F1 2010 – the F1 Fanatic review

F1 reviewsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

F1 2010, Codemasters’ official Formula 1 game, has finally arrived four years after the last licensed F1 title for major formats.

Appearing on the shelves as the most exciting F1 season in years heads for a thrilling conclusion, does the game give F1 fans the gaming experience they’ve been missing for years?

Behind the wheel

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

Not since the famed “Grand Prix” series by Geoff Crammond has an up-to-date Formula 1 game had an even halfway decent physics model. The previous generation of games, restricted to the Playstation only, were relatively easy to pick your way through providing you could point the car in the right direction.

F1 2010 is not a hardcore simulation in the rFactor/iRacing mould, but there is a impressive degree of realism in how the cars behave.

For example, it’s easy to spot the different in sensation between the option and prime tyres, or driving with full and empty fuel tanks. At slow tracks your car feels smothered in downforce. Trim the wings at Monza and it’s a different beast entirely – lightning acceleration but twitchy in the corners.

All of this assumes you play the game on ‘hard’ or ‘expert’ mode. Turn the difficulty setting down any lower than that and you’ll win with little difficulty even if you don’t know Eau Rouge from Rascasse. You’ll also completely miss out on the game at its best.

There are subtle differences in how the cars handle, too. As you’d expect, the Red Bull is quite forgiving to drive, HRT’s F110 less so.

There’s an array of settings for making the driving experience more or less difficult, some of which are essential if you use a gamepad instead of a steering wheel and pedals. See the F1 2010 checklist for details.


The car physics is tied into deeply impressive models for weather and grip. As in real life, the surface of the track is constantly evolving.

At the start of a practice session the track feels slippery, then as the rubber builds up it offers more grip. The effect is even more pronounced at non-permanent tracks like Monaco and Singapore.

The weather, too, is ever-changing. Drops of rain quickly send the cars scurrying into the pits en masse for faithfully-recreated intermediate and wet tyres.

The water effects are truly stunning. Racing in heavy rain is an intense experience which shows off “F1 2010” at its best. Clouds of spray from cars up ahead blur your vision, forcing you to duck out of their slipstream to get a clear view ahead.

And when the rain eases off it’s up to you to gamble on intermediates or slicks. In the meantime you can prolong the life of your tyres by hunting out the still-damp sections of track away from the dry racing line.

Race weekend

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

You can dive straight into a race with a randomly-assigned grid position, do an abbreviated race weekend (60 minute practice, 20 minute qualifying and a race of variable length) or the full monty: three practice sessions, three-part qualifying and full race.

The entire weekend happens from the point of view of your garage. When you’re not on track the mechanics busy themselves with your car while you thumb through the timing screens, check your tyre allocations and have a peek at what your team mate is up to.

You can fiddle away with the set-up, either using one of seven presets suggested by your race engineer or by diving in to the more detailed options and working out wing angles, gear ratios, camber and the rest for yourself (see the checklist for more).

In practice and qualifying you can fast-forward through lulls in the action but you’ll lose precious minutes on the track if you prang your car and it needs repairing.

As is the case everywhere in the game, Codemasters have paid close attention to getting the little details right. Such as the order the cars appear on-track in practice: the smaller teams go out first, using up every precious moment of testing time, while the big guns sit back waiting for the track surface to improve.


"F1 2010" by Codemasters

There’s not much of a challenge in getting away from the line quickly in “F1 2010”, which is a bit of a disappointment. However, Codemasters have addressed that typical racing game bugbear of being able to out-brake all the cars at the first corner. Rival drivers use the full width of the track so that even on the easiest modes it’s hard to gain a dozen places at once.

The negative aerodynamic effect of running closely behind a rival has clearly been toned down in the interests of producing a more exciting game. That allows you to test the artificial intelligence of your computer-controlled rivals, which is often impressive when it comes to racing for position.

As you move closer to them they move off-line to defend. Sometimes they seem a little too keen to block, with cars moving off-line far too soon when they’re in no immediate danger. A bit like Giancarlo Fisichella at Suzuka five years ago…

At other times the AI is less successful. In some instances your computer rivals appear rather dumb, queueing up behind you instead of diving past when you pull back onto the track after a spin. Brake-test a rival at 200mph and they’ll miraculously get on the brakes in time instead of having a Mark Webber-sized shunt.

