F1 2011 played on 360, 3DS and PlayStation Vita. It's the only preview you need

The 3DS version

First things first – the handling in the 3DS game is better than that of the PSP version of F1 2009. That game featured a strange quirk, where simply turning the car would significantly slow it down. That's been fixed now, although the basic feel of the car as it navigates corners is undeniably similar. 3DS' analogue slider is better suited to turning a car than the PSP Go's tiny nub, so controlling the car is easier, though still a handful trying to avoid the walls at Monaco.

Codemasters has stipulated that the front end should be consistent across all versions of the game. So the red and black-themed menu screens are in, offering here Quick Race as the first option. There are also challenges, as introduced in the PSP version of F1 2009, which are designed to suit short bursts of play, although there is a career mode too.
Handheld play has definitely been at the forefront of the designers' minds. In fact, you won't even find full-length grand prix events here. The most basic reason is that 3DS' poor battery life would likely struggle to deliver a two-hour GP complete with practise and qualifying (sad but true), so the game has been scaled back a little to deliver short, fun bursts of racing action.

That's not to say that it's an arcade game. This is still rooted in simulation, and the team has spent a lot of time on the AI coding, to make sure even the first corner of the game is smooth and realistic. The game's producer, Dean Scott, told me that F1 games are totally different to the likes of Ridge Racer, which has rolling starts and never all the cars on-screen at once. Mind you, Ridge on 3DS isn't the smoothest game around, so he hasn't got much to worry about.

Above: Sorry, this isn't a 3DS screenshot. There aren't any yet. But... erm... doesn't the 360 version look lovely?

I raced at Monaco, Silverstone and Albert Park during my hands-on. The scenery is excellent, although the 3DS' screen resolution and low-angled cameras do make middle-distance track and kerbs very jaggy. Games like the old DS version of Ridge Racer could get away with the low resolution DS screen because the graphics were so jittery anyway. Now the engine can be more solid, screen resolution does affect the experience.

Likewise, the 3D effect is tricky. Dean explained that with the open tracks and near-view car and cockpit views, too much 3D can be a bad thing. He agreed with my point that objects in the near foreground can look totally out of place within a 3D scene if the depth is set too high, so it's been carefully weighted to maximise its usefulness without appearing odd.

The TV Pod cam above the driver's head looks superb in 3D, with the car stretching away before you, although I found (as with most 3DS games) I had more fun with the effect turned off. It's personal preference, sure, but becoming a theme for me.

The game plays well, but it's clearly running on inferior tech compared to the Vita version...




  • bass88 - July 15, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    @GamesRadarJustinTowell LOL. Couldn't stop laughing when I saw that. Even though the mechanic was wearing a helmet, you could see and hear him going "Oh, fuck!"
  • Redox - July 11, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    Hey there! Since this is the only way I found to connect with Codemasters. I´ll try the upgrades many of us (or at least my bunch of friends that I play with) want to see in this sequel of the game. 1.- Is it possible to get out the pits on the correct time so we don´t have to wait for everybody to exit on career mode? 2.- I´ve read your post and really hope for an upgrade on penalization system By example, when the driver in front of you brakes too hard or on purpose. 3.- IS IT POSSIBLE TO DISPLAY WHO WAS THE FASTER DRIVER OF THE RACE? I´ve seen that despite you are not the winner (due to accidents or other players´ behavior) you can still profit of actually stay playing on the server because you are faster than the others and would feel pretty cool to show that. 4.- It would be really useful if we could be allowed to make a vote to kick someone spoiling our championships. Note that I know you can make your races private, but you can only make new friends by racing with them and when you are at the middle of a 10 race championship and find out a player that is pissed off or just AFK, sometimes that little democratic option could save the day. 5.- Having your country flag in the game is awesome. Could you include all the helmets like the flags? 6.- In-game voices (engineer, agent and interviewers) are really lousy. Spanish version is way more exiting to listen! That´s all for the moment. XBOX live Gamertag: Alf Redox
  • GR_JustinTowell - July 11, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    @Bass88 - he needs all four wheels for that, mate. @xxbrothawizxx I won't look any worse than the PSP version of F1 2009, but it's not much of a looker at the moment. Once it's optimised (code is very early right now), it should look good. TV Pod cam is already looking sweet.
  • Twonk - July 9, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    Do u want F1 to stay on Free to air TV? follow us to get the message out to the BBC.!/F1_For_Free
  • xxbrothawizxx - July 8, 2011 10:13 p.m.

    disregarding the low screen Res, how did the 3DS version look overall?
  • insertdisk - July 8, 2011 7:34 p.m.

    lolzorsz at the pointy finger present in the trailer. also loved 2010 and I am still playing it now but there are some issues with like how i finished fith in the championship on hard in a virgin racing car and was only offered a contract at lotus and hispania not even at virgin.
  • e1337prodigy - July 8, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    Sill playing F1 2010. Codemasters are brilliant at making Racers. They need to think about making GRID 2 or a Touring car game. Or at least something with regular cars to race on circuits.
  • fatguy19 - July 8, 2011 3:05 p.m.

