F1 2011 Silverstone Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

We get to grips with F1 2011's new handling model and 16-player online modes.

Having already heard the chief game designer of F1 2011, Stephen Hood, talk up the game's focus on multiplayer, we've been curious to see the improvements for ourselves and check out the improved handling model. With the British Grand Prix taking place this weekend, there's no more fitting a track than Silverstone to go hands-on with the new two-player split-screen mode and 16-player online grand prix.

In addition to 16 online players, you have the option of adding eight additional AI-controlled cars to make up a full F1 grid. Before the start of a race, you can set up your assists such as braking and racing lines, as well as choose your preferred team to race as. There are also options for adjusting the performance of cars. You can choose to have each car perform identically--thereby levelling the playing field--or have each team's car perform as in real life, with tweaks and engine differences affecting speed.

Once you're in a race, you have further time to tweak your car in your garage, making adjustments to your tires, engine, or team strategy. After a brief drive down the pit lane, we made our way onto the grid. We chose to race as Ferrari, using a steering wheel setup that had been specially adjusted to mimic the feel of an F1 car. Racing on a full grid was an intimidating prospect, and indeed, the start of the race was complete chaos. Our competitors were all over the track, and trying to sneak up the grid from our starting position of sixth without hitting any other drivers was a near impossible task.

By the first corner, several cars had already spun out, giving us a chance to cut through on the inside and move up a few places. As the cars spread out, we were able to start working on our lap times, making use of a racing line overlay that let us know when to go heavy on the brakes and accelerate out of corners. Each of Silverstone's classic corners was instantly recognisable, from the gentle curve of Copse through to the steep angles of Club and Vale. We also experienced some significant improvements to the handling model, most noticeably with the car's suspension. It felt tighter, meaning it was less prone to suddenly spinning out when hitting a curb. There was also more feedback, allowing us to gain control of the car and keep it on the track, rather than being thrown off in an instant.

That's not to say keeping the car on the track was easy, and with all the assists off we found it difficult to get the car round corners. Those with real-life racing experience will find it an easier task, and it's a testament to the accuracy of the simulation that our competitors who were real-life racing drivers commented on how true to life the experience was. Our racing skills were somewhat less advanced, so we made do with playing on medium simulation settings, which still offered up a challenge but let us complete a lap without crashing off on corners.

Using a standard controller certainly results in a different experience, but not necessarily any better or worse than using a wheel. We tried out a split-screen race using a pad--racing split-screen felt as good as in our online race, though some concessions to the visuals have been made to accommodate, so you won't see reflections in the mirrors of the car, for instance.

Watch out for Hydroplaning on those wet tracks.

We walked away from our demo impressed with the improvements Codemasters has made to the game. There was a noticeable improvement in the handling, meaning it felt better and more accurate. The multiplayer modes were fun too, and split-screen is a great option for those who have friends over to visit and just want to have a quick blast around a track. F1 2011 is due for release on September 23 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Look out for a full review from GameSpot soon.

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Discussion

33 comments
GeorgeSyll
GeorgeSyll

I do not care about multiplayer and splitscreen. All i want is good physics,proper AI and detailed and accurate car settings. F1 2010 didnt have any of these,lets hope that F1 2011 will, but i doubt it because there's still absolutely no word about them wich means that Codemasters doesnt even care about such things. Please include photos of the car setup options in the full review, this time i want to know if i'm going to throw away hard earned money or not.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@leadlefthand I must admit I'm British and I've never even heard of 'hydroplaning'. Everyone knows it's aquaplaning!

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Sounds like a nice improvement on last years offering :D

leadlefthand
leadlefthand

Hydroplaning is the UK term? I'm confused because I always hear Murray Walker or Martin Brundle say aquaplaning during a BBC live F1 broadcast. I also hear aquaplaning from guys like Adrian Newey, Christian Horner and Ross Brawn. So I always assumed that aquaplaning was the one used in British vernacular.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Meh. Pictures can be buffed and edited as they wish. Gameplay damn it.. Gameplay!!

Dominicobaggio
Dominicobaggio

I used to love F1 by the legends microprose. Sank hours into that game with my brother. F1 2010 just felt poor though not sure what it was. I think others here hit the nail on the head with the damage comments. This game looks beautiful but its not got personality (well last years, lets hope this years is great)

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Codemasters surely have the experience to cater for both parties, Simulation and Arcade. Instead we will be forced to do a saftey car lap before the race to look and act like the real world but really does nothing to the race gameplay but used as a forced thought in the players brain to believe its simulating real world rules and effects .

