could win all of the races of the season in an HRT or Toro Rosso, this time round the AI are a little more competitive and a podium is a struggle in a less competitive car.
On the previous games, it was ridiculous trying to control the car and race on hard mode as the car appeared to have very little downforce, even at high speed, and it felt like the rear wing was open all the time, but the car seems to have a little more traction and makes the game more enjoyable. Seriously, in the last game, the cars had less traction than a greased up Rick Martin moonwalking on a non-stick frying pan. Also, the fact that you have to race using manual gears means you have to learn which gear you need to be in on each corner, however in 2012, they provide a handy little red or green dot to tell you which gear you're supposed to be in. This can be turned off, but is useful and a huge time saver.
The online gameplay is much the same as the previous games, most other players thinking that it's a game of Destruction Derby, which can get a little frustrating and the game hands out race time penalties like the Child Catcher hands out sweets, even if you're not at fault by standard F1 rules. However, they have removed the trophies for having to win 35 games online, replacing it with a "play 'X' online" trophy, which, for those concerned with trophies, is a massive improvement on the grind of F1 2011.
The game also sees an introduction of a new track, Austin, Texas 'The track of the Americas', which is a pretty good track all in all.
More importantly, however it also sees the re-introduction of the Bahrain International Circuit, omitted from the last game thanks to the riots, which is one of my favourites. The track that it is, not the riots.
Brilliant game. Five stars. If you like your F1, buy this game. And a potato. I named mine Kimi.