From the get go I was blown away by the visuals which make use of the impressive Ego engine which was used in last year’s version. From the cockpit to the cheering fans, the vast amount of detail really shows the work put into this game. Couple this with the roar of the engines and you will find yourself completely immersed in the F1 universe.
I would consider myself a capable driver as far as games go but the learning curve in F1 2011 is immense. Unlike most racing games it’s not simply a matter of getting round the track as fast as you can, without any disregard for your fellow AI. This is a race of skill and strategy which, to be honest, takes some getting used to. My first race consisted of me trying to run my opponents off the road, cut corners and just about every other underhanded trick you can think of. The game awarded me with a Trophy which stated I would prefer Dirt3.
I persevered and focused on racing the right way and found that mindless mayhem and crashes are fun but outsmarting a computer at a game of 220 mile per hour chess feels infinitely more rewarding.
As you progress through the game, you will find that skill can only account for so much and that the car you start off in won’t win you any titles. Depressing for underdog I know, but this does stick to real life rules. It also stops players starting off in the Ferrari or red bull camp and taking the championship first time. You have to work from the ground up earning rep points which makes you more attractive to bigger and better car companies.
The driving itself is one of the most authentic experiences I have ever had. The Improved Physics engine allows you to feel the weight of the car and helps anticipate slides and drifting. This engine has allowed the creation of a game where the choice of tires and slightest amount of water completely change the way you drive.
The damage system captures the fragile nature of these machines. If you happen to drive off-road one too many times your tire will puncture and you will crash or spin. If you do enter into a collision and happen to be unlucky enough to damage or lose your front wing, you will lose a staggering amount of aerodynamic grip.
F1 2011 is the perfect racing simulator and has improved on last year’s version an incalculable amount. The game is part of a niche though, which won’t appeal to everyone. If you do like formula one or are just a fan of beautiful looking racing games, then this is defiantly for you.