F1 2013 is the latest videogame from Codemasters, where you take on the role of a rookie driver embarking upon a Formula One championship career.
Whenever Codemasters launches a new Formula One game, we wonder how it could improve upon its predecessor. And while there have been minor rather than major tweaks (expect those in the 2014 game for next-generation consoles), F1 2013 has once again moved the series on.
You can now save your game mid-way through a session (rather than having to do it all in one go), and race for medals in 20 real-world scenarios (like overcoming a ten second deficit to beat your team-mate, or winning the championship at the last race in Sao Paolo). These are welcome additions, even if they seem trivial at first. It’s the addition of the classic tracks and drivers that we love though. Brands Hatch and Jerez look great with the sepia filter and retro speedos, and you can drive cars like a 1980 Williams FW07B or 1988 Ferrari F1-87/88C with legends like Alain Prost or Michael Schumacher behind the wheel. The Standard edition has 80s content, while if you pay the extra for the Classic edition, you’ll be given a further ten drivers, five cars and two tracks from the 1990s. The classic content also benefits from commentary from the great Murray Walker.
The game has incredible graphics, excellent realism, online and split screen multiplayer modes and plenty of difficulty settings. This helps to attract casual gamers and hardcore F1 fans, too, while the menus and career mode will be familiar to anyone who has played F1 2012. Anoraks will still complain that you can only drive one practice session in career mode (as opposed to three) but the tracks look stunning, and racing in the rain is quite spectacular with raindrops on bodywork and spray from cars in front.
As with the graphics and menu structures, there’s a noticeable (if subtle) difference to the way the cars handle, too. Casual gamers will find that the cars are easier to drive, but compared to F1 2012, it’s actually more precise, as you can get right on the limit and correct mistakes if you have quick enough reaction times. With a lot less downforce, no KERS and no DRS, driving a classic car is quite the challenge if you’ve just come out of a 2013 car, too.
F1 2013 is still one of the best racing games on sale – and that’s not because there aren’t any other Formula One games. Its realism, variety and fun factor will keep gamers of various abilities entertained, while the improvements address minor concerns from its predecessor.
Price: £49.99 (Standard Edition) £57.99 (Classic Edition)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Formats: PC, X360, PS3 Rating: Five out of five