Xbox 360 Review: F1 2011

Start your engines…

This is the first Formula 1 game I’ve played in years, in fact the last one I played was on the N64 when I was a kid and we played multiplayer where we were obsessed about playing chicken with F1 cars. It was only a few years ago where I actually got into F1, although there’s no chance of anyone but Vettel winning this season, it has been enjoyable. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the game, but was I surprised?

Indeed I was. F1 2011 has a deep career mode which you can customise to your liking, if you want to do a race as long as the actual ones then you can, you can even set multiple rounds of practise and qualifying to get used to the tracks and learn what you have to do to get higher up the grid, but it’s not easy as you only start out with average F1 cars from the likes of Force India. I got 1st in the first practise session by a clear margin, but it went downhill rapidly after that and I only managed to squeeze into the second qualifying round.

Even on the easiest difficulty, the career will challenge you. I tried the game with brake assists turned off and I struggled to even turn corners, there’s a large difficulty curve that will take some getting used to. You can even tackle career through co-op online, which is a nice touch if you have a decent partner…although you’ll need to use a VIP pass to access online features, which I’m dead against.

All the tracks, teams and cars from the 2011 season are obviously included, even one achievement requires you to win the Turkish GP as Lewis Hamilton as a homage to when he passed Jenson Button time after time only to be re-passed shortly after – until finally overtaking him for good and securing 4th place.

There are some pretty tough cheevos out there like winning the championship on the hardest difficulty, or winning a race without using KERS or DRS. It’ll take you around 15+ hours to get the full 1000, depending on your skill level. I personally will need a lot more since I’m pretty damn awful, I finished my first race in 6th but I caused a collision which gave me a 10 second penalty, putting me near the bottom of the leaderboard.

Visually, F1 2011 is a nice looking game. The tracks are authentic to their original design, while the cars look nice. If there’s one downfall, it’s that the backgrounds look a little bland and the rain effect is poor compared to other racing games. The sound of screeching tyres is nice in 5.1, while it’s good to have tips coming in from your radio…but it does feel soulless without any commentary.

The Verdict

F1 2011 is a great game that matches the challenge of the actual championship. It never stops being fun as you try and take the title for yourself, plus doing it alongside a buddy online is pretty good too.