serginho_scp
serginho_scp

These days I look at these codemasters titles supposed to simulate the F1 or Rally as simple attempts to make easy money and meet the objectives of the presentation of their quarterly business results. Comparing F1 2010 with the F1 simulation proposed by gran turismo 5 is like comparing the simpsons to family guy in terms of intelligence both in terms of the argument and dialogues, it is the difference between real fruit juice and a soft drink flavored with the same fruit. Having the exclusive rights to use the name and image of the teams from the F1 world championship will never be enough to create a good simulation. The simulation itself will also have to be something real, this was not the case in F1 2010. Cute little games that run at only 30 fps with an arcade driving style and completely devoid of interest to people who expected to experience a realistic driving simulation will never achieve this goal and will only frustrate the gamers and make them react and avoid the titles released by this company. there are better products on the market codemasters !! improved products rather than embellished products are needed if you wish to survive in more than only the short term.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Nascar racing 2003 was the last and best of any Nascar Racing made after it, EA ruined what could of have been bettered if Papyrus could of kept the rights. Papyrus had passion to make Nascar awsome, EA just put a whole bunch of rubbish together with no effort to wow its users. NCR 2003 had a awsome physics model, plenty of smoke, great crashes and damage model + hardcore engine grunt that even sounded like a Nascar at the time. NFS Shift 1 has the closest to true life sound of its realworld counter parts. Shift 2 sounds pathetic and more like a racing video game put together quickly with no passion, balls and grunt, the physics are cool enough that the cars can flip n roll but it is uncool when cars roll unrealistically and repeatively nearly the same way each time during a crash. They crashes act more like a speed boat on water. I am guessing Codemasters are doing the same here. Overly pretty weather, pretty sunlight, water spray effects etc seemed most focused on which are used to manipulate simulation as accurately real. It is obvious the crashes will be improved but will end up unjustifed compared to what the back of the game box will say. 'noticeable improvements' is probaly all that will be said but nothing striking or blow us away. Burnout Paradise at least gave hope for crashes in any future race game and at least no crash looked the same, but nothing yet can compare to Burnout Paradise crashes. NFS Hot Pursuit nearly had it right, it has been a long time since any developers physics model was accurate as a standard. NFS 1 was awsome for burnouts and line lockers.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

I cant see the point in replicating Formula One as a video game if the damage model and physics are not true to life. These bumper cars wreck what the game tries to simulate and performs well the most- the weather. Just because the linear weather system can change in variable realistic time and way does condone this enough to call it a simulation after all Simulation does mean to act fake. a simulation should imitate the internal processes and not merely the results of the thing being simulated, time to the time movement. Crashes signify some of the most starteling and spectacular moments seen in racing.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

On the paper and preview it seems like so much big improvements that they all talked about in the first one 'wow mirror reflection',so standard in any game. MicroProse Grand Prix 3 had better crash effects and simulation. So apart from a few trickles of flash graphics like water effects etc etc .. They are still trying to better the MicroProse Series and have mostly in the graphical department and many other improvements that i wont bother to say and compare to past out dated retro technology that simulated a more true form car physics and handling days .. Its not like codemasters have any competition to be king developer of F1 video games. Give the license to many publishes so we can have a choice of F1 games to buy.

oajlu
oajlu

plz add noob mode, so ppl can drive it like arcade race in dirt 3.

alexbartle
alexbartle

trebl1: We in the UK refer to it as aquaplaning

trebl1
trebl1

Mutley89: Aquaplaning must be the American term, in Canada, and likely UK, we call it hydroplaning... never even heard of Aquaplaning before...

Georgio17
Georgio17

I wish we could create our own tracks in this game or features that unlock cars and legends

walidsbx
walidsbx

I'm not even a F1 fan but this looks quite impressive - and it has splitscreen!!! I might give F1 2010 a go.

mutley89
mutley89

Hate to be pedantic but it's known as aquaplaning not hydroplaning.

nyran125
nyran125

i only run these games on DX9. Sometimes DX11 just isnt worth the BS. The games still look great on DX9 and the performance is so much better.

jiarui87
jiarui87

all codemasters games currently like dirt 2 and 3 or f1 2010 are all buggy and have plentiful of dx11 issues if u ask me.. i bot these games not to force dem to run in dx9

LeoLex_
LeoLex_

Im getting slightly worried now, nothing seems to be getting done about the damage in the game. This being the only thing that needed looking into really, and would be a great shame if there wont be any improvements. Kind of ruins the whole feel of the game when damage isnt realistic, fingers crossed.....

steven141
steven141

I hope the damage has been enhanced so it isnt only the tires and wings that get damaged. I want the engine to degrade and whatnot. Looks good though and i will definately be getting it.

FstrthnU
FstrthnU

they'd better not simulate Vettel's Red Bull car accurately Surely they'd want to give Ferrari or Mclaren-Mercedes a chance ;)

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

The racing and car handling was fun in F1 2010 but the career mode was very dull and boring. I hope that will be improved this time with a variety of soundtracks. Other than the roar of the engines, I want to hear and feel more out of this game.

TonnFool23
TonnFool23

The cover for this game is the same as last years isn't it? Some man with the helmet on with his arms out..?

Kinthalis
Kinthalis

I liked the PC version of 2010, but the game was definitely flawed, and the multi-player was a joke. I'm hoping this time they get it right! The PC version just looks and feels better (thanks to 60 FPS) than the console version, specially when playing it like a sim (with a decent wheel)

alterzero
alterzero

I got the 2010 version for PC and I didn't play it much, I find it kind of boring, driving is so hard in this game, I may give this one a try to see if it's worth something!... I'd like to see a GRID 2 from Codemasters, that one doesn't bore me easily!... ^_^

Zeller--
Zeller--

This looks really good. As an F1 fan I'm looking forward to playing this game :)

thani48
thani48

its gonna be on the ps vita

PC-RUL3S
PC-RUL3S

@Mark Walton It's coming out on the PC also.

blackwingzero
blackwingzero

Looks like another potentaily great title from Codemasters.

buying1999
buying1999

This developer had better be dumbing down those water effects, weather effects, and transparencies for the ps3 version or it's only going to get about 20 fps.