Codemasters F1 racing series is the definitive video game simulation devoted strictly to Formula One racing. F1 races are structured around single seat cars built to conform to a certain set of specifications. They are considered the fastest racing cars in the world, with top speeds of around 220 mph. The sport is as popular among European audiences as NASCAR is here in the United States.
F1 2011 is the latest entry in the series from Codemasters' Birmingham studio. Last year's entry did well with critics and fans alike, and like any sports-based video game, the new entry will implement a range of new features that mirror changes made to the sport in the past year. In the case of F1, a large part of those changes involve new sets of vehicle specs.
The new game's cars will be equipped with KERS, which is short for Kinetic Energy Recovery System. In functional terms, this amounts to a horsepower boost using a process that stores kinetic energy as the vehicle brakes. KERS first popped up in the 2009 Formula One season, but it didn't return last year. Now it's back.
F1 2011 cars will also come equipped with the DRS (Drag Reduction System), a new feature that was introduced this year. DRS involves an adjustable rear wing on an F1 race car, which cuts down on drag. Additionally, the game will feature new options for selecting tires, as Pirelli replaces Bridgestone as the supplier for the 2011 season.
Improvements have also been made to the game's visuals, for everything from the cars and tracks themselves to the amount of action happening in your garage. Codemasters' E3 2011 demo showcased some of these upgrades with comparison shots pulled from the F1 2010. The improvements are evident everywhere, from the tracks and cars to fine details on the steering wheels and tires. We didn't get to see it in action, but post-race press interviews have gotten a similar boost, both in terms of graphical fidelity and the range of options available.
The game also gets a few new multiplayer modes, starting with support for two-player split-screen play. These same-system multiplayer races will benefit from a full 24-racer grid of AI-controlled opponents. There's also an online play mode for up to 16 players, with the rest of the racers being filled out by AI drivers, same as the two-player splitscreen mode. You can even grab a friend and play in a co-op championship mode, reaching for team objective and saving your progress after each race.
This is pure simulation, but Codemasters has the right idea if that's your thing. F1 2011 drops the "car porn" seen in the Gran Turismo series by the side of the road, focusing instead on creating an experience that puts you in the shoes of an F1 driver on every level, from the races to the grand-scale career planning and day-to-day public relations. It's not going to be for everyone, but there's a lot of content here to appease Formula One fans.