The fourth Codemasters Formula 1 game is now upon us, and this is probably the last F1 game we will see on current gen consoles. So grab you helmet and gloves and wait for those 5 red lights to disappear.
As per 2012 the first thing you are required to do before you can have full reign of a F1 car is to participate in the young drivers test at Yas Marina. This covers the basics of cornering, using KERS and DRS as well as wet weather racing. Of course many players already know how to play so if the game finds a save from 2012 you can skip ahead to day 2 of the test.
Day 2 is important as your performance here will determine which teams will offer you a contract for your first drive in your Formula 1 career. You start off with offers from Marussia, Caterham and Toro Rosso. The more gold rated performances you achieve you will start to unlock teams such as Force India, Williams and Sauber.
When you get into the driving seat one of the first things you notice is that the game looks beautiful even for this set of aging consoles. It makes you think what Codies will be able to deliver next year with next-gen hardware?
The loading screens have also had an overhaul. Each one now features stunning high definition photograph of an iconic scene from F1 over the years. Overlaid on this are stats from your in game profile such as distance driven, highest speed, highest G force etc.
It’s not just graphics that give you a sense of sitting in the driver’s seat; the sounds that emanate from the engines really immerse you into the game. Each engine reflects its real life counterpart, so much so that you can tell if it is a Redbull that is approaching you from behind.
On the subject of sound a nice surprise is the fact the Murray Walker graces the game with some commentary when playing in classic mode!
The primary incentive for getting this latest iteration of the series is the games inclusion of F1 Classics. There are two types of classic areas in the game the 1980s and the 1990s. The addition of classics mode allows long time Formula 1 fans to replicate their favorite memories from the past and the amount of content is impressive.
The game this year has been released in two editions. The normal version F1 2013 and F1 2013: Classic Edition. Despite not having the “classic” in the name the normal edition does include the 1980s content. What the Classic Edition gives you is the 1990s content. Normal owners who want to can purchase the 1990s content as additional DLC.
You really feel the sheer power of these cars when throwing them around the track. Especially the tracks from yesteryear which we all know and love such as Brands Hatch and Imola.
The game modes in the game are reminiscent of last year’s game albeit with Champions Mode now returning as Scenarios. So the full list includes, single Grand Prixs, Career, Time Attack, Time Trial and Scenarios. Both the Young Driver Test and Season challenge have fallen under the Career title.
Classic Mode features is own versions of Grand Prix, Time Attack, Time Trial and Scenario Mode which is access in its own menu system. You can easily switch between normal and classic pressing a button on your controller.
Season Challenge is still a fun part of the game allowing players to quickly enjoy races without having to have the full qualifying weekend with practice sessions and all three sets of qualifying.
A new feature that has been added this is one that many people have wanted for a long time. Midsession save as the name suggests allow you to save your current your progress anytime. If you do not have the time to complete 60 or so laps in one sitting you can now save the race halfway through and pick up where you left up whenever you are ready.
F1 2013 is a realistic game, so don’t expect to power through every corner. You will need to learn the ability to pick out a racing line, slow down, and hit the apex and then power out. This can be a steep learning curve for a beginner especially with the improved AI who are now more competent then ever waiting to pounce on the slightest mistake that you make. To help aid new players there are a wide range of driving aids that can be turned on to learn the basic handling of the cars and can be switched off once you become more confident in your ability.
Both online and split screen multiplayer return, but with the welcome change the Codies have scrapped the VIP pass needed to play online. Online multiplayer stays the same as before with 16 users driving with the rest of the grid populated with AI.
Despite the addition of classic cars not much has changed in the core gameplay. If you enjoy 2012 you may ask if it is worth the purchase to get the new content, but only you can decide that. The addition of Midsession saves and the removal of the VIP pass are both great and should have included before this edition but I am glad they are now here.
If you don’t own the previous game then F1 2013 is a complete package offering you everything you could want from a Formula 1 game.