As an amateur at competitive racing games, I assumed that F1 2013 would just be an accelerate and steer racer at a very high speeds. However, after about ten minutes of constantly crashing and having to restart from the beginning of the race I realised that F1 2013 is a such a precise game that requires the perfect amount of finesse, timing and patience in order to achieve highly challenging goals.
What I first noticed about this year’s F1 was the speed and the sound that came with it. With a good speaker system and some well-timed acceleration it sounds absolutely beautiful; the roar of huge engine enough to bring out the petrol-head within any enthusiastic gamer. As you pick up some seriously high speeds the screen blur and precision of movement when you move your thumb even a millimetre is really noticeable, this precision is something that I absolutely loved throughout the game, be it going from 180mph down to 30 on a hairpin turn or just cruising through a series of tight bends to find yourself on the straight and narrow with your rival in sight, you always feel in control of the vehicle and literally in the driving seat. What’s even better is that the weather, tyre quality and tyre type really make a difference when it comes to cornering and whether or not to hit top speed. When the course is soaking wet you really have to change your driving tactics, limit the aggression and be defensive. This realism makes the game that little bit better than other racers and works very well to add new challenges.
“F1 2013 is a great game to pour hours into through a long Grand Prix, but it lacks any sort of character to make it a truly memorable racing experience.”
F1 2013 includes a challenge based tutorial called the Young Driver’s Test, teaching you the ins and outs of high-speed racing over two days in Abu Dhabi. I found this quite grating and uninteresting to play but it taught me the essentials. I felt that the tutorial was far too long and definitely should have been condensed or at least spread throughout some short Grand Prixs.
Following this comes career mode which is a real blast, but nothing game changing. You create a racer and go through GPs trying to become the best, either by winning races or overcoming adverse conditions to be placed with enough points to clinch victory. Players can also step into the shoes of famous racers such as Lewis Hamilton in Grand Prix mode and play out the 2013 F1 season or create and follow a season that best suits the individual. I really enjoyed this mode as it gave me the chance to mix and match the 20 circuits available and to remove some of the circuits that weren’t as lively as expected. The circuits themselves look really fresh and sharp, but aren’t that noticeable when you are churning out 180mph down the straight. Unfortunately the player animations are just plain boring. I saw far too many pathetic fist pumps in the remarkably long loading times between races.
A great way to extend the life of F1 if you aren’t one for career mode is the amazing Scenario Mode. This gives you different challenges to complete; from winning the race with time penalties or racing in incredibly harsh conditions with the wrong tyres. There is also multi-player mode which is a 16-player online Grand Prix that is great fun to play with friends or strangers alike.
By far the best but also the most disappointing addition to F1 2013 is the Classic Mode in which you are given five classic vehicles from the 80s and ten drivers to handle them. These cars aren’t high tech so you can see just a classic accelerometer instead of a HUD display that you get with some new cars. The classic cars feel completely different to the current generation of racers; you really have to be controlled and steer hard and early to make it round most corners. The Classic Mode has everything that the normal F1 game has but just very toned down content-wise. It’s a real edge of the seat experience but it quickly become stale and even somewhat boring. With only two courses to pick from and no real classic battles like Hunt Vs Lauda, the Classic Mode just feels like a unfinished expansion pack to F1 2013, when in reality if enough time and effort were to be put into it could be a great stand alone game; celebrating the old but gold moments of F1.
F1 2013 is a great game to pour hours into through a long Grand Prix, but it lacks any sort of character to make it a truly memorable racing experience. The realism is amazing and you really do feel like you are driving an F1 car, pushing hard out of corners and using finesse learnt from hours of painstaking failure. Unfortunately the Classic Mode that had so much potential is wasted and a real let down for F1 fans who were sold on the game because of the classic cars and racers included. Players will be very satisfied with the main content of F1 2013 and the lack of a meaty Classic Mode doesn’t detract so much as to not purchase the game as there is so much else to do once you are in the driver’s seat.