Firstly, I have not played an F1 game since 2004 (for PS2) so my review is in no way a comparison to last years game.
Well this is F1 2011 by codemasters. At a glance, the game appears to offer all any F1 fan could want; we have a career mode, grand prix simulation mode, multiplayer and time attack (including some scenarios for you to play out). That brings me to the good points:
Pros -Safety car returns!!! (Rarely makes an appearance though and only you seem to be able to get it out after you have a 200mph collision with another car). -Weather can change during a race (you can start a race in the dry and finish it in the wet simple idea huge benefit for the game) -Introduction of DRS and KERS. (DRS I have never managed to get working in a race yet, this is probably down to my abilities to be fair) -Career mode in an F1 game is new to me and a great feature for any racing game (bit flat and uneventful in fairness but its there and that's important) -Graphics both on track and off are too a high quality.
Cons (and I have a few...) -Qualifying times of opponents very unrealistic (cars out on track when you are on your flying lap seem to put in unbeatable times every now and again and I'm not just talking a few tenths quicker no no... try seconds, worse of it is the drivers doing these super quick laps are often in the worst cars). -Damage is terrible. You would think that after a decade of these games the damage simulation would be alot better than what f1 2011 offers... sadly not. Drive 200 mph into a wall and a wheel will come off... hmmmm not convinced. -Career mode. Yes I love the idea of a career mode but this one seems to have been left hugely underdeveloped, in fact, other than the fact your name is on the side of the car, I fail to see the difference between career and grand prix. -Press conferences. If you are going to put these in a game, at least let them serve a purpose, there is no point in having these in the game as they have no impact on anything at all but if they did influence the game it would be a great little feature. -The 'AI' cars I have yet to see crash out, retire, receive penalties or suffer engine failures. Another reviewer advised me this does occur but once in a blue moon (real life at least one of the above happens per race I would say). -The 'AI' driving style. 'AI' cars cannot overtake for love or money and when they do attempt to pass you 9/10 times you end up colliding with them or braking heavily to avoid doing exactly that allowing another 3 cars to pas you in the process pffftttt. -Frame rate. Probably the biggest issue I have currently is the frame rate. If you notice, on slow corners, after you push the joypad left or right there is a half a second or so delay before the car actually does anything (THIS IS NOT TYRE SLIP AS I WAS ORIGINALLY ADVISED) this is only noticeable on slow corners really but it does effect the gameplay only slightly though.
Gameplay itself is good, cars handle as you would expect an F1 car to handle (twitchy and incredibly quick). Take off the traction control and car becomes rather unstable just like in real life but nearly impossible to drive again this is how I imagine an F1 car to be in real life so no lost marks there.
Overall I still find myself losing countless hours on this game that said I am a racing nut so this was inevitable regardless of the quality of the game. Its a shame that almost 10 years since my last F1 game we are still seeing the same glitches but this game is still a must have for all you racing enthusiasts and if anything a platform to which codemasters can only improve. (I have lots of faith in codemasters games and I look forward to F1 2012.) As always, you have to be a racing fan to truly appreciate this game (or the vast majority of racing games out there), if that is not you this game will have a short lifespan as all racing games seem to (in the same way I could not play fifa for more than 10 minutes as I'm not a footie fan). For those of you who like your comparisons, this game is better than F1 2004 for the PS2 lol (last one I bothered with).
My rating: 77% Recommended (Good, but plenty of room for improvement) Genre: Racing simulator, Motorsport, Racing