Another year, another spectacular season of Formula 1 racing, another Codemasters tie-in. F1 2014 is out next month on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, giving racing fans their authentic simulation fix without having to buy into any new hardware to calm the shakes.
Having tested the in-development project at Namco's UK headquarters last week, I can report that it is indeed an F1 racing game. I'm not sure what else really needs to be said on that front.
Despite being a relatively early build awaiting visual polish and optimisation, it's clear that the handling is still delightfully scalable and the experience feels authentically F1 thanks to the updated team rosters, cars and the addition of the Sochi Autodrom. New players can leap straight into a one-lap evaluation, which automatically grades their skill level and sets the rebalanced difficulty appropriately, whereas veterans can get to grips with ERS and the new fuel limits.
However, rather than slogging away at a full season (which can now be approached in marathon sessions or smaller chunks), I decided to revisit my favourite feature from F1 2013: the Scenario Mode. Newly expanded in F1 2014, it's another selection of bite-sized challenges that throw you straight into an exciting situation and forces you to overcome increasingly long odds -- many of which are drawn directly from recent racing history and feature some well-observed cutscenes whether you win or lose.
Once again, I suspect that completing your gold medal set is going to be one of the most compelling parts of the package. Since I'll be describing many of these challenges in detail, I suppose you could argue that we need a spoiler alert. Maybe.Click here to read more...
Welcome to the weekend... well, almost. The weather looks pretty terrible, so why not treat yourself to a few more games to sit in your Steam library courtesy of the Codemasters weekend promotion. As you'd expect from the veteran developer and publisher, the savings include some fantastic racing games and some deeply inconsistent stabs at other genres from middling studios. It's a great chance to pick up one or more of the Grid series (I'd recommend the original or Autosport, though Matt prefers Grid 2), the brilliant DiRT 3 or one of the annual F1 releases.
And just to be clear, no, Hospital Tycoon is not Theme Hospital. It's a buggy knock-off, though admittedly has its charms. I'd personally stick to the racers.
Thanks and full credit to jaystan @ HUKD!
Hospital Tycoon | GetGames | £0.87 (RRP: £3.49)
Before we go any further, let's make one thing very clear: this is NOT Theme Hospital. Though £0.87 is a saving compared to Steam's £3.49 RRP, Codemasters' hospital sim is blighted by a goodly number of bugs and released in an unfinished state. A shame, because it's humorous and engaging at times. Either way, there's a big difference between a good deal and a good game, and this is certainly an example of the former if you feel like taking the plunge.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Grid 2 is a cracking little racer, and well worth a look if you don't fancy splurging out on Autosport just yet. Tesco have it for under a fiver for both PS3 and Xbox 360, although the PS3 version appears to be unavailable at the moment. Xbox owners, buy with gleeful abandon!
Cracking spot by fps_d0minat0r.
The Humble Codemasters Flash bundle runs until 18:00 today, giving you a decent amount of videogame for £3.51. You can pay what you want for Overlord
Overlord & DLC, Operation Flashpoint: Red River, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Rise of the Argonauts, or beat the magic number to also receive DiRT 3, DiRT Showdown and Overlord 2.
Thanks to chyllyphylly @ HUKD!
Developer: Codemasters Racing
GRID Autosport doesn't have an in-car cockpit view. It has two in-car cockpit views.
Despite releasing a scant twelve months after GRID 2, Codemasters' latest track racer addresses every criticism that fans levelled at last year's mixed effort. And then some. Awkward drift-heavy handling has been replaced by tight grippy simulation. Instead of no driving assists whatsoever, we can access every optional helping hand imaginable, letting us scale the experience to our specifications. An idiotic story about social media gives way to a freeform campaign that Milestone would be proud of, complete with five totally different disciplines and AI that fights back, preparing drivers for an enormous multiplayer suite powered by the RaceNet sevice.
In short it's everything that dedicated racing fans wanted from GRID 2... but by tuning, tweaking and expanding upon practically everything in the package, GRID Autosport is also deeply impressive in its own right.
You could even argue that it's five track racers in one, spanning TOCA to tyre-shredding street showdowns.Click here to read more...
Developer: Codemasters Birmingham
Publisher: Codemasters | Namco Bandai
“It’s lights out, and away we go!” Yes, it’s that time of year again, as Codemasters deliver us their latest annual offering of Formula One racing - putting you in the driving seat against the most highly skilled and highly paid drivers in the world. And Max Chilton. And the big USP of this year’s iteration is that of classic cars and tracks to race around as opposed to just those on the current calendar. But will this addition and the package in general, see you racing to the shops, or leave you looking for an early retirement? And yes, the racing puns get worse.
Firstly let me be really clear on something. I place myself in a (what I hope is a fairly broad) demographic of gamers that love watching Formula 1 on TV, but when it comes to displaying that passion in an F1 simulator game, I’m useless. Seriously, I’m very, very bad at F1 games, and whilst this means that I won’t ever win the World Championship without some help (more later), it does also put me in a spectacular position to critique the game for the less skilled in F1 games, or those new to the genre or series. So strap yourself in, and prepare for the ride (told you).
