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Preview: F1 2011

"This year it's all about multiplayer"

F1 2010 was a relatively big hit of 2010, even managing to beat the likes of GT5 to a BAFTA while bringing tons of racing action to TSA. This year Codemasters Birmingham say it is all about the multiplayer. With 16 player multiplayer (and 8 AI), 2 player co-op and 2 player splitscreen they certainly mean it.

The first thing I noticed when playing online (with assists on such as traction control and the racing line) was that the game felt slightly easier to drive than with F1 2010. When taking those assists off however, this difficulty was at least equal to that of F1 2010, so don’t expect to be able to pick it up and not put a wheel off track in your first race.

Handling is also an area where the game has improved. The car seems like it has more grip now and feels less likely to spin off suddenly when you touch those curbs. On the other hand, if you’re going around a particularly tight bend it can feel as though the car is leaning to the side and it can be a struggle to get it to turn, which is different enough to F1 2010 to make it tricky to adjust at first.

This all adds up to the game feeling less slippy and more like you’re gripping the road, but the game still very much retains its difficulty when taking assists off. It’s nice to see that the AI also benefits from this improved grip.

The "Go Compete" trailer for F1 2011.
A new feature to F1 2011 that was highly desirable in F1 2010 is a spectate mode. Now when you have crashed out, instead of looking at that dull timing screen from the previous game, you can switch between the different cars racing and multiple different camera angles. Unfortunately, there are no online replays with the excuse that it would be too memory intensive. While we would have loved to have had this feature here at TSA, it isn’t going to be a big thing for the majority of players.

Another element that’s new to F1 2011 is the ability to lose XP during online and single player. While racing warnings were popping up we were having XP removed, which suggests better use of the XP system than in the previous game.

Of course, with the sport now having KERS and DRS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System and Drag Reduction System to those of you who don’t follow F1) implemented we have both of these in the game.

KERS works well as a small boost button that regenerates its battery when you cross the finish line each lap whereas DRS is a bit more complicated and will make online racing more interesting with the person in second place having it as a slight advantage and the person in first place having to use there KERS boost wisely to counter.

Splitscreen appears to be making a come back in many racing games and is a very welcome addition here. Players choose the expected settings such as their team, driver and the track which all works well. The only down side that I could see from this mode was the rather large drop in graphics but this is understandable and not going to be something that many people will care about when playing this mode.

It certainly didn’t stop us from having fun.

While we are on the subject of graphics though, this years game looks beautiful! Codies have put in a new lighting engine and added more detail all around. The steering wheel is now much less generic, the scenery around the race track is now more full and the track themselves have been improved visually. Everything looks a lot more shiny. The weather effects have also been improved with the game looking even more fantastic in the wet than the previous version. What stood out for me though was the little details.

This year we have a bigger and better motorhome compared to last years dull and generic paddock and the garage where you make your setups pre-race is larger and much better designed. One of the smallest but most frequently seen changes is the grass that now appears on your tyres when you go wide which works in the same way as the gravel by gradually dissapearing from your wheels which is a nice extra little touch.

F1 2011 manages to improve upon 2010 in every way and then add so much ore to the game at the same time.In terms of realism you can now get mechanical failures (which may have early warnings from the pit crew) and in terms of the game you have a new spectate, splitscreen and a co-op campaign mode to add even more value and longevity to the game.

There is absoloutely no doubt in my mind that we will be playing this game through Meets and the F1 Championship that we run for many months after release.

If you want to see some more pictures from the event, check out the album on Facebook linked below.

Event photos on Facebook

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30 Comments
  1. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    Nice read Adam, I still think that it’s the game F1 2010 should of been, and 2011 is still lacking features that it should have being the official F1 game.
    Splitscreen is only 2 players, not 4 isnt it? And when you say “rather large drop in graphics”, is that just the textures etc, or does the framerate drop too? Good to hear that from your experience the handling has been changed so you don’t randomly spin off, but what about the AI? Has that been improved? They were far too scripted and mechanical.

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 17:09.
    • AG2297
      Community Manager
      Since: Feb 2009

      Yep 2 player splitscreen like it says above (although maybe it didnt before and had a sneaky edit, who knows!).

      Frame rate and textures drop in splitscreen but that’s to be expected and is pretty much the same story in all games with splitscreen.