If you run into the back of a rival you’ll often get slapped with a drive-through or time penalty. Do it too many times and you’ll be disqualified.

However the “F1 2010” stewards seem less concerned about you pushing a driver who’s alongside your car off the track or into a wall (a la Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in Hungary).

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

Corner cutting is penalised too, so you won’t get away with cheating the exit kerbs at Hockenheim turn one or Istanbul turn nine, for example.

The game’s generally impressive attention to detail lapses somewhat when it comes to your race engineer. Simply put, there’s no shutting him up. You might be wrestling with the car at Spa in the rain when he starts waffling on about your engine temperature or, worst of all, points out that the track is wet, as if you hadn’t noticed.

You can mute him at the risk of missing his rare useful comments, such as when a yellow flag has been deployed or when you’re due a pit stop. But there are omissions too: switch to wet tyres during a dry race and he raises no objections, nor does he let you know how many of the cars in front of you are yet to make a pit stop.

You can also make adjustments at the wheel, tweaking your front wing angles and turning your engine up or down as needed. Running in the hot air of another car for too long can over-stress it and although reliability failures are not simulated a tired engine will be less powerful.

Pit stops are modelled – both mandatory and optional. You can select auto-pilot for pit stops or you can take control yourself and mow down your mechanics Kubica-style and cop a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

What strikes you most about the race mode is how it gives a much better impression of being in a real race than other games do. The crowd is bigger than on Friday or Saturday and you can hear the sound of other cars on nearby sections of the track.

Computer cars have races of their own and occasionally spin off, bringing out the yellow flags. If you’re at the back of the field being lapped you’ll be shown blue flags telling you to move over. As with the yellow flags, failing to obey them leads to a penalty.

Your F1 career

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

Career mode is where the game really comes together, giving you the ability to start with one of the three new teams for 2010 and work your way up into a top team.

Again, the experience is better if you commit to one of the more challenging difficulty levels. On medium level you can win easily in any car (I’ve just scooped the drivers’ championship with Virgin) but on the harder modes you have to focus on beating your team mate and hitting the targets set by your team.

The practice sessions take on a new dimension as the team brings upgrades to the car. Successfully beat a set lap time in practice and the performance boost is yours.

You are set targets for qualifying and the race, and the team are always keeping an eye on which of their two drivers are ahead. Fail to beat your team mate and he’ll get the upgrades instead of you.

As in real life, you need to keep on top of your engine allocation (not too difficult given you can’t blow them) and you have a limited number of tyres per weekend.

You have the usual career mode choices as different teams offer you contracts. On top of that are the “live the life” aspects of the game, where you are quizzed by reporters and your answers, along with your race performances, have a bearing on your future. In the early stages the press conference questions are very repetitive, but it improves as you get further into the season.


"F1 2010" by Codemasters

You’ve got a full set of 2010 cars and tracks to play with, including the new Korean Grand Prix circuit which looks rather better in the game than the glimpse of it we had a few weeks ago. Still you have to wonder how accurately they can represent a track that hasn’t held a single race yet.

The car models are from the start of the season so there are several current details missing. For example, Mercedes haven’t got their distinctive split engine air intake and ‘blade’ roll hoop. The performance updates earned during career mode don’t seem to have a visible affect on the cars.

The same goes for the liveries. For example, the HRTs have their early-season livery on with white stripes. Nor do ‘Bruno’ and ‘Karun’ appear on the sidepods, just the HRT logo. Despite these omissions the quality of the liveries themselves is brilliant.

The simulation of Monaco – always a challenge for an F1 game – is excellent. Bristling with detail, it’s narrow enough to give you claustrophobia and so undulating that, from the cockpit view, at times it’s hard to see what piece of track you’re aiming for. A wall-brushing hot lap around here is something to be proud of.

The Singapore night and Abu Dhabi sunset races are present and correct – the light transitions at Yas Marina are especially impressive. The updated Silverstone and Bahrain tracks are there too, the latter complete with that hideous stretch of extra tarmac that has thankfully been deleted for 2011.

Given the quality of the graphics it’s a shame the replay feature deprives you of the opportunity to truly enjoy them. You can’t cycle through other cars to see what happened elsewhere in the race and the external camera angles aren’t very good.


