F1 2010 Bugs
It's impossible to please everyone, obviously, but the backlash from certain sectors of the F1 gaming community has been substantial. All over the world, people wearing official Ferrari baseball caps are grinding their teeth together in a frenzy at some of the perceived injustices they have had to suffer at Codemasters’ hands. There are a lot of bugs to get irate about.
One of our favourites involves having to wait for all the other cars that have gone in to pit at the same time as you to finish repairing before you can leave, meaning the usual couple of seconds for a pit stop can turn into nearly half a minute. The bugs affect the AI too though, so at least it's not picking on the player unfairly, but the news still hasn't gone down too well. Word is that a patch is on the way, but that’s sort of besides the point, isn’t it?
There’s the issue of 'faked' lap times too, which has provoked a huge backlash from avowed fans. This manifests itself in both the Practice and Qualifying sessions, where the lap times of AI cars often bear no relation to the actual performance of the cars. For example, if you follow Lewis Hamilton around and he laps at exactly the same time as you, you might then discover that the actual registered time of his lap is significantly different to what you've just seen with your own eyes. It's all to do with keeping a realistic spread of times during these sessions and Codies vehemently deny it happens during the actual races themselves.
Is this fun? No.
During the time spent with the game, this particular bug was indeed noticeable during the pre-race sections, but once you actually get into the race proper, it doesn't seem to happen. Some have claimed it does, but only after some extremely dubious testing that they claim to have carried out. Even if it does happen to a very limited degree, which is far from proven, it is entirely possible you'd never actually notice it. A matter for personal taste, then – if it bothers you, consider waiting for a potential patch, although it seems to be a fundamental design mechanic, so breath should not be held.
Other strange omissions include the lack of a camera to watch the AI cars racing around, plus proper split times for the AI vehicles. Curiously, in a game so focused on trying to recreate the off-track experience of being a part of the F1 world, there's very little scene-setting other than the basic menu sequence in the 'paddock' and the rubbish press interviews. There’s no animated podiums, no custom helmet designer and, on the track itself, no safety car (that could be seen).
All of this becomes irrelevant once you get into the multiplayer, where there’s no AI (although they can be used to sub for absent humans) and so no issue of faked times. While the range of options isn’t vast you can still go from full-on grand prix weekends of varying lengths – including 100 per cent weekends for the clinically insane – to short races of only a couple of laps on any of the available tracks, and as any of the licensed drivers in the game.
Yay for Force India!
Multiplayer races can be set-up to allow for racing aids or to be fully realistic affairs with no help. It's easily the most interesting part of the game, as driving against AI opponents can only give you so much enjoyment. There's nothing like pitting yourself against other human racers, with their foibles and sometimes frightening abilities, because defeating them gives you much more of a feeling of accomplishment than a faceless AI. It's somehow more compelling to jump into a quick multiplayer race than to do the same offline, maybe because the AI cheats.
Add this to the incredibly unforgiving time trial mode (which invalidates your lap time if you so much as glance off the track) and you've got a good, solid package that provides plenty to get your teeth stuck into. It would have been nice to have some classic modes – for example, veteran drivers, cars or tracks – to play around with, but as a representation of the sport as it is now, there isn't anything out there that beats F1 2010.
It seems that less hardcore fans will get the most out of this, with the more … enthusiastic ones spending their time being enraged by omissions and perceived oversights. However, there's no denying that, when you're in the race, it's as fun to play as any of the DIRT
s or other Codies racers. While questions can be raised about the puzzling lack of F1 world-related frills, and yawnworthy press conferences, there's very little wrong with the actual racing, which is of course what people are buying this for.
If you can get over the problems that have been raised and are patient enough to wait for the bugs to be ironed out, there's a superbly enjoyable racer here. It's accessible, easy to pick up and play and looks pretty good as well. Fix some of the issues and F1 2011 (there's no reason to think there won't be one) should be an absolute classic. It only just falls short this time out.