F1 2013 Review
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Dev: Codemasters
Genre: Racing
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 4/10/13

F1 2013 Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: As always, a faithful reproduction of the sport.
Bad: Aimed squarely at the F1 devotee, this isn't a game for the casual.
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

In September 2010, Codemasters answered every Formula 1 fan’s prayers, and brought the sport back to our consoles. The game was an instant hit, and proved that fans still wanted F1 to be a regular part of their gaming collection. Having now become an annually updated title, the studio have the unenviable task of making each new release a meaningful experience in its own right. Have they succeeded in making the latest version – F1 2013, an essential purchase for owners of the previous game? There’s only one way to find out. Pass me my helmet!

If there’s one reliable rule about annually updated games, it’s that their progress is more about refinement of existing gameplay, rather than a radical overhaul, and it’s no different here. If you’ve played any of the three previous F1 games, F1 2013 will be immediately familiar to you. The career mode is present and correct, and as customisable as ever. The clinically insane for example, can indulge their passion for punishing realism with full length races, in-car camera view, and manual gear changes, whilst the weaker amongst us can turn things down to a more manageable level. f1 2013 review 1The Season Challenge option within Career Mode offers a stripped down version of career, in which you have to better a self-selected rival over three, short-distance races. It’s enjoyable enough if all you want is a quick hit. The now familiar Grand Prix, Multiplayer, and Proving Ground modes also round out the list of expected features.

The actual racing is pretty much spot on. The cars are powerful, twitchy thoroughbreds, full of energy and desperate to charge off in to the distance. Handle them skillfully, and you’re rewarded with a race car that performs like no other. Variables such as weather and cold tyres play a realistic part in the action, and as a result, each race becomes a carefully planned series of events – don’t push too hard when your tyres are cold, manage your fuel load throughout the race, out-think the other drivers to gain the upper hand. The more hardcore you go with the settings, the closer the race gets to a game of chess. It’s incredibly rewarding for the thinking driver. The only aspect of the racing that isn’t quite perfect, is what’s going on around you. The opposing AI drivers aren’t quite as smart as their aggression demands, and car damage can feel a little flaky at times. But don’t let that put you off, as these things are but minor flaws in an otherwise excellent racing experience.

F1 2013′s big new feature is F1 Classics mode, which allows you to get behind the wheel of some of the sports most iconic cars. Four game modes are available; Grand Prix, Time Trial, Time Attack, and Scenario. The first allows you to race a full Grand Prix on either the classic circuits, or any of the modern circuits on the current calendar, and all the usual options for tweaking race length etc are there. Scenario Mode is all about putting you in the seat of a F1 car and competing against legendary drivers. There’s three scenarios in all, and although I enjoyed the third one most, each one is fun and challenging in its own way. Time Trial and Time Attack are pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into to those beyond mentioning that it does give F1 fans the rather interesting opportunity to compare old against new.

f1 2013 review 2There’s a choice of five cars in Classics Mode – two Lotus, two Williams, and one Ferrari, and each car is driven by the appropriate pair of drivers. Amongst the Legends found in the Classics Mode are Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, and Micheal Schumacher, and going up against them is an interesting proposition to say the least. Only two circuits make the Classics list; Jerez and Brands Hatch. Both circuits have been lovingly rendered, are great choices, but is two enough? No, not in my opinion – especially when you consider the list of circuits not chosen. To complete the look and feel, Classics Mode also features suitably altered UI elements and camera filters. It’s a little touch admittedly, but it does go a long way to helping you get into to character, so to speak, and it’s indicative of a mode that’s been created with a loving touch. Classics Mode is perhaps where Codemasters love for the sport shines through most.

