F1 Race Stars Preview
If you were one of the 50-odd-thousand people who attended this year’s Eurogamer Expo then chances are you wouldn’t have heard of, or sought out F1 Race Stars as a game you’d choose to play. The great thing about Eurogamer is that you can play a whole host of games that you don’t know much, or anything, about.
I’d heard of F1 Race Stars in the run-up to the expo, but knew little more than your average gaming Joe. The game is a far cry from it’s big older brother F1 2012, as it aims to bring the fun back into racing games and will instantly be compared with classic arcade racing games of years gone by like Mario Kart and even Crash Team Racing – which was awesome. It uses the full supplement of race teams and drivers from 2012’s current F1 Championship, so you’ll be able to race as all your favourite drivers but in a more relaxed environment. The graphics give the game a cheesy, not-taking-itself-too-seriously look that go hand in hand with the gameplay. The cartoon graphics remind of those caricature drawings that you had done of you when you went to a Spanish beach on holiday as a kid – the ones where your head is massive compared to your body? Those. But for F1 Race Stars this is perfect to go alongside its fun gameplay.
I always fancied myself as a pretty awesome Mario Kart player, so when I saw F1 Race Stars screens had two controllers I had to challenge fellow GameJar-er Joey to a race. Safe to say I beat him but that’s not the reason why I was playing (it was totally the reason why I was playing).
It was a 3-lap race and I had chosen to drive as Jenson Button in his very slight looking McClaren – it’s here I was instantly comparing the game to Mario Kart, which isn’t a bad thing as they are an exciting and popular series in their own right. I gambled that if you timed your acceleration from the start line with some pin-point pressing of the RT button that you’d get a boost – I was very satisfied that I was correct.
As you drive round the course full of ludicrous jumps, 90 degree turns and oncoming traffic you also come across those all-important floating boxes that give you a weapon of mass destruction. These seemed to arrive in a variety of different colours: teal, yellow, red etc… with each having a different affect. Unfortunately during the race it was impossible to tell what each weapon did, so it was simply a case of deploying it as soon as possible and wish for the best. Though sending Joey’s car into a bubble floating a few feet off the ground was a pleasing sight.
One of the game’s more original features is that when you’re battered with randomly fired weapons your car takes damage – to a point where it needs to be repaired or you’ll find yourself quickly dropping back places on the grid. The fact that your car is damaged is made all the more obvious when your tyres look like they’re stumbling home after a night out and various springs and cogs are ejected from the rear of your car. Along the circuit I raced on there were three pit-stops that you could pull in at to have your vehicle repaired. Taking these slight detours thankfully doesn’t hinder your progress all that much, making strategy for their timely use an important element to the race.
Alas the race was soon over and I took great pride in beating Joey. I think any game you can relate to Mario Kart is great as there is nothing like it for non-Nintendo systems as things stand.
F1 Race Stars is scheduled for release in November 2012 by Codemasters Racing for Xbox 360/PS3 and PC. The game promises to be a fantastic split screen experience with friends, with plenty of variety and career play for single-player modes. The gameplay is fun, fast and over the top and will no doubt appeal to the many fans of Mario Kart and Formula 1 alike.