The word “immersive” is thrown around a lot when discussing video games. Can the game suspend your disbelief so you accept you are actually in the game? F1 2012 takes things one step further and says, you find the best way for you to play, and we’ll tailor the game around you. In this way, Codemasters has taken its premier racing simulation and turned it into a champion.
First, the game started me out in the Young Drivers Test. This mode demonstrates and instructs how to drive a Formula One car to give you the very basics. This was perfect for me as I am unfamiliar with the international sport and not exactly proficient at driving simulators. The Young Drivers Test confirmed what I already knew, I’m going to need all the driving assistance. Even after the game gives you recommendations, you still have a wide variety of customization to tweak the driving assists to best suit your play style.
After the Young Drivers Test, it was time to enter Career mode. 20 race weekends, each broken down by day: one for practice and get a feel for the road, one for qualifying and a chance to get ahead of the field and lastly one for race day and a shot at victory. This is really where Codemasters shined with the franchise. With all the driving assists on, including brake assist so I wouldn’t end up in every wall, I still felt somewhat competitive, but only into 18th or 19th place. I knew I was handicapped by the driving assists and that the only way to really move up the ranks was to learn the game and wean myself off the assists. While this may seem frustrating (and sometimes it was), I felt encouraged by the game’s insistence on making me a better driver rather than just catering to my desire to win. Codemasters really put the time into making F1 2012 a full and rewarding experience, rather than an instant gratification you’ll immediately forget.
It is said the devil is in the details. Well, let me tell you, this is one beautiful devil. The cars and environments are absolutely gorgeous. From the details of the vehicles themselves to the effects of rubber or gravel flying, Codemasters has captured the racing experience. This is especially true in their approach to scaling. They obviously worked hard to accomplish the right amount of sound effects, visual stimuli and tactile feedback so that when you hit 175 mph in a straightaway – you feel like part of the action.
Overall, Codemasters put out a superior product with F1 2012. The game is visually stunning and does everything right in terms of gameplay and personal progression. If you are a racing sport or simulation enthusiast, you will not be disappointed in picking up F1 2012. While it’s not exactly a downside, this game is serious about its approach and will not appeal to fans of arcade-style racers or to a more casual audience. You can pick up F1 2012 now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.