"F1 2010" by Codemasters

By Codemasters’ own admission the damage model in “F1 2010” leaves something to be desired.

Breakages are limited to the wings and wheels. Degrees of damage are simulated too – for example, you can knock an front end plate off but continue racing, turning up the wing angles to counter the understeer.

Lose the front wing entirely and the car refuses to turn at high speeds, which I discovered with spectacular consequences in the Monaco tunnel. The effect is toned down considerably in the easier difficulty settings.

But you need a very hefty blow to cause race-ending damage. I see Lewis Hamilton played “F1 2010” before racing at Monza last week. Perhaps that’s why he thought he’d get away with his first-lap contact with Felipe Massa.


"F1 2010" by Codemasters

Codemasters have said there are no plans to release a patch or download-able content for “F1 2010”.

This is a pity, as there are obvious avenues for expansion and improvement – driver moves, model and graphic updates for cars and tracks, and so on. Not least of which cutting 80% of what your race engineer comes out with.

Although the game seems to have had a thorough bug-testing there are a couple of glitches. Notably turn 19 at Valencia, where the computer cars slow down far too much.

Some of the drivers’ performances could so with a tweak as well. If Vitaly Petrov and Vitantonio Liuzzi performed as well in real life as they do in this game there wouldn’t be quite so many rumours about who will be driving their cars next year.


"F1 2010" by Codemasters

When it comes to F1 games you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Economics demands the game appeal to as broad an audience as possible, so it can’t be overly taxing. But F1 fans and dedicated gamers want a challenging, authentic game with lasting replay value.

“F1 2010” goes a long way towards meeting those conflicting needs.

Rendered in high-definition with the best wet-weather effects I’ve ever seen in a racing game “F1 2010” almost looks better than the real thing on a decent television.

The developers have paid close attention to the rule book and crafted a game that observes F1’s complicated and ever-changing regulations, yet presents them in a manner that creates an entertaining game.

It’s high time we saw official F1 titles expanded to include earlier seasons and support races but licence restrictions mean it is up to FOM whether we ever see that.

Improved damage modelling and further refinements to the artificial intelligence must be top of the list for areas to receive attention for “F1 2011”, along with race suspensions and stoppages. These are what keep the game from a top score.

F1 has gone far too long without an official game of any kind, and even longer without a good one. Codemasters have remedied that with a game that should appeal to as wide a mix of casual players, hardcore gamers and dedicated F1 fans as is possible.

F1 Fanatic rating

Have you bought “F1 2010”? What did you think of it?

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“F1 2010” by Codemasters

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146 comments on “F1 2010 – the F1 Fanatic review”

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  1. This is interesting – although I don’t have the game and won’t be able to get it until December at the earliest I’ve been following it on a few other forums and a lot of the reactions have been at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Some people have found it incredibly challenging, unable to get within a second of the AI cars. Others find it ridiculously easy, able to out-qualify the grid by five seconds in a Virgin. Still others have decided it is too arcadey (after two laps of Bahrain) whilst others are hailing it as the best Formula 1 game since Geoff Crammonds’ GP4.

    How can one game have so many varied reactions? not even the major retcon in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots drew this kind of polarising response.

    1. There’s a quite a difference between the difficulty modes. On medium, using a gamepad, with traction control on, I find it very easy – but then I have played a few racing games in my time.

      Turn up the difficulty and turn off the drivers aids and there’s a lot more to it.

      But there is a hair-shirt brigade who will want it to be incredibly difficult, to the point of being unrealistically hard to drive, who will take pride in saying “it’s too easy” etc…

      1. how is it on the pad? i have pc with a pad and obviously a keyboard and wonder if i will be able to play normally and don’t have to buy a wheel

        1. I’ve heard that if you don’t have a steering wheel, it’s certainly playable … but you’ll be missing out on a hell of a lot. The problem is that good wheels will set you back a lot – Logitech (pretty much the only brand worth buying) retails for AUS$550 …

          1. Actually it’s pretty easy to scout deals on ebay. I got a logitech momo for $60, shipping and all. Perfect condition, been working fantastic.

          2. There is the Logitech MOMO, which is not very expensive, and should be good for most open wheel racers.

            For other car types however, the small wheel rotation (240 degrees, as far as I remember) makes it pretty bad.

