A while ago we speculated on what Codemasters?óÔé¼Ôäó 2009 F1 game will be like. That article has been one of the most popular on this site in the past few days and has loads of comments with people sharing their ideas for what should be in the game.
It?óÔé¼Ôäós clear there?óÔé¼Ôäós a lot of interest in how Codemasters are going to treat the Formula 1 brand when they release their game next year.
To get an idea of what it might be like, I played their most recent title, Race Driver: GRID.
OK let?óÔé¼Ôäós get one thing out of the way to begin with ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ Race Driver: GRID is an arcade-style racer but Codemasters have admitted their F1 game will have both simulator and arcade modes.
That makes sense because although a basic arcade pick-up-and play racer like GRID is fine for casual followers of the sport, more dedicated F1 fans will want a full-on, ultra-realistic driving experience.
I tested out the Xbox 360 version of GRID although, as the 2009 F1 game will be, it is multi-format and is available on PS3 and PC DVD.
GRID is a real mixed bag offering an enormous breath of racing modes: Touring Cars, Formula Three, plus more exotic varieties like drift racing.
In the early stages of the game the sheer number of different racing series available gets a bit bewildering. Especially as, in each race, you?óÔé¼Ôäóre dumped into the car for two or three laps without any practice.
None of this would be a problem if the driving dynamics weren?óÔé¼Ôäót so iffy. Back at the start of this series of games the two original TOCA titles (based on the British Touring Car Championships) had driving models that were accessible but offered a decent challenge and, above all, allowed you to get stuck into wheel-banging racing without worrying about spinning off on every lap.
I don?óÔé¼Ôäót think Race Driver: GRID strikes that balance as well ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ in fact I don?óÔé¼Ôäót think any of the Race Driver games have. Unless you use the difficulty settings to neuter the challenge of driving entirely the unpredictable handling will have you spearing off on every lap.
This really gets in the way of enjoying what?óÔé¼Ôäós good about the game. I can?óÔé¼Ôäót think of many other titles where you can drive a Formula Three car around Spa-Francorchamps.
The graphics are excellent and the track configurations are bang up to date (we can?óÔé¼Ôäót blame Codemasters for the uglification job Hermann Tilke did on Spa) although I thought a lot of the gradient on the tracks had been scaled down ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ Eau Rouge didn?óÔé¼Ôäót look half as steep as it is in real life. Oh, and the fictitious circuits are rubbish.
If you can persevere with the control system the game gets a lot more rewarding as you unlock new racing modes and cars. I liked the fact that your team chief communicates with you by radio during the races and you can even pick a name for him to use ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ unfortunately ?óÔé¼?£Keith?óÔé¼Ôäó wasn?óÔé¼Ôäót an option for I plumped for ?óÔé¼?£Mongoose?óÔé¼Ôäó.
GRID is not going to satisfy an appetite for a vivid, realistic racing experience ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ and it?óÔé¼Ôäós no rival to Gran Turismo 5 or Forza Motorsport 2. But for a quick blast of racing fun, with more racing series on offer than you?óÔé¼Ôäód find in a copy of Autosport, it has a lot to commend it.
F1 Fanatic rating
More on Codemasters’ 2009 F1 game
- Codemasters’ 2009 F1 game wish list
- 2009 F1 game will be sim – Codemasters
- Good news, bad news: Codemasters to make 2009 F1 game
- NASCAR 09 review
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