Your first step into F1 2013 will be the famous ‘Young Driver Test’ that happens each year to find F1’s latest prodigal talent. It’s a way for the game to not only introduce you to the controls and mechanics of the game, but also provides a premise for unlocking teams that you can drive with in the main career mode. The better you perform in each of these tests, the more notice you’ll attract from better teams, giving you more options in Career Mode. It’s a great introduction, both with its pacing but also with its unforgiving policy of performance. If there’s anything newcomers can learn from the Young Driver’s Test, it’s that that driving in an F1 game is all about precision, control and skill. Any wayward braking or cornering will be punished through lack of car performance, and failing tests. It sounds hard, harsh even, and it is, but this is F1, and the sport itself is a specialist sport for a reason. F1 gaming veterans will eat this test for breakfast, with it offering little difference from previous iterations, but as a familiarisation exercise, it still works competently enough.Click here to read more...
We sat down (or rather stood up) with Codemasters Birmingham's Greg Pryjmachuk yesterday to have a chat about the upcoming F1 2013 and discuss how the development team are striving to balance out the simulation nature of the sport itself whilst still catering towards accessibility. We also had a natter about the Classic modes, new to this year's game; how Codemasters have improved the on-track action; and the delights that the new save game mechanism will bring to Grand Prix fans who want the full strategic racing experience, but don't always have two hours to spare.
Check it out after the jump.Click here to read more...
Developers: Codemasters Racing
Can we stop with this whole "narratives don't belong in racing games" business now please? I like context, it shows a modicum of imagination beyond the mechanical and, while story and setting should never be a smokescreen for poor gameplay basics, it provides something to connect to outside of racing your chums online.
The heyday of Codemasters' Race Driver series was a shining beacon for squashing narrative and racing together. Yes, it was often a bit cheesy, but it was also frequently highly entertaining. Such is the story of World Series Racing when it comes to GRID 2. You are a plucky young street racer, and Patrick Callahan is an utterly minted entrepreneur with dreams of starting a global league of racing carnivalia. He packs you off across the world to race in his livery, to drum up fans and sponsors, and to impress your fellow professional petrolheads across a range of driving disciplines.
There are 14 locations across three different continents, and every race type you could want from simple point to point speed fests in the hot Middle-Eastern sun, to snaking, drifting challenges on hazardous coastal roads where amateurish sliding can lead to fatal falls, to overtaking as many pickup trucks as you possibly can as a Parisian crowd roars your name. You'll race through five seasons with WSR, and the game, though, slow to start, explodes with mock social media drama, news bulletins and ESPN-esque presentations of your victorious feats. Rivals present themselves, and there's always someone to beat, new fans to be won, and that enigmatic millionaire backer of yours to impress.Click here to read more...
Codemasters' decision to not include cockpit view in their latest racing title -- GRID 2 -- has proven something of a controversial decision. The console crowd are, of course, stuck without it, but not so the PC lot.
A whole bunch of modders have been crafting cockpit cams for the racer, with a number of works in progress available to check out here. We've embedded a video above of one of the mods in actin, courtesy of siroja00. [via VG247]
Our comprehensive review is coming later this week, so stay tuned.
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (previewed)
It's been half a decade since Race Driver: GRID released, and in that time we've seen multiple instalments of racing franchises such as Forza, Need For Speed, and Codemasters' own DiRT series. In that time, much of what the original GRID has stood for has seemingly become rather unfashionable. "Narratives in racing games?!" critics and consumers scoff alike. "Whoever heard of such a thing?" You only have to look at the almost aggressively apathetic reaction to The Run to see that we've potentially moved on.
Of course, it could just be argued that we simply don't appreciate mediocre games.
"I think that's the key," says senior game designer Lee Roberts. "We've experimented with storytelling in racing games before in the Race Driver games, we know what we're about, and we know what it is that we want to be doing. Racing games will always be about competitive multiplayer and beating your mates, but we want to appeal to gamers who like to play offline too and give them something to connect with. So we have this story that puts you at the forefront of this new racing movement -- WSR -- and you'll meet characters and other racers along the way who'll become rivals, so we can try and replicate some of the feeling you get when playing online against someone you really want to beat."Click here to read more...
There's a preview coming this week, but we've found GRID 2 to be pretty impressive from what we've seen of it. No-one told Codemasters that you can't have a good racing game with a good narrative element to it, because they're shaping up to knock it out out of the park.
Codemasters have dropped two new videos for upcoming racer GRID 2 online today.
First up, the team hit up a Ford Mustang Boss 302 and then take it to the streets of Miami. In the second, the action moves to Dubai for a focus on the competitive Overtake mutiplayer mode.Click here to read more...