            BTW, does anybody know the rotation of a F1 steering wheel? I think that I remember something around 400 degrees, but I’m not sure.

          3. I don’t have the money or space for a wheel and with most games I can excel with just a pad. With this though I get the feeling that a wheel would massively improve the gaming experience.

          4. Scour ebay and you can find some very good deals on wheels. I got a logitech momo for $60, shipping and everything, in great condition. Had it for about 4-5 months and it’s been working great the whole time.

          5. The Logitech Driving Force GT (DFGT) is pretty cheap, I got mine for AU$100.

            It says it is a Playstation3 wheel but it works fine with a PC. I have only ever used it on a PC, with iRacing and GTR2. Tis great cheap option, tho the Pedals are mediocre at best.

          6. I’m using the Microsoft Xbox360 Wheel and Pedals, and it feels pretty good, probably better than it does with Forza. You can adjust a bunch of wheel settings in the game. I’ve only messed around with the force feedback settings, and it makes a noticeable difference.

            Ideally I’d love to get a Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo Wheel and Clubsport pedal set which works with Xbox, Playstation and PC, but in Australia it’s prohibitively expensive. About $800 AUD, if the distributors even have any in stock. For peeps in the USA it’s $400 USD, which is about $420 AUD.

        2. It’s not worth playing with a pad, but nor is any driving game as far as I’m concerned.

          1. I have a wheel, but on Codemasters GRID it was next to useless. Depends how grippy the cars feel as to whether it works or not. I’ll let you know when the game arrives!

          2. My wheel was not recognised on Grid, makes me worry…

          3. I’ve never used a wheel before on the Playstation, but have played tons of racing games, don’t tell me I’ve missed a whole dimension of experience :O

          4. keith.. have you tried the Ferrari virtual academy ?.. how would yo compare it to this. ?

    2. Every official review I read of MGS4 said it was brilliant, but by the time I finished the game I seriously questioned whether they had actually played the game through. Ever since MGS4 I have had my misgivings about the game reviewers, they just pander to the game-industry, it’s why I’ll trust Keith’s review more than anyone else’s. MGS4 was over-hyped and crap, end of story.

      1. That’s … not really my point. What I mean is that MGS4 was pretty polarising. I, personally, didn’t much like the thing about Big Boss being alive, though I could understand why it worked within the story, because we never actually saw Big Boss’s body and we only ever had the word of unrealiable characters that he was dead in the first place. Every other twist – Zero being the head of the Patriots, Liquid Ocelot being Ocelot brainwashing himself into believing he was Liquid, etc. – met with other degrees of reception from lukewarm to clever to ignoring continuity (I’m thinking the final lines of Sons of Liberty here).

        My point in all of this is that while Guns of the Patriots was a fairly polarising game, particularly in the story department (Hideo Kojima’s dialogue is only marginally better than the stuff pumped out by George Lucas), it was dividing fans fairly well. But it’s nothing compared to F1 2010. It’s almost as if there are two versions out there: one insanely easy, the other fantastically difficult. And I’m at a loss to explain how one game can divide fans so much. I have been looking forward to it and was intending on buying it once I get a new computer, but the reactions to it have muted my enthusiasm, and I’ve never really liked games with a date on them because they age quickly. F1 2010 will soon be superseded by F1 2011, which in turn will be upstaged by F1 2012.

        1. Sorry, I just get angry at the games industry sometimes. To be fair to games with years on them, a yearly release does make games age very quickly, but I reckon that it allows for a game to clearly evolve year on year. Look at the Fight Night series, where a game every 4 years can have a completely different feel and quality to the previous. Compare that to FIFA where the franchise evolves and improves largely thanks to year after year feedback.

          ps: love the jibe at Lucas ;)

        2. It’s probably because F1 2010 has two very distinct audiences: F1 fans who aren’t gamers (me) and those that are (Keith perhaps). Then there are also gamers who might not be F1 fans who probably aren’t concerned about the details of engine blow outs and safety car deployment. So for people like me, I can see the Medium settings being a challenge, but for experienced gamers it will probably be really easy.

          1. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer. Too busy writing F1 Fanatic!

    3. It most likely comes down to the gamers experiance.

      Some one who has only played the mainstream “arcade” racing games will have a completely different response to some one who races in online leagues every night in rFactor.

