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Best F1 Game for Wheel Owners
on 30 January 2013
F1 2011 has bad graphics on PS3 and F1 2012 has discontinued steering wheel support, probably finding that most people play with controllers. This leaves F1 2010 to those of us who have paid good money for a steering wheel with pedals (as well as a stand to play it on) - in my case the Logitech Driving Force GT.
This game has a steep learning curve, even for those who are generally very good at racing simulators. I cannot imagine playing the game without a wheel but I must say it does hurt my neck muscles after long play.
This is a proper next-gen experience; incredible graphics, the cockpit view is stunningly effective and close to life, rain effects are scarily accurate and so on and so forth. The outside race presentation is also very good with paddock, garage and mobile home.
The gameplay is as realistic as it's possibly going to get for a video game. It makes me realize how fiendishly difficult the sport must be in real life; for instance, there is loads to think about at any one time, especially if you shift gears manually (I actually have to count the gears up and down in my head as I drive, once I've found the right gear for each corner) and avoiding traffic or crashes is hard enough leaving aside the inevitable driving mistake. Then there is the danger of the engine overheating, tyre wear and so on and so forth.
While the game is more laid back for practice and qualifying sessions, racing is very delicate; just as in real life, overtaking is a genuine achievement and incredibly risky with damage and penalties turned on; it is very easy to ram into cars ahead of you so you have to keep your foot ready on that brake pedal at all times and, most importantly, not give in to impatience and the desire to win every race.
In the rain and in cockpit view things get even more tricky; indeed if you follow the trail of a car in front of you your vision will be reduced to next to nothing - in addition, as in real life, it is best to avoid kerbs and you cannot brake and turn at the same time for lack of grip - in wet conditions that is.
In conclusion, this game is the best F1 racing simulator on the market in my opinion, and one of the best racing games on PS3 in my opinion (I've played GT5 and Dirt 2 as well). It is what fans of the sport have been waiting for. However the realism and very steep learning curve do not make this a relaxing or frustration-free game and probably limit its market.
Quite the opposite; the game is frustrating by nature (F1 has to be one of the most frustrating sports in the world) and genuinely quite tiring if you are using a steering wheel and have most driving assists off. But that's what makes this game special; it is in no way dumbed down and has made few sacrifices for the sake of accessibility doing the sport some justice.
Four stars and a half (four for fun, five overall).