We here at ORD love F1 2011, which is impressive considering it’s not even been released yet. But with the game’s launch less than two weeks away, we thought we would share with you the top five reasons our collective pants are so wet.
1. Revised handling model
Don’t take this the wrong way, F1 2010’s handling was great but there were a few glitches. For example, you could magically correct oversteer by simply grabbing hold of the brake and the car would somehow right itself again. This time around the handling model has been re-built from the ground up, giving racers a chance to really drive the wheels off their cars in search of those extra tenths of a second. If you push it too far and lock up your tyres will get worn and you’ll be forced to pit early and compromise your strategy. Sounds fun.
2. In-game strategy
F1 2011 features more dynamic in-race tactics, such as showing how much fuel you have left available and a great new feature revealing where you will emerge back into the race should you decide to take a pit-stop. There will be no more ‘gambles’ on pitting as you’ll know exactly how fast you need to be in order to keep that vital position. Woop.
3. The Safety Car
Yes, it’s in. The Safety Car’s inclusion has been the subject of much speculation, mainly by myself, but it has been given the green light and could revolutionise the way the game is played. The SC is available in races of 20% distance or more and online, huzzah! Codemasters’ communications manager Andy Gray revealed players will “have control behind the safety car but there’ll be some restrictions.” It remains to be seen exactly how this will work, but players won’t spend long periods behind it as the red flag, another new inclusion, will be brought out for major incidents and the race be re-started. Exciting.
4. Co-Op Championship and online re-vamp
Yes, you heard. Co-Op Championship mode. This is a little teaser for it. The basic premise is you and a friend battling it out to be your team’s number one driver over the course of a season. If you’re in front, you’ll get upgrades first. If you’re behind, your friend will tease you cruelly. Plus you can save your game after each session, meaning if one of you has to rush off and can’t finish your current game you won’t be penalised – the last person to exit saves automatically. The rest of the online experience has had a re-vamp too, and Steve Hood (the chief designer of the game) has revealed that using driver aids like Traction Control and ABS will now carry weight penalties, so as not to disadvantage players with more skill that race without their hand being held. If the balance is right, it will make online mode playable again for a lot of demotivated online racers. Watch out, noobs.
5. Two player split-screen
The ability to battle a friend in the same room and on the same machine is a long overdue inclusion that so many modern racing games miss out. It allows gamers to be social again and enjoy racing each other without the need for broadband and Bluetooth headsets. Sure, you can’t itch your crotch as much as you would otherwise, but it’s a small price to pay for the return of the shared gaming experience. The only drawback is there won’t be an offline championship mode, which seems bizarre, but at least split-screen is in there and you can do your own pretend championship on pieces of paper like the good old days. Retro.
And that’s it. Kers and DRS didn’t even make it onto the list, which shows just how wet our pants are. We’re praying the game lives up to our own very inflated expectations and of course we will bring you a full review as soon as we can.