      What I’m most disgusted about is how they left out such an important F1 feature. F-Ducts..

      1. According to the game makers the existence of the F-duct on some cars is simulated – i.e., they have better straight-line speed. But driver operation of them isn’t.

        They said part of the reason is because they were running out of buttons on the Xbox and PS3 controllers to map to different controls. Looking at the manual I see what they mean – they would have had to remove some other element of the game to do so and still accommodate those controllers which I suspect a large percentage of players on those machines have.

        Another part of the reason was the complication of explaining to the player which cars have F-ducts and which don’t.

        1. That suprises me as the 2009 version I have (albeit a crap version on the Wii) has a button for KERS. As this is not being used in 2010 couldn’t this have been an easy choice to replace it with an F-duct button?

          I haven’t even seen the game yet but I’ll get it, simply because there is nothing else. Hopefully it will be good…

          1. The 2009 game is much more basic than the 2010 one and doesn’t have features like being able to adjust your front wing and engine settings.

      2. You could always pretend, just when your going down the straights, if your in a Mclaren which was designed for the F-Duct use your knee to push the left stick forwards, and if your in a non Mclaren F-Duct car use your nose to simulate difficulty.

        See? you can thank me now.

    4. its more because we understand the concept of the racing line and we would probably drive and then once in lead give out a qualifyin fast lap. The others who play the game casually for a little bit of fun just go in a straight line and then brake right at the end and turn. Which makes the game more challenging to them.

    5. Codemasters, are you having a laugh?
      Ive been playing this game for a couple of hours and its such a huge pile of rubbish.

      Honestly, if you have ever played rfactor and got some of the 2009/10 mods then you will know what i mean. F1 2010 is truly awful.

      Theres so many basic rookie mistakes that i cant believe that Ant Davidson was ever involved at all.
      Example – Monza (now what on earth is going here?) In reality every single driver from any race series rides the kerbs at the 2nd chicane. Turns out you cant do it without it spinning you out on F1 2010.

      And why pick a geordie to be your race engineer? He just wont shut up. And repeats himself 20 times a race.

      The game just seems so lackluster and novice. “ARCADE” is the perfect word to describe it and i was praying that it wasnt going to be.

      And another thing, SPA is massively wrong. It seems to have developed some cambers grown some huge kerbs. And the bus top chicane??? – is very insulting. If you been round SPA you’ll know what i mean.

      Its just such a let down. After all the hype, all the interviews, all the screenshots and videos that promised so much, then they give us this load of cack.

      Theres only one good thing and thats the rain. And i cant believe i waited 4years for it.


      Tomorrows to do list:
      1 – get a refund
      2 – plug the wheel back into computer

      It just dont even get close to rfactor..

      1. Try turning off the assists, & turning it up to expert & see how you go.

        You can’t judge this game with all the assists on & the difficulty set to arcade.

        Have you even tried fiddling with the setup to get the car to ride the kerbs better?

        1. All the assists go off the minute i turn it on.

          Ive given it max ride height and im taking the bumps so slow its just not close to being real.

          Thx for you suggestion tho.

  2. Looks like I won’t get mine for days :-(

    Shopto took my credit card details and a pound from my account which they credited back, accepted the order, but when I logged on to check the status said I didn’t have an account or any card details, bank says otherwise. Emailed them they told me to register again…. NO thanks.

    It gets better, I then ordered it from Zavvi, I checked on my account each day to see if its despatched, just showing ‘out for pick’, guess what? today I can’t log on, clicked on the remind password in case I’d got it wrong and they sent me an email saying no account registered. Rang customers services leave a message, getting angry now.

    Seems very strange I would think it was a problem with my PC but I used a different one for each site. Very odd to have similar problem with two suppliers.

    So I’ve now ordered a copy from Tescos that should be safe, £29 as well. Bet I end up with two copies now.

  3. Hold on, does Abu Dhabi go dark or not?

    If it doesn’t, how the hell are the light transitions realistic?

    1. I’d say it would depend on the length of the race. There may not be enough time for the sun to physically set in a short race.