The obvious question with Classics Mode though, is where is Ayrton Senna, and where is McLaren? I don’t know if there’s some sort of rights issues preventing them from appearing, or whether they’ll turn up in future DLC? What I do know, is that Senna and McLaren’s absence is a gaping hole in the Classics Mode. Prost and Senna’s rivalry was an unforgettable era for the sport, and one that I witnessed as a child, so I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was, not to see a single iconic moment between these two great drivers feature in the Scenario Mode. The cynical part of me feels that this lack of content is where the Marketplace menu option in the Classics Mode is going to come in to play, which is a shame, as the mode is great otherwise. It just needs more of everything.

(NOTE: As I finished writing this, two pieces of DLC adding extra classic circuits became available for Classics Mode. Make of that what you will.)

f1 2013 review 4

Having seen what Codemasters are capable of with GRID 2 earlier this year, I found F1 2013 to be a little visually underwhelming on the whole. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good-looking game – particularly when the weather comes out to play, but it doesn’t have the same sex appeal of its sister title. To be fair to the developers, most circuits on the F1 calendar aren’t particularly picturesque to begin with, so asking them to make Silverstone look sexy is perhaps a little too much to ask. Functional, not flamboyant is how I’d sum it up, and maybe that’s the way a F1 game should be. The “in-garage” bits are still the least impressive looking parts of the game, and whilst they’ve improved it with every edition, your garage still feels like it’s staffed by automatons rather than convincing humans. Finally on the visual front, Codemasters seem to have taken tips from Rockstar Games when it comes to text size, as far too much of it is bloody tiny. Please stop doing that, game developers!

f1 2013 review 3F1 2013′s biggest problem (if it is a problem), is the subject matter it seeks to replicate. Formula 1 is not the kind of sport you’d associate with the words “casual” or “knockabout”, and as a result, the game is very much the same. Every lap, even on the easiest difficulty setting, demands precision and accuracy, with the slightest mistake usually costing multiple places. F1 is a world where winners and loser are separated by tenths of a second, and F1 2013 reproduces that with crushing accuracy. If your usual flavour of racing game involves the odd bit of rubbing and a smattering of missed apexes, this game probably isn’t for you. Unless you’re short of coasters.

The game isn’t really aimed at casual racing fans though; it’s for the Formula 1 hardcore, and I’m pleased to say they are gonna love it. Each and every lap is a technical cocktail of breaking zones, tyre wear, DRS and KERS use. Deft control of the throttle and brakes is essential, with intimate knowledge of racing lines a must. This is a game for connoisseurs. For drivers who want to hone their car set up with lap upon lap during free practice sessions. For drivers who want to plan their tyre strategy with maniacal accuracy. For drivers that understand the beauty of a the perfect lap. Sure, it’s a lot more involved, a lot more technical than other racing games, but that’s what Formula 1 fans want, and it’s what Codemasters have given them – a pitch-perfect reproduction of the pinnacle of modern motorsport.

So what can we conclude about F1 2013? Well, take away the classics mode, and F1 2013 is very much as expected. It’s an updated version of what came before, and only you will be able to decide how important up-to-date stats and driver line-ups are to you. The actual mechanics of the racing are as slick as ever, and there are plenty of gameplay options to play around with, so tailoring the experience to how you want it won’t be a problem. Classics Mode is a little lightweight in my opinion, but that doesn’t stop it being as fun as hell, and therefore a worthy addition to the series. For owners of F1 2012, there probably isn’t much value here beyond the Classics Mode, but for anyone that skipped the last game, it’s time to return to the series.
- As always, a faithful reproduction of the sport.

- Plenty of options to tailor the gameplay with.

- The connoisseurs racing game

- Classics Mode is lightweight – where’s Ayrton Senna and McLaren?

- Aimed squarely at the F1 devotee, this isn’t a game for the casual.

As ever Codemasters have a produced a polished, well made racing game that’s sure to satisfy fans of the sport. It lacks a little value for owners of the previous game though, and Classics Mode needs more content.

Avatar of Chris Jacobs
Chris Jacobs


Old enough to remember the Atari 2600, I’ve seen my fair share of consoles come and go. Xbox and PlayStation owning PC convert. Also, father of two and amateur Hobnob enthusiast.
F1 2013 Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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