Releasing a game with the suffix “2011” in 2012 probably isn’t the best idea in the world if you want to ensure that your product seems fresh for as long as possible, but given the fact that this game is purely centred around last season’s Formula One Championship
, it would have been a little sneaky of Codemasters
to label it as a 2012 game. Pedantry aside, the real concern here is whether or not the move from the big screen to the small one has affected the game at all.
Well, it has and it hasn’t. For starters, it doesn’t look anywhere near as refined as the console versions, obviously, but even when pitted against some of the other Vita
launch titles it doesn’t really measure up to the best of the best. It’s not that it’s horrific looking or anything, more that things don’t look as polished as they probably should. It’s the small things, you know, like the cockpit and the collisions with other vehicles, but it’s definitely not something that we’re going to take issue with, particularly since it doesn’t affect the game’s playability.
In fact, we’re even willing to go so far as to say that the slightly rough around the edge visuals may well be the reason for the game’s real sense of speed. Despite the fact that we were hurtling around tracks at a couple of hundred kilometres per hour, neither the PS3
nor Xbox 360
versions of the game ever captured that adrenaline fuelled sense of pace, but it’s something that really stands out on the Vita. Perhaps that’s not down to the visuals at all though; the smaller screen may well be making things feel like they’re hurtling past a hell of a lot quicker than they do on a 42” widescreen. Whatever the root cause, it’s not something that you’re going to find us complaining about, because it does a tremendous job of making you feel like you’re in the cockpit of a real F1
car – which is precisely what this game is all about.
The game is set up exactly like its bigger console siblings, with Quick Race
, Time Trial
, Grand Prix
, Career, Championship
on offer to players. If you’re looking for new additions specifically for the Vita, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, which really makes this a bit of a pointless purchase for anyone who already owns the console or PC version – unless you’re so much of a race nut that you simply must have a portable version with you.
That’s not to say that the game isn’t worth picking up if you don’t already have it on another system, however. With everything here that can be found on the other versions, coupled with the added portability of the Vita, it’s still a bloody good game. You’ll be able to set race length to suit your needs (we recommend 3 laps with damage off if you’re looking for a genuinely arcadey experience, or 10% length with damage on if you want something a little bit more realistic without needing to sink hours into the game at a time), as well as turning on or off any assists you need.
It’s this customisation factor that has made the freshly rebooted franchise a favourite here in the Click office, and it’s perhaps the major selling point for the game. No matter what level of depth you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it right here. Unfortunately, the level of challenge isn’t particularly high on the easier settings, so even if you’re looking for a pick up and play style racer, you might want to take a look at upping the ante somewhat.
The game’s multiplayer offers additional replayability, with up to four players able to compete in a straight forward race, time trial or constructor faceoff. There’s no option to play a full cooperative championship which is a real shame, particularly if you’ve got likeminded friends.
Despite the fact that we’re huge fans of F1 2011, it’s really difficult to recommend the game to anyone who already owns it on another platform. It’s fast, it has quite a bit of depth and F1 fans will get plenty of kicks out of it, but if you’re looking for a casual racer there’s plenty more on the market better equipped to satisfy, and anyone looking for something more serious might want to take a look at Wipeout 2048
instead, even if it is a completely different beast entirely.
Hopefully next time around we’ll see Codemasters offering something a little bit different for Vita players, but until then this is a solid if unspectacular entry into the series.