      1. In a quick 3 lap blast it doesn’t go dark, just stays at sunset. I think the car feels as if it has too much chassis roll and that makes it feel a bit clumsy to be honest. But I’d probably give it a 4/5 too! :)

    2. It goes dark. Duh!

  4. A couple of great statements that made me laugh, such as,

    “If Vitaly Petrov and Vitantonio Liuzzi performed as well in real life as they do in this game there wouldn’t be quite so many rumours about who will be driving their cars next year.”

    1. I had a good laugh at

      I see Lewis Hamilton played “F1 2010″ before racing at Monza last week. Perhaps that’s why he thought he’d get away with his first-lap contact with Felipe Massa.


      1. YES! N i thot i was the only guy who noticed tat! maybe he didnt realise damage is “forced ON” in the real race! :-P

  5. As this is the there first attempt at an F1 game, we should not be to harsh on them when it comes to the little things.

    All I can ask is that they keep improving on this excilent start for the F1 2011 title and listen to what the gamers want.

    If they were really smart they should open up a website to take gamers feedback and ideas to implement into future titles.

    I am a little dissapointed that there is no complete AI races like there were in Grand Prix 4 though.

    1. I read on another forum (or possibly the website) that they have already begun development of the next one inline.

      It is unsure whether it will be 2011, or 2012.

      Personally i would like them to not rush it, and make it better again. From what i understand, towards the end of the project they had to get the result, and started rushing things to get it done…..

  6. I could have had my copy yesterday – I had pre ordered it but they didn’t call me until I was on my way to work (I am a shift worker)!

    I can’t pick it up until Monday now, will let you know my opinions when I play it (PS3 version).

  7. I’m glad they’re not gonna throw dlc at us, firstly, it will just mean we pay more, but crucially it means they will be able to get on with making F1 2011.

  8. Way harsh on Hamilton! But pretty funny.

    I’ve pre-ordered.

    That’s me with the racing-game hairshirt. I want to have to hit every apex to get a truly competitive time. But since I’m no longer in college, or unemployed, I don’t have solid 3 hour stretches to play the game and appreciate some shortcuts to being competitive.

  9. “However, Codemasters have addressed that typical racing game bugbear of being able to out-brake all the cars at the first corner”

    Thanks for the info Keith, and all the rest. Will test the game tonight hopefully (if it is deblocked by steam) and hope it will be my game of the next year !

  10. You say economics drive the game to appeal to as many people as possible. Economics also drive the time scale because this game needs to be released before the year is out.

    Im glad they locked down the release models of the car and went on from there perfecting the game.

    Also im getting the game on PC so im hoping we can get in and tinker with the game a little.

    1. I suppose the rookies (look at Petrov stating he learnt Singapore mainly on the PS3) will be pretty much enjoying to play the game to get more practise for the next few races as well.

  11. I’ll believe the review when I have the game in my hands. Too many games have promised too much, had awesome reviews and turned out to be large piles of turd. And with racing games, it’s either great or just complete trash. No offense Keith, other great websites have also fallen for this.

    How are the controls Keith? Is there ANY lag between you turning the wheel or moving the analog stick and the driver starting to turn the steering? Games like rFactor do this beautifully, while every racer released by big publisher usually has almost half-a-second of lag. Most people cannot point this out, but it just makes the game suck.

    1. It felt fine when I played it with a steering wheel on the PS3.

    2. It has it with the throttle – which is annoying because it makes it virtually impossible to correct power oversteer.

      1. There you go. If developers cannot get the driving feel right, I don’t care about how well Abu Dhabi’s fancy hotel is replicated or how the dry and wet lines affect your tyre wear. Stupid really.

      2. Thank you for that input, by the way. It’s quite impossible to control oversteer with the throttle in F1 cars anyways, but even otherwise, the lag will keep reminding you that it’s a game. I’ve gone into deep levels of concentration when doing 50 lap races in rFactor where I don’t even think of anything else for those 1.5 hours or so.

        1. Mmm, that sounds familiar. But then I once drove one of the 1000-mile races in Gran Turismo 4, to prove it could be done…

  12. No f-duct eh.. I thought we can get f-duct considering the late release of this game

    1. there is F-Duct its just automatic, otherwise there wouldn’t be enough buttons,

  13. I don’t have room for a proper steering wheel set up so I have to make do with the PS3 controller, which usually is fine.

