Having pre-ordered my copy I was lucky enough to find F1 2010 waiting for me when I got home yesterday, and therefore got to play it before it was officially released! Yes, yes I feel rather smug. Naturally I spent all of my evening playing it, so for the benefit of Train2Game students; here are my initial impressions of F1 2010.
OK, I’ll come out and say this straight away: F1 2010 is certainly the best racing game I’ve ever played. It looks amazing, the cars handle well and you truly feel as if you’re one of the 24 elite Formula 1 drivers when you’re behind the wheel of your car. Perhaps the only thing needed to improve this feeling would be to invest in a racing wheel and pedals set.
After installing F1 2010 onto my PlayStation 3, the game took me straight into Career Mode. You start by entering basics such as your name and nationality before selecting either a one, three or seven year long career. The length of your F1 2010 career determines the choice of teams to begin with. I selected 7 so had to choose between the new teams – and this year’s perennial backmarkers, Lotus, Virgin Racing and HRT F1. I chose to begin my F1 2010 career with Lotus, thus forcing Heikki Kovalienen out of the F1 2010 season. Sorry Heikki!
After short introduction – and importantly choosing my helmet design – I went straight into the first race of the F1 2010 season, the Bahrain Grand Prix. I immediately selected Free Practice in order to get a feel for both my Lotus and the Sakhir circuit.
I’d chosen medium difficulty which helpfully makes the car less sensitive and shows the racing line. Despite this, getting a feel for the car was tough and in my first few laps I found myself mistiming braking, running wide and spinning all over the place. I didn’t register a time until my fourth lap thanks to the stewards penalising me for cutting corners! (I wouldn’t say running wide was cutting a corner mind!) Practice makes perfect as they say and I somehow managed to haul my lowly Lotus up to 11th fastest by the end of the session after fiddling with the set up of my car in the garage.
Qualifying was a completely different kettle of fish, and I was the first car on the track to set a competitive lap time. This meant I had provisional pole! But this didn’t last long with teams like Force India and Sauber also on track meaning my glory was short lived. I
Incidentally, because I’d chosen a short racing weekend the qualifying session wasn’t the full blown shoot out that is currently used in Formula 1. F1 2010 features a shorter 20 minute qualifying session, although the shoot out is used if you selected a long race weekend.
Qualifying really got my adrenaline pumping. My team has set me the target of qualifying in 20th position or above. With qualifying about to end I was sitting in provisional 21st place and really, really pushed to improve on my position. Unfortunately, I pushed too hard on the tight Turn 19 and lost control of my car. Thankfully, there was no damaged and I trundled back to the pits in anticipation for the race, safe in the knowledge that I’d qualified ahead of my team mate, experienced Italian Jarno Trulli.
Of course, the racing is the integral part of F1 2010 and despite my poor qualifying position I knew that race day was the most important day of the weekend. My race started very well, with some sneaky driving on the first corner meant I’d made up plenty of positions by the end of the first lap. . My race was not without incident however, for example a poor over taking manoeuvre from Nico Rosberg ended up with my car in a wall. Thankfully F1 2010 has a ‘replay’ system which allows you to rewind time to before any incidents. But be sure to use these wisely, because you only a small handful of them.
The hustle and bustle of a Formula 1 race in F1 2010 feels incredibly authentic, and my heart was in my mouth as I made by way through the field. I received a few warnings for bumps against other cars, but thankfully didn’t get a penalty. My ever-improving driving was rewarded by running as high as 4th place during the middle portions of the race.
Of course, I was running this high before having to take my mandatory pit stop, and when I rejoined the race I was back in a lowly 19th, but had a group of other backmarkers ahead of me. The next few laps also showed that there were cars ahead of me that hadn’t pitted so when it came to the penultimate lap I was up to 11th place.
11th place…and 10th place would have got me one valuable World Championship point. It was all or nothing as I pushed hard to catch the driver in front of me who turned out to be seven time World Champion, the legendary Michael Schumacher. Somehow, I managed to do him up the inside on the final corner of the race and took 10th position. I felt on top of the world.
Perhaps I achieved this because I was playing on medium difficulty, or perhaps it was because I had driven a really good race, but I’d played my Lotus into a finishing position it really had to right to be in. I felt proud, very proud indeed.
So I may have only completed one race so far, but in my eyes F1 2010 is an absolutely amazing game. It’s everything you could want for a Formula 1 racing game. It may not be for the casual racing fan, but if you’re into Formula 1, you’ll definitely spend many, many hours racing in F1 2010.
If you’re undecided on F1 2010, you’ll be able to see it for yourself as the game will be playable at the Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court London October 1st-3rd.
To enter the prize draw, pick up a entry form at Stand 12 in the Career fair. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you have already got your hands on F1 2010, what are your thoughts on the game?
As usual, leave your thoughts here or on the Train2Game forum.