Gameplay: 9 / 10
Graphics: 8 / 10
Replay Value: 6 / 10
Sound and Music: 9 / 10
Codemasters took over the reigns as the official developers for the F1 racing title in 2010 with its BAFTA Award–winning racing simulation, F1 2010. And ever since then, the company has released the next iteration to the franchise each year, likewise to the likes of FIFA, PES, and other major sporting titles. While the football titles are released within a month from the time the European football season commences in August, F1 releases in approximately the same September/October timeframe, albeit a full six or seven months into the calendar season, with only a handful of races remaining in the same year. F1 2013 was no different in its release patterns, but there are a few additional features and variants available upon its release.
Racing simulators have always been my preferred racer of choice, over arcade game such as Need for Speed. With previous editions of the F1 title, the simulation was always one of the best in the business. Codemasters has improved again with this year’s iteration, most significantly (and predictably) due to each year’s new FIA enforced laws. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more complete F1 racer available on the market.
Graphics improvements, too, are at a minimum, but racers can still enjoy beautifully challenging wet weather conditions, which provides new appreciation for what real-life drivers have to contend with during race weekends on even damp tracks. While race simulation and graphics remain relatively unchanged, one of the more interesting updates comes in the form of race commentary. As with the actual F1 this year, most of the talk revolves around tyre wear, pit stop timing, and technical analysis, somewhat of a shift away from out and out racing to the flag. But this is more to do with where the sport is, and not an indication of the game itself. A few tweaks in the menu options and you’re able to bypass such hindrances for proper classic racing. You may want to turn off KERS and DRS while you’re at it.
Speaking of classic racing, Codemasters has added a separate F1 2013 Classics version for those wanting to race…well…classics. The standard version includes only a trickling of classic cars, whereas the Classics version will get you a much wider array of cars through the years, dating back to the 80s, and four additional classic tracks, including Brands Hatch, Autódromo do Estoril, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and Circuito Permanente de Jerez. What’s interesting about cars from years gone by as that even within a specific year, they tend to differ tremendously from one another, unlike today’s race cars that feel almost identical to the untrained such as myself.
Classic Mode has its own races, time attacks, time trails, and scenario modes to keep you occupied once normal racing has become less of an appeal to you. But likewise, there’s only so much you’re able to eek out of these classic situations, which ultimately only deliver an hour or two of proper fun.
If you’re new to Codemasters’ F1 racing, then F1 2013 has you covered. In career mode, you start off as a young inspiring racer wishing to make the cut and become a proper F1 racer. But before you’re given the opportunity, you have to perform a series of driving tests and challenges to get there. This basically forms a tutorial of some sorts, which assists gamers to wrap their heads around the controls, gameplay, tyre wear (sorry, it had to be said), hitting apexes, and judging speeds around corners, to name but a few.
F1 2013 is undoubtedly more of an iteration than a major overhaul, but still delivers in every aspect of racing that you require. If you own last year’s F1 2012, you may want to consider your options at this point, perhaps waiting for next year’s, next-gen console versions. However, with the F1 classics edition, there more than enough additional features, scenarios, and historically beautiful racers to enjoy. This does come at around R150 more of a premium than the standard edition.
There are a few additional features to the game such as mid-race saves, which allow gamers to save their races no matter how far into the race. This is of great benefit to those attempting full 300km+ GP weekends; something you’ll never find me attempting, as I already found the Xbox wireless wheel a stretch to use for 30 minutes, let alone almost two hours. Overall, though, the game requires more precision, patience, finesse and aggression to win races over previous years, which make F1 2013 one of, if not the, best racing simulation title available to date, and should be a definite must have for true F1 gaming fans.