There are two sides to simulator creators Codemasters' current reputation. The success of their DiRT and DiRT 2 rallying titles has turned them into the go-to guys for off-road racing fun, and yet they are still known for shipping games that lack that crucial coat of polish. So how has the latest Formula One game fared?
Turning out equally well on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 360, F1 2010 aims to simulate the Formula One experience to the core, replicating tracks, cars, racing lines and tactics with a new degree of thoroughness.
It's certainly ambitious, not content with replicating tyre wear, pit stops, variable race distances, and rainy weather, but able to faithfully and attractively replicate the experiences of struggling teams saddled with underperforming cars and zealous race marshalls.
As testament to Codemaster's dedication, it even manages to successfully incentivize the practice and qualifying sessions that come before each Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, programming bugs blight essential pit stop attempts, and reports of frustratingly corrupted game saves were cropping up soon after its release. Even admitting these issues, it seems that F1 2010 has enough in the tank to convince most reviewers of its merits.
So despite qualms about the game's sturdiness proving well-founded, F1 2010 leaves the paddock with a set of promising scores, and got off to a good start at retail by ousting the blockbuster Halo: Reach from top stop in the UK at least. Those anticipated game fixes from the developers are sorely needed in order to prevent program errors from spoiling the long-term experience.
Its narrow focus on Formula One racing means that F1 2010 and its descendants can remain competitive against Gran Turismo 5 and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit in November and Forza Motorsport 4 in 2011. On the Wii, December's Trackmania promises to plough its own speedy furrow with arcade time trials and course creation, while F1 2009 remains for those that crave licensed competition.
F1 2010 (360, PC, PS3)
Age rating: Everyone (North America) / 3+ (Europe) / General (Australia)
Price: $59 USD / €59 on 360 and PS3, $49 / €39 on PC.
Gameblog.fr 5/5 "Despite some teething problems, F1 2010 is simply one of the genre's best"
TheSixthAxis 9/10 "The visuals are stunning - solid, smooth and packed with atmosphere"
Game Informer 8.5/10 "Accessible racing with an eye towards realism"
IGN 8.5/10 "There's precision and personality in the depiction of all 19 tracks"
PC Gamer 80% "You'll invariably cross the line exhilarated, exhausted, and haunted by what-ifs"
Destructoid 7/10 "Let's just hope they patch it before it eats my game save"
RockPaperShotgun "The core game seems so vibrant and so promising. What a shame."
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