The developers that make up the Codemasters team are known for a certain pedigree of racing quality. They’ve designed driving games with so much authenticity that they’ve practically ascended to their own level of driving nirvana. Much like Grid 2 (in fact, perhaps more so), precision is the key to winning in F1 2013, the newest racing title to come from the studio. And while this game will appeal to the staunchest racing fanatics in all of video games, it’s unwavering dedication to pure Formula One competition may be a little too hardcore for casual fans. But the game wasn’t made for them, anyone, right?
The first thing you’ll notice about F1 2013 is the attention to detail. Tutorials delivered through abundant trials and videos make up the Young Driver Tests, a mode the gets the unprepared prepared for what lies ahead. Checking out different sections of the menu will sometimes activate a short explanation of what to find and where to go for particular racing needs.
An array of modes make up the game, including a Grand Prix mode, a Career mode, an F1 Classics mode, which gives players content from Formula One’s earlier days, and the Scenario sub-mode that lets players relive particular races while being challenged to complete certain tasks. Everything about F1 2013 is about being true to form, in the strictest sense, to deliver the most undiluted racing experience.
This extends to everything else, too. While there are several different camera views, the fan-beloved cockpit view really shines, especially when paired with the game’s lovely sound design, which really completes the you-are-there feeling that most games strive for. For example, when preparing for a race, the first person view is coupled with a sort of dashboard of media in your car, allowing players to customize for any condition and review their stats and options. There’s a nice sense of immersion in the way your pit crew prepares your vehicle, and the way you ride out onto the track before a race. The entire game is full of nice simple touches like that.
And like Grid 2, you often have a member of your team giving you a head’s up while you race, pointing out what he can to make you a more efficient driver. But it’s the actual driving which will change how gamers will perceive and receive this game, since Codemasters’ attention to detail will divide racing fans straight down the middle.
Unlike some of their other games which straddle the line between simulation and arcade, F1 2013 is pure simulation. And for fans of this genre and particular sub-genre, this is a good thing: fans of the F1 series have been clamoring for this level of accuracy and legitimacy, and Codemasters delivered completely. It’s a testament to their ability how well this game handles like a true F1 experience, but it’s also where newcomers may feel a little overwhelmed.
Preparing for F1 2013 was like preparing for an actual race. I’m no rookie when it comes to racing games, though I’ll admit I’m also not a complete veteran; I’ve grown up with arcade-styled racing games and have only dabbled in simulation-racing in recent years. So when I started the Young Driver Tests, I expected to have some hurdles, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome in a few tries. And yet, as I attempted to tackle the tutorials and tests, it became abundantly clear that F1 2013 was not really made for a racer like me. Learning to cut corners like a pro is a harrowing experience, and receiving strict penalties is a little frustrating. But again, this is pure F1, and it’s perfect for fans and veterans.
The F1 sport is unique for the uninitiated, a racing league centered around balancing high speeds and low speeds and extreme precision. I can truly appreciate this in F1 2013, seeing as how the game tries to welcome rookies into their fold with various difficulties which change the amount of assist mechanics that are turned on and whether you”ll have indicators pointing out how to enter into turns correctly and at what speeds. But if you’re looking for a quick session of pure fun, be ready to really study the game and learn its intricacies as much as possible. If you’re really willing to learn something new, F1 2013 is a boot camp prepared to stomp you into a racing soldier, and there’s enough content here to really enjoy yourself once you make it past the training.
With all kinds of races from all around the world, a robust career mode, tournament-styled Grand Prix and mid-season saves, F1 2013 is a fantastic buy for those who really want a true experience and a real challenge. If there’s anything at fault with F1 2013, it’s that it is an extremely-niche title, but if anything, this will only make fans even more appreciative of what Codemasters has to offer. I never knew what KERS or DRS was before I started this game, but now I’m intrigued by the idea of learning as much as I can about F1 racing and being a damn good driver. Perhaps you will be too–just be ready for the pain.
For more on the game, check out all of DualShockers’ F1 2013 news.