The last time we sat and played a Grand Prix manager-type game, Damon Hill was World Champion. The idea of running a Grand Prix outfit, upgrading the car and even playing around with a colour scheme is one that we’ve wanted to revisit since, and thanks to Codemasters Racing we’ve been able to – and how.
In F1 Online: The Game, an addition to the racing license that has already brought us F1 2010 and 2011, you will be able to form your own team, making the calls to develop your own personal franchise and improve your car’s performance on the circuit.
Acting as the team boss, you will be in charge of building and developing the headquarters into a world class motorsport facility, designing your own livery, helmet and logo and researching new components for the car, using a real-time development engine that takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 6 hours.
Split into four main areas – Research, Production, Commercial and Race – each part of your HQ will need time devoted to it to get the most out of it, while also all being linked together. Want to install a new rear wing for example? First you’ll need to get the blueprint (Research), then actually make it (Production) before fitting it to your car (Race).
The way the game progresses and opens up is very, very impressive. Your first car starts in the U class, then moves up to C, B, A and finally S. With 9 areas on the car that you can splash your in-game cash on, there are plenty of combinations of high- and low-downforce parts that can make your car suited to the tracks Codemasters have invented.
Want to make your own colour scheme? No problem. There are thousands of varieties of designs and colour combinations to give your car that unique look. That also goes for helmet designs too – all unlockable through earning in-game money and completing certain objectives.
But, that’s only one part of the game. Built into the gameplay is the opportunity to actually race your car against fellow players online, calling on a novel top-down racing view and unique driving controls using your mouse. And don’t worry if you’re end up yearning to race as some of the best racing drivers in the world – the option to race on Formula One licensed tracks as your heroes is also in there.
All this fun is directly linked to. Complete objectives as, for example, McLaren, and you’ll be gifted with in-game money that can be transferred to upgrading your fledgling outfit.
In essence, F1 Online: The Game is really 2 games in 1. If you want a quick, arcade type experience then racing with the official teams is a quick fix over, say, a lunch break. If you really want to invest some time in building a team from scratch – and there has been high demand for such a game for nearly 15 years – then it’s perfectly suited for you.
F1 Online: The Game should be launched during Summer 2012. For updates, see their home page.