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Preview/Review

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Preview/Review

Post  EMW Raul on Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:16 am

I have just finished my initial session with the PS3 preview build.

I just love this game, even in this preview stage.

Handling is great (G25 here, will explain some issues regarding Fanatec GT2 later). Sound is... great. I use large 5.1 DTS setup and new effects you witness all the time (bumps of suspension, track bumps, plank sound, wind in high speeds, actual change of sound during DRS activation..). I so love it. Also, engines sounds almost perfect, with different peaches and roars.

Graphics are still in works (no screens allowed) but potential is just awesome. Tracks looks better 2X than in F12010 (detail, pavement, debris, run-off areas, details in stands, etc.). Cars are modeled with good accuracy (length and width related), but for final judgment I will sustain until the final review code.

Cockpit view is just beautifully immersive - and 100% usable, most importantly. Each wheel is now modeled accordingly to real-life and visible parts of interiors for every car also showcase differences. I like those small touches, like you can 't have OSD during cockpit-view (can't remember was it the same in 2010) but you have to rely only on on-wheel readouts (including DRS and KERS being activated/not).

Regarding DRS/KERS inclusion - only problem I come it is lack of *usable* buttons on G25. You can map everything everywhere, but I presume that DFGT owners will be the happiest ones (as far as PS3 related) since they can have everything under their thumbs. I had to get rid of rear-view and side-views in order to map DRS/KERS on two red buttons of G25. Since you really need D-pad for fuel mixture/tyre options (they are in), remaining red buttons on shifter-console are really inconvenient to use.

Such problems barely exist on Fanatec because of button-placement, while PC G27 users will probably be the happiest. I have no idea will all 6 buttons of G27 be mappable so that one is yet unanswered.

There are 6 tracks available in this build and while I'll sustain from naming them, I have to say that all look and feel spectacular. Also, improvement in rain effect is beautiful, especially from cockpit view. What I really likes most is the new physics. It just feel like a vast improvement over F12011 and I have to say that Codemasters Birmingham did their job perfectly. Central pivot point physics is finally abandoned and all movement comes from rear-drive with steering being on front wheels. Overall feel of tires on pavement have been severely improved - every compound feels just *perfect* in it's condition - and lateral movements and suspension modeling are finally made very convincing (especially suspensions) and I can really say this is the almost perfect pseudo-F1-simulation I've played ever. Grip levels are just as they *should* be and I am delighted with inclusion of engine-stall while accelerating. When going on uphill sections or recovering from traction-loss engine stalls for short period until torque kicks-in. I really like that effect, it is small but it adds to immersion and I find it very promising for close online battles in terms of deciding the positions when exiting the corners.

This build does not allow participating in Career mode (no online too, it is preview build at this point), but it allows entrance to new addition, Proving Grounds. Besides usual Time Trial, innovation is Time Attack mode, with *scenarios* in which (5 basic ones are available, more probably to come) you have to fulfill some *task*. In available scenarios you have to tackle certain course with predetermined car and in predetermined condition (light rain, dry weather, heavy rain, etc.). There are gold/silver/bronze challenges - along the lines of Licenses in GT series - and Leadeboards will also be supported here. Since you can adjust all driving aids in those scenarios, I hope that Leaderboards will be divided to assisted/non-assisted. I really love the challenge of Time Attach mode - running one of the tracks on rain and compensating for 0.500 through every next lap in order to catch the ghost - was a beautiful experience and great way to learn basics of the new physics, especially in wet conditions. I feel that in final game Proving Grounds/Time Attack mode will be something I will tackle in deep, before even starting Career.

Worth noticing is that game clearly identifies usage of G25 (or similar) wheel and I really hope that online modes will allow filtering/matchmaking by input-device (wishful thinking of course but I presume thousands of people would welcome such option).

I really love new OSD-graphics, they are informative and nicely designed. Although they are clearly not FOA-style, they offer all needed information, including having LG as official sponsor. I also love the voice-overs of your mechanic, they are informative and not very intrusive. You can choose to use them full/partial/off but I have no problem with them on *full*.

New OSD feature is Director Mode and it can be accessed anytime during the race through Pause menu. It is a graphic of current state of the race (drivers positions, tire compound used, number of pitstops, list of accidents, etc) and I find it very handy. At this build all menus during pit-stop are literally the same as in F12010, but I presume there will be some changes upon final build.

From Amar212 over at Neogaf.

I could write more now, but I will return to play. I managed to run one fast GP weekend and test some of the AI. Preview notes clearly says how this AI is not finally polished, but I really love what I've encountered. I have to note how I drive without any assists and with the wheel, so I can't be as fast as experienced controller players due to serious challenges of throttle and traction control with new physics. However I had a great time in managing AI on *medium* setting while I presume it would require great concentration and skill to finish in points on *hard*. I used Mercedes Petronas car and it was a blast.

Only *problem* I've encountered is now almost usual activation of central spring on Fanatec GT2. Same problem existed on Shift 2 and DIRT3 and even this preview version of F12011 have it. I tried every setting available (in-game options are also vast) but there was no way to turn of that nasty spring (not even through GT2's settings) which heavily influence low-speed physics and makes problem when accelerating/steering out of corner. However, using CSP pedals is drastically superior to G25's ones, since throttle control is almost doubled in performance. I really hope that issue with Fanatec wheels will be solved since I would really like to have surgical precision of throttle/brake control pas CSP pedals are providing.

This concludes my initial impressions, feel free to ask questions and I will be very happy to answer them later on. Cheers.
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EMW Raul
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