    However with this it’s different. Many racing games these days seem to favour the use of the R2 and L2 triggers as the throttle and the brake, which I cant stand (it feels unnatural to me and causes my fingers to cramp). Luckily there’s an option to configure the controller to my liking, so I spent a bit of time and put X and Square as the throttle and brake, with the D-Pad for my steering – the set up I have on every racing game.

    A lap or two into my first practice session and I can’t understand why the car is so easy to spin. Turns out Codemasters haven’t made use of the pressure sensitivity for the buttons – meaning steering is either full lock or dead straight and the throttle is either open or closed, rendering my setup impossible to use.

    I changed back to the default setting, but even that isn’t perfect. There’s a huge ‘Deadzone’ on the triggers and only a very narrow window to operate the throttle. Fine for a couple of laps, but then my finger starts to ache and I’m all over the shop again.

    Fair enough, I’m in a HRT, so I tried the Red Bull and Ferrari on the Grand Prix mode. It’s less of a problem but still not perfect, but it doesn’t matter anyway because if I can’t control the inferior cars comfortably then it’s going to be difficult for me to progress through the career mode unless I whack it on the easist setting – which I’m not going to do because what’s the fun in that.

    I’m disappointed to read they won’t be releasing patches either because there are some things that need touching up. In replays the cars appear to hover six inches from the ground, and I was able to lap a wet Albert Park on slicks at the same time I could in the dry, with no discernable difference in handling characteristics.

    After a few hours of gameplay I’m bitterly disappointed, and I’m only going to continue playing it so I don’t feel I’ve spent £35 in vain. In the meantime I’ll go back to the flawed but fun F1:CE whilst I wait for Gran Turismo 5 to come out.

    1. Also I seem to get a lot of punctures. I don’t lock up or go off very much and I don’t push the tyres to the limits of their lifespan, yet often in a session I will get a puncture. Is this Codemasters’ way of simulating a car failure without having to bother putting them in? If so it’s very lazy and is a more than a little annoying.

      It’s a bad compromise – not realistic enough to be a sim, not enjoyable enough to be a good arcade game.

      1. Nico Da Flagburna
        26th September 2010, 1:10

        Yh u r totally right…

        “not realistic enough to be a sim, not enjoyable enough to be a good arcade game”

        i am also somone who thinks they prefer f1:ce just because i can enjoy myself more!

  14. Good review!

    As an avid GP4 fan, with a wheel and pedals, this review seems to suggest the only benefit I’m going to get from buying this game is a slightly better career mode and updated graphics.

    The lack of downloadable content, third party add-ons, ropey damage model and what sounds like questionable AI completely puts me off buying this (all of which are satisfied by GP4). Maybe I’ll buy it on the PS3 for a **** around every now and then, but I really don’t see what this has to offer, simulation wise, that I don’t already get from GP4.

    Sure GP4 is buggy as hell and if I play it twice a day for 2 hours each time, it’ll crash once or twice, but when it’s going, it’s great. Even where F1 2010 boasts “individual car handling charactaristics” and “real life counter-part driver behavior”, GP4 has this more or less covered; you can tweak the engine power from team to team, overall downforce, handling charactaristics, driver ability and behavior (you can even set how they perform in qualifying, independantly from how they perform in the race) etc etc etc.

    My main interest in an F1 game (and thus what GP4 satisfies) isn’t so much the Sunday race day, it’s the challenge of the two 90 minute and one 60 minute practice sessions to tweak the setup to extract the most out of the car at a given circuit and then having a crack at sticking it on pole… The race at the end of it isn’t really my main concern.

    So, in summary… I won’t buy this for my desktop PC, instead I *might* buy it for my PS3 for the occasional **** about when I get home after a Friday night’s heavy session.

    1. wow, and i thought i was a diehard GP4 fan!

      1. Me too!

        It’s the physics in the wet that make GP4 such a timeless game.

        I have the Wii version of F12009, which yes I know is nowhere near as good as this new one, but I’m guessing the physics are similar. To be honest, it’s firmly in the Friday night occasional bracket with arcade style physics – but it is good fun.

  15. Christian Biddon
    23rd September 2010, 15:12

    Pity the PC version is not reviewed here. I have played it briefly (about 30 mins) and can say that it is excellent. The graphics are fantastic and the gameplay seems to bear out what you say above. I’m hoping for a longer session tonight if the kids will let me. :-)

    Highly recommended!!

