Gentlemen, start your engines. F1 2013 is back for more heart-pumping action-packing Formula One racing, and it’s just what your mechanic has ordered. As a big fan of motorsport I’ve always enjoyed racing games, whether it was a simple Arcade racer or something as rewarding as F1. However, for the F1 experts and returning gamers, one must ask if F1 2013 is an improvement or more of a light tune-up.
After playing F1 2012, I was extremely satisfied where the series had evolved and found many changes were made over previous versions really made it shine. However, my concern with an annualized franchise is the risk of it playing its cards safe, continuing with the formula its fans have come to love and trust. F1 2013 is in this situation, fine tuning and polishing game mechanics rather than a full strip down and rebuild.
At its core, F1 2013 is a replication of the Formula 1 racing season. The first place you start is at the Young Driver’s Test where you learn the basics. It’s not a major thing, but it would have been nice to have an option for veteran players to skip this tutorial. It would help those who have played F1 before not have to learn how to brake, turn, and a approach a corner all over again. Next, there is Career Mode, where you can race across all 20 circuits competing in practice, qualifying and race Grand Prix’s. Career Mode can be very lengthy and time consuming so a new option, mid-session saves, lets you tackle massive races in sections instead of enduring a massive GP in one sitting.
Next is Scenario Mode, which gives you a set of challenges to complete. Completing a race within a certain time, overtaking a certain number cars, etc. Many of these scenarios will test your skills, and there are 20 in all. Joining Scenario Mode from F1 2012 is Time Trial and Multiplayer.
F1 2013’s cars feel as responsive and rock solid as ever. As with most racing games, you have a myriad of assists to help you stay glued to the road, including traction control, electronic stability control, automatic assisted braking, ABS and more. I’d recommend leaving these settings on if you are new to the game and slowly remove them as you improve. You’ll find yourself pushing the car harder and harder into corners, trying to find its breaking point, as the cars have been tweaked a little. The handling certainly feels more tight than before. The cars’ braking feels more firm as well. While braking and cornering previously, the car tended to snap out almost instantly if you touched the brake pedal around a corner. This feels better thanks to slight touches of the brake being allowed.
In addition to the ability to customize your car (suspension, balance, tuning, tire pressure, etc.) for performance, there is a different array of cars in F1 2013. These range from Alan Jones’ 1980 Williams to Gerhard Berger’s 1988 Ferrari. These rides respond and handle differently than today’s cars, with assists being removed and turbines roaring. It’s a different experience that takes you back to the basics of motor racing before electronics became a big component of racing.
Graphics and Sound
It’s honestly quite difficult to count the number of polygons on a tree in the distance when you are burning along at 300 km/hr! However, details inside the cockpit of the car, the lighting in the distance and the shadows on the car are all very nicely done and create that feeling that you’re really there in the car. With a silky smooth framerate, you get a true appreciation of the car’s speed. Weather effects are back as well and really do feel real in every sense, from the blinding mist of the cars in front of you to the glaze of a wet track as the rain stops and the sun appears. It’s truly gorgeous and one of t he best uses of weather effects I have seen in a racer in a long time.
F1 2013 certainly offers a host of value with its massive career mode and other extras. There’s plenty to do here, and you can always improve on your lap times and skills by repeating races and trying different cars.
F1 2013 for new players is a fantastic title that you will enjoy so long as you enjoy Formula 1 Racing. However, for those who already have F1 2012, there is not a huge amount of change here between seasons. Nevertheless, I certainly think that F1 2013 has reached the limits of graphics, physics and framerate on this current generation of consoles and has run its course. I have expectations for F1 2014 on next-gen hardware, but for now F1 2013 is as good as it gets.
AAG SCORE: 8/10
- Great Season Mode
- Excellent Car Physics
- Great Weather Effects
- Online Mode May Be Daunting
- No Stand-Out Changes Over F1 2012