      AI was said to have been improved, especially with overtaking. I spent 90% of my time with the multiplayer (the main thing being pushed at the preview) so I couldn’t get a proper judge of how much difference there was with AI as I was racing humans!

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 17:29.
  2. cam the man
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    Looking forward to this more than any other game this season.
    Glad to see they’ve improved just about everything and the TSA meets should be more tactical with KERS & DRS.
    No mention of the safety car though.

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 17:53.
    • cam the man
      Member
      Since: May 2009

      *this year.

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 17:56.
    • AG2297
      Community Manager
      Since: Feb 2009

      There will not be a safety car in this game. I think that was the first question they were asked. Due to the way cars are tracked around the track etc (much more technical than that!) it would be difficult to implement and not add to gameplay.

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 17:58.
      • cam the man
        Member
        Since: May 2009

        Maybe for F1 2012 then.

        Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:59.
      • AG2297
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        Yeah maybe, it wasn’t a “never” :)

        Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 19:15.
    • whoelse
      Writer
      Since: Forever

      I personally don’t see the point of a safety car. Yes it would be cool for a while to have it in but I don’t want to be driving around a race track for a few laps waiting for the race the restart.

      Comment posted on 14/07/2011 at 00:09.
  3. Manorhowze
    Driving God
    Since: Dec 2008

    Nice article AG. Spectate mode sounds like a godsend for when you crash on the opening corner. All in all its looking great for this years version. Hopefully still get to see a safety car as well.

    Did you get to play around with different tyres at all? Just curious if theres a big gap in performance between the types.

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 17:59.
    • Manorhowze
      Driving God
      Since: Dec 2008

      Ok just see the above comment about safety cars. :(

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:00.
  4. eye8have9you3
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    co-op and competitive splitscreen? This being an F1 game I can’t really see how co-op works, unless it just means you both race for the same team?

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:05.
    • AG2297
      Community Manager
      Since: Feb 2009

      Yep, that’s how it (co-op) works! You both drive for the same team through a career mode :)

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:08.
      • eye8have9you3
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        still quite competitive between the two players, but I guess that could be pretty fun

        Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:25.
      • AG2297
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        Indeed, but it is in real F1 too like Vettel and Webber :). Same team, but only one person can take 1st place!

        Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:26.
    • Manorhowze
      Driving God
      Since: Dec 2008

      The dev diary does say it would be co-op in the same team I believe.

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:09.
  5. stanley1664
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    cant wait for this.. hope they have fixed the MP xp glitch… Had a mate that was miles behind on xp but he figured out if you have a room with 3 players in and fill up the rest of the grid with AI and win you get mega xp points.. also on many ocassions just finished behind an apponent say 0.20 seconds it would award me the win.. glad it all looks shiny and new for this years game and overall a more complete package.. Online stats would be cool like fastest laps and podiums…

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:16.
  6. stanley1664
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    I nearly forgot.. a explanation of xp points would also be a good idea

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:18.
    • AG2297
      Community Manager
      Since: Feb 2009

      I’d like to see one too, they never mentioned them. I just saw it popping up during the race and thought that it was interesting that I was losing XP when driving bad.

      Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:25.
      • cam the man
        Member
        Since: May 2009

        It would be nice to know why your losing (and gaining) XP.
        Motorstorm’s system of showing what you get XP for is good.

        Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 22:45.
  7. Spotter5
    Member
    Since: Forever

    I need this game like I need to breathe. <3 F1

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:19.
  8. freezebug2
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    Sounds great with the new more realistic grip levels that they’ve applied, as that did used to depress me in F1 2010 when the car used to spin in the dry for absolutely no reason.
    Dissapointed with the omission of the safety car, could have added a great new dimension to the game, maybe next time ;)
    Overall though, it’s looking like I made the right choice in pre-ordering the game a few months ago :P

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 18:28.
  9. Beelzie14
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Hope the random sodding punctures have been sorted. Even the patch didn’t fully neutralise the complete lack of logic of the random puncture (RP). Hitting something which leads to a puncture? That I agree with.
    I still cry myself to sleep sometimes thinking of the foregone victories which I lost due to the dreaded RP!

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 19:33.
  10. Death_In_Flamez
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    Genuinely looking forward to this, should see whether I can’t take part in this years F1 tourney :P

    Comment posted on 13/07/2011 at 19:56.

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