  16. Nice review, Keith. Still waiting for Amazon’s ‘dispatched’ email, but seeing as I won’t be able to play tomorrow, I won’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t arrive till Saturday.

    Are the driver aids limited by difficulty level? like the old Geoff Crammond games, where you got fewer driver aids available to you as the level went up, or can you still have braking assistance on the hardest level?

    Sad to hear that the race engineer is less than perfect, but at least it’s not the TV commentary style we’ve had in past games. (Having said that, I wouldn’t mind the odd Murray Walker “Fan-tas-tic!” whenever I overtake someone ;))

    It’s sad there won’t be any DLC, but I imagine they want to concentrate on ways of parting us with our cash in F1 2011 as opposed to grafting Nick Heidfeld into the existing game.

    You’ve mentioned that the devs read this blog, so hopefully they will be able to implement some of your suggestions in the next game.

  17. That’s a fairly detailed review Keith. You’ve obviously spent enough time to notice slow cars in valencia turn 19, forgiving bulls vs. Skittish HRTs etc.
    Cpl of Q’s:
    Were you using a wheel – how’s the force feedback?
    And any idea if the game will be moddable on the PC? That could solve a lot of AI glitches, livery and talent updates etc without an ‘official’ patch.

  18. FSONE 2008, RFT 2009 and RFT2010 have been my F1 games for a while now. If the high budget codemasters can’t make the cars feel as realistic, with those driving aids turned off, as these free download mods for rFactor – I’ll be HUGELY disappointed. The beautiful graphics and awesome weather will go a long way towards negating that disappointment, but ultimately, I’m buying this to feel what it’s like to drive an F1 car. Leave those ‘all appeal’ types to Need for Speed and the like.

  19. I played this for a few hours last night on the pc with a xbox controller – massive difference from the keyboard, you can control your throttle and braking ’nuff said –
    I played with a variety of difficulties trying to figure out which one i could handle and wouldn’t be a challenge. Made it through the full session of P1 on the last position, on p2 after about 5 or 10 laps my rear suspension had a nervous breakdown and i had to go to P3 still in the last position. My problem is i’ve tried every set up i could find and cannot seem to go any faster then 2:11 on that track- might just be me not finding the proper difficulty lever or just being a true noob at this game. Anyway, the above aside, i like it, i feel like Codemasters delivered on 90% of the expectations they set. There is only one BIG problem i have, and it’s not about the gameplay per-say it’s something a bit different; Your driver can’t be a girl, if you love f1 and want to play an f1 game and go through the career mode and be the first woman to win the f1 championship you can’t do that in this game, codemasters, really? It doesnt bother me that much but my girlfriend is kind of ****** about this – i love f1 as much as the next dude here but man, she’s a whole other sort of crazy when it comes to this sport – and i understand why.

    1. “trying to figure out which one i could handle and wouldn’t be a challenge” should be “trying to figure out which one i could handle and would still be a challenge”

      1. Oh, and one last thing. Guys, don’t bash Codemasters for not making this game a true SIM racing game, with the amount they have to pay for the license i understand them trying to push this for a broader audience. Enjoy it for what it is, the best COMPLETE f1 game so far.

    2. I’m sure I had the option to use a girl’s name when I played the game. Must try that again later.

      1. The option exists, i feel like a tool now. Please excuse my ignorance and put it to the fact that i was so excited to actually play the game that the fact that it was one click away was one click too far from me at the time and i assumed that the option did not exist. Mea culpa as they say.

        Anyway Codemasters made one hell of a game; is it a true SIM no, is it as close as you can get and still keep the game fun and immersive HELL YEAH!

    3. Good point Dragos, but in all honesty, I can’t blame Codemaster people not to have thought about it.

    4. You covered all the points i’ve been asking about lately, using xbox controller for PC.
      I’ve been playing racing games for a long time using keyboard, never had a wheel and just now thinking to get xbox controller and here i find your comment which urges me to buy one :)

  20. hi will there be a f1 2010/2011 on wii?
    because f1 2009 was such an easy game its not a good game
    has anyone got the answer to my question

    1. I don’t think F1 2010 is being released on Wii

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