Microsoft Xbox 360 (PC, PS3)
ESRB rating: Everyone
Review rating: stars 4
Even though F1 racing sports the most complex road vehicles on the planet, I have never been much of a fan. I'll admit that F1 is more exciting than NASCAR, but so is watching paint dry! It's a good thing that my opinion is in the minority, or else no one would enjoy the accurate racing found in "F1 2012."
This year's high-octane version begins the career mode differently by forcing players to pass the Young Driver's Test, which is basically a tutorial. Series' veterans may find this feature annoying, but newcomers will find it to be very useful. Not only does it teach the basics of high-speed racing but also it stresses subtle nuances like drafting and drag reduction.
After the driving test, players join a small F1 team and begin to work their way up the ladder by participating in 20 races per season. But these aren't just simple races, as promising drivers must undertake practice sessions and then qualify before racing! Figuring out the best vehicle setup and then qualifying can be overwhelming for newcomers, which is why the new Season Challenge is welcome.
Season Challenge offers ten races instead of twenty, as well as the option to skip practice sessions and jump right into the action! This is a great feature for newcomers and players who can only play for short periods of time. Champions mode is also new and pits players against popular drivers in six races that gradually increase in difficulty.
It may seem like nothing new has been added to the actual racing physics, but that's because the improvements are meant to go unnoticed. Vehicle handling is spot-on, steering is more sensitive, and some areas of the track can be wet with rain while others are untouched. As a result, finding the right position on each course is just as important as jockeying for the lead position in the race!
Add fast-paced online multiplayer options to the mix, and "F1 2012" becomes the most realistic racer to date!