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Gaming Review

'F1 2013' review (Xbox 360): Fast enough?

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Released on Friday, Sep 27 2013

F1 2013


Release Date: October 4 (Europe), October 8 (North America)
Platforms available on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Developer: Codemasters Birmingham
Publisher: Codemasters
Genre: Racing


Codemasters' yearly F1 releases have been getting better with each iteration. With F1 2012, the developer had the look, feel and handling of the sport pretty much nailed.

Now comes F1 2013, complete with a new Classic mode that lets you race iconic Formula 1 cars from the past.

In theory, this new mode should be enough to make the game a much more persuasive package, but it isn't. What's there is fantastic, but there just isn't enough of it.

F1 2013

'F1 2013' comes in two packages - the Classic Edition includes more historic cars and tracks



Boot up the Classic mode from the game's menu and Murray Walker's voice will immediately introduce you to the setup. It's a very neat touch and left us wanting more of Walker throughout the entire game.

In Classic mode, the game's menu switches from the gloss white garage used for the modern cars to an older-looking pit stop. It's a touch inaccurate, as the majority of F1 garages in the 1980s, where most of the old cars come from, were far more modern.

The whole game is also given a brownish sepia tone in order to build up that retro look.
    Classic mode should be enough to make the game a much more persuasive package, but it isn't. What's there is fantastic, but there just isn't enough of it.
Again, Formula 1 on television in the 1980s wasn't like staring at a Victorian photograph. It was a blurry blown-out mess, none of which seems to have made its way into the Classic mode look and feel.

But the real cardinal sin is the lack of Ayrton Senna and his iconic McLarens. Having drivers like Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill is definitely good, but no Senna just feels wrong. The name is apparently licensed to another video game.

Those who opt for the standard version of F1 2013 have just two old tracks to choose from, Jerez and Brands Hatch.

F1 2013

Classic mode has potential, but lacks enough to do



The latter reminds us just how mad Formula 1 used to be, with incredibly fast corners and an undulating track that gets more disorientating the quicker you go.

The stock F1 2013 features just five classic cars to drive. Alain Prost's 1980 Williams is there, as well as Michael Schumacher's dominating Ferrari F1-87.

If you go for the Classic Edition of F1 2013, you get two extra tracks, the infamous Imola and Estoril. Unfortunately, we didn't get to test out these, which is a shame as the incredibly intimidating Imola would've been fascinating to drive around.

The Classic Edition also benefits from six extra cars, including Eddie Irvine's 1999 Ferrari as well as Prost's Williams of the same year. Codemasters has also promised Niki Lauda's 1970s Ferrari to be added to the game.

A hat tip does have to be given to Codemasters for the handling and feel of the classic cars. It's absolutely spot-on.

F1 2013

The handling in 'F1 2013' is as good as ever



What there is in F1 2013's Classic mode is fantastic, minus perhaps the sepia effect, but there just isn't enough to play around with. Unlike the main single-player side of the game, this is more a 'hop in' mode that can be dabbled with for a couple of hours of fun.

If you were going to buy the game just because of this mode, then you might be disappointed as it feels like it could be released as DLC for F1 2012.

Switch back to the modern version of F1 2013 and the game becomes much more of a treat. The first big difference is in the visuals, which are greatly improved over last year.

Your mechanics in the garage pre-race still look like a bunch of androids, but Codemasters has got the rest pretty much spot-on.

Firstly, the colour palette is a lot more vibrant. Combine this with a touch more motion blur and the whole thing turns into a bit of a spectacle.


The sense of speed is far greater than previous years and it's not uncommon to get moments when it is genuinely frightening. The main straight at Spa for example, full throttle in the rain, is very scary indeed.

Handling models have also been changed slightly. F1 2013 is a lot more forgiving than the previous game, making it easier to get quick lap times in.

It's still hard to get pole position, though, as it requires a total knife edge lap to do. Still, it's very satisfying when you manage it.

AI is less crash-tastic than it was in previous games and genuinely poses a challenge without creating overly unfair situations.

Should you slip up, though, you of course have the ability to rewind time and have another go, as is the norm with most racing games now.

F1 2013

Racing against AI feels more competitive



Multiplayer is more a streamlining of what was already there rather than adding anything drastically new, unfortunately.

It's nice to see the Young Driver mode making a return in F1 2013. It has been expanded even further for this game, giving you more training before being thrust into the full F1 season.

What we like best about the new feel of F1 2013 is how different it is to the Classic mode's handling engine.
    The sense of speed is far greater than previous years and it's not uncommon to get moments when it is genuinely frightening. The main straight at Spa for example, full throttle in the rain, is very scary indeed.
While the older cars require you to be careful with the throttle as they feel utterly unhinged and accelerative, the new F1 cars are like driving on rails. It's especially fun trying to get close to lap times in new cars by using older ones.

The new scenario mode is an interesting concept. It exists in both the classic and modern sides of F1 2013 and sees you being put through various situations that a driver might see in their career.

Some are as simple as fending off faster cars and trying to hold position, while others require you to nurse a car home. They definitely work, but can just as easily occur during a full Grand Prix season.

F1 2013

'F1 2013' is a must-have for anyone obsessed with the sport



It's the little things that add up to make F1 2013 feel a cut above the previous game. Revised handling, more gameplay modes and the new tyre and rule changes definitely add a lot of depth.

The problem is that it's just not quite enough for us to think the game worth it if you already own F1 2012. The F1-obsessed will absolutely love it, as will those who are new to Codemasters' racing series. But if you weren't sure about making the upgrade, then perhaps hold fire.

Codemasters has promised it is 'cooking up a storm' for F1 2014 on Xbox One and PS4. Next-gen strikes us as being even better suited to the sport. Who knows, Vettel might not even win the championship next year (he will), making F1 2014 sound even more special.

In the meantime, F1 super fans will love this game. We hope to see more from Classic mode as time goes on, but it's a good start. Time to get racing then.


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