    I hope they add a season mode this year instead of just carrer and single race. Its great starting from scratch with a lower team and building up but in my opinion nothing beats winning the world championship with your favourite driver.
  • CharlieFockstrot - July 8, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    Will there be any DLC only achievements like Dirt3. Hmm, smells like moneyz. I lost faith in codies after their complete failure to patch F12010.
  • RareHero - July 8, 2011 1:58 p.m.

    Honestly I wanted to like F1 2010, but the game breaking bugs (not all of which were patched) really turned me off and I pretty much gave up on it. Hopefully 2011 will be just as glitch-free as Codies says it will...
  • tacehtselrahc - July 8, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    As for mechanical failures, how many have there been - particularly engine failures - in F1 this year? - not many. Most reirements have been due to accidents, so adding more failures for the sake of it won't really add to the "realism".
  • bass88 - July 8, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    So, it's likely that the PS3 will receive an inferior port again considering no PS3 test footage was available. Anyways, great preview Mr. Towell. It should be more exciting this year with the new rules. I'm hoping that somehow Jenson Button manages to pull his boots up and deliver us more cracking victories like he did in Canada.
  • GR_JustinTowell - July 8, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    @Austin_SJ My hands-on time with Vita was rather brief, and they were only showing the quick race mode. But I believe it's also currently lacking the 2-hour GP mode. 3DS version definitely is. Vita version does feel a bit more like the big version than the 3DS one does, but is still the handheld iteration of the game and so essentially different. Looks like you'll need the 360 version if you want the full 'live the life' experience. It's still reasonably early in development though, so anything can change.
  • tacehtselrahc - July 8, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Have they fixed the Monaco pit exit? In F1 2010 cars come out of the pits straight onto the line for the first corner, instead of staying inside the yellow line which cuts the first corner and exits up the hill.
  • Austin_SJ - July 8, 2011 10:53 a.m.

    Brit isn't offensive. Also Justin, you didn't make it clear whether the Vita version is the same arcade style challenges as the 3DS or whether you'll get the full 2 hour Grand Prix like in the 360 version, can you clarify?
  • TheUsernameYouSelectedIsAvailable - July 8, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    Let me preface this with im a huge F1 fan and a huge racing game fan with all the kit. While I really enjoyed 2010 my biggest problem with it was you had to make your own excitement. To try explain, briefly, the game let u get away with too much off the track, restarting races, dropping settings, redoing quali etc. You had to force yourself into making a season fun you had to always be upping the difficulty so you just in the hunt, you had to stop yourself restarting cos you messed up and qualied 18th. But if you did that and then all your mates just restarted away and played it on easy with racing lines you ended up having to do 5 seasons to win the titles they had got in their first year in an HRT. The games def needs a pickup and play restart as often as you like arcade mode (like 2010 has in select a gp), maybe have an entire season option of that. But campaign mode should have a career to it, you should not be able to restart you should have extreme unexpected calamities, amazing new jumps in a teams abilities between races, you should have bias from the FIA, all the off track stuff that makes F1 great. Even if it is scripted to always keep you in the hunt but never let you walk away with it, build proper rivalry with another team and driver. The stuff they had there in the campaign was flat, it was a series of races which felt nothing more interesting than a cup challenge in gt5. The actual driving was amasing, but the racing and off track thrill and excitement was not, lets get it up to F1 standards (in campaign mode anyway, still must have a normal racing mode). Even if the campaign is staged give me a story full of drama.
  • screamingegg - July 8, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    The freeze bug better be fixed, it must be. I'm hoping this will be playable at Gamescom, the queue probably won't be as big as some other games.
  • WyldStalyon - July 8, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Also.. in all non-idiocy.. Great write up. I enjoy your deep regard for the genre.
  • DarkSynopsis - July 8, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    Loved 2010 and with the addition of co-op and some tweaks I could imagine ending up with 2011 :D
  • WyldStalyon - July 8, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    Ack.. "Offensive" not "offense." I'm not talking about ballfoot Moses

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