|Min OS X: 10.7|
Mac OS X: 10.7.5 |†CPU: 2 GHz Intel | RAM: 4 GB | HD Space: 12 GB | Graphics: 512 MB, (ATI): Radeon HD 4670; (NVidia): GeForce GT 330M; Intel HD Graphics 4000
Ever feel like strapping yourself into a Formula 1 car and seeing what it feels like to go a couple hundred miles per hour around a track? If youíre reading this, Iím guessing your chances of doing so in real life are about as low as mine (and youíre not as lucky as Iain Banks). But fear not, because F1 2012 (F1) is ready to take you as close as you can get on a computer. Featuring new modes of gameplay, improved graphics, and more options than you can shake a stick at, F1 is ready to steal hours of your time as you test your mettle against the best open-wheel racers in the world.
Ported to the Mac by Feral Interactive (I should have that opening phrase as a text snippet for these reviews) by way of Codemasters, F1 marks yet another franchise returning to the Mac, this time after a brief absence of one year. As with other yearly sports franchises, you may wonder what there could possibly be to add. Well be prepared, because there are a slew of new features adding hours of unique gameplay to your experience. In addition to updating the game so the information is current for 2012 in terms of drivers and courses, a new Career mode lets you start from the beginning, learning the basics of open wheel racing and working to earn your way onto a racing team before taking on the best drivers in the world. F1 also allows you to jump in a race on any track, pit yourself against specific drivers, and many other options sure to give you your need for speed fix.
If I were to describe every aspect of gameplay, well youíd stop reading and I wouldnít be close to done. Suffice it to say, for starters, that F1 provides options in every aspect of setting up the game in addition to playing it. It can be an arcade racer where the game takes care of shifting and many other car details or an ultra-realistic racer allowing you to pick and adjust tires, engine performance and control every aspect of your car on the racetrack.
As a first time open-wheeler, I tended more towards the arcade mode, needing the hand holding to have any chance of getting around the track in one piece. As Iíve done before in similar situations requiring the manual dexterity of a younger person, I also called on my son to help put the game through its paces. And we started at the beginning so we could learn what we needed to try not to embarrass ourselves. And for any other newbies among you, I recommend you start the same way, from the beginning in Career Mode. Youíll learn the basics and even have helpful markers on the track to show you where you should be aiming and when you need to be slowing down and speeding up.
Even in the simple mode there can be a lot going on in the car and on the track. While the Logitech gamepad controller was recognized immediately, you really needed to know and use most of the buttons, which was a little difficult for my aging brain. When my son took the controls he had no problem and was immediately noticing things I had missed, such as markers indicating recommended speeds and when to engage special modes to help maximize your speed and stability. As other reviews of the game have pointed out, this type of racing is not always what you might expect. While you certainly do get to go very fast at times, much of the strategy involved learning how to take the turns, and going surprisingly slowly while doing so. The game does a nice job easing you into the process and gradually increasing your challenges before letting you loose to join a racing team and test your mettle against other racers.
At that point, again in Career Mode, you start the 2012 F1 season as it actually occurred, on the tracks and against the racers, with certain goals set besides trying to win the race (which youíre unlikely to do unless your more experienced in this game). This way you can make progress and gain experience even while finishing well back in the pack. Again the game provides many levels of complexity and realism; you have a team press agent, get messages and work with your crew to try and improve your standing and keep your team happy.
And again, if this gets to be too much pressure and you just want to race, you can do that to, with options. You can pick a track and do time trials, race against accurately modeled F1 racers or race against real players in multiplayer. If Career Mode and the other options donít keep you interested, then F1 racing just isnít for you, because I donít know what else they could offer you (though the presumably in development F1 2013 may show me).