F1 2012 review: high-speed racing action hits the Mac

There’s been a dearth of racing action on the Mac in recent years, but F1 2012 brings high-speed racing back onto the Mac with a bang. The game covers all 20 of the main Formula 1 circuits from the 2012 season, such as Silverstone and Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, and allows you to pit your skills against a range of top drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

You can ease into the action with the ‘young driver’ tutorial mode, which guides you through the basics, starting with simple acceleration and braking in a straight line, then moving on to more advanced challenges such as hair-pin turns and driving in wet weather.

There are six different game modes to choose from, with the main game centred on Career mode, which takes you through the full 20 races of the 2012 season. As well as simply aiming to win each race you can gain access to new components in order to improve performance, or try and nab a contract with another team.

There’s also a shorter Challenge mode that includes a series of ten races over five laps in different weather conditions, or the Quick Race mode that throws you right into a single, flat-out race against all the other drivers.

You can race on all 20 Formula 1 circuits

More experienced players can move on to the Proving Grounds, which includes three additional game modes. Time Trial and Time Attack allow you to improve your personal best times on either a single track, or on different tracks with varying weather conditions. Finally, there’s Champions mode, which pits you against six former World Champions in a series of different races where factors such as the weather and your choice of tires will all play a part.

There’s a good set of multiplayer options too, including a split-screen mode that allows you to race against a friend, and a network option that allows up to 16 people to play on a home or office network. You can also play online against other Mac gamers using the GameRanger online service.

The 3D graphics aren’t quite state of the art, lacking the detailed textures and flying debris that we’ve seen in some other racing games. However, the cars handle really well and the graphics fly by smoothly as you’re hurtling round the bend and trying to overtake your rivals. The game also makes good use of sound effects, with revving engines and screeching brakes adding to the realism and excitement.

I had no trouble playing at high speed on my almost-three-year-old iMac, but the game is rather picky about the type of graphics card that you need so you should definitely check the requirements listed on Feral’s web site before buying.

OUR VERDICT

There’s a lot of competition from iOS racers these days, but if you want the full-on challenge of F1’s championship season on your Mac then F1 2012 is an exciting and demanding racing game that is just perfect for playing with friends after an evening down the pub.

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