Review: 'F1 2011' (PS Vita) - Running On Empty

I'll confess to being unfamiliar with the world of Formula 1 racing, which in part explains why THQ/Codemasters' F1 2011 ultimately held no appeal for me after my time with it on the Vita. But the dry presentation and strictly racing sim feel of the overall package did its part as well, and it never feels like F1 2011 ever gets out of first gear.


It's not for lack of modes that F1 2011 fails to ignite any sort of interest (the lack of speed or gloss has that handled quite nicely). There are an abundance of ways for you to race your small car with the big wheels including a Career mode using your own player profile over multiple seasons, Championship which presents one season over multiple tracks, Challenges, which allow you to rank up based on your skill level, Time Trials for those of you into beating the clock, Grand Prix where you can participate in that event as one of the game's famous racing teams, and if you just want to get right into it, Quick Race.

It's not at all a bad lineup in addition to the game's three multiplayer modes (Race, Time Trial, and custom vehicle Constructor Face-Off).

Where F1 2011 loses me is in its utterly dry presentation of the modes and lack of any real instruction or introduction to the Formula One newbies out there like myself. Where's the visual pizzazz to get me psyched about this style of racing? Extensive profiles of famous racers or maybe live updates about the current season? I know I'm just rattling off embellishments and additional features, but that's simply because F1 2011 is stripped of anything that might enliven the experience (that is, again, unless you're naturally predisposed to getting your blood running at just the mention of the Formula One circuit).

Overall, the game serves as a poor introduction to the racing series and you could do better in terms of racing for your new Vita.


Plenty of modes

It doesn't lack for ways to play the game.


Doesn't present all that well

No music in races, low-res graphics that don't fully take advantage of the platform and menus, menus, menus.

A curious lack of speed

This was a problem I had with Wipeout 2048, and I'm wondering if this is a matter of developers having trouble communicating speed and movement given the reduced screen real estate. In any event, the sense of speed is communicated by reduced vehicle handling and not so much by your movement around the track.


Do the names Nick Hedfield or Vitaly Petrov seem like the perfect conversation starters to you? If so, then F1 2011 might be the game for you. Not especially inviting or instructive to gamers unfamiliar with the world of Formula 1 racing, it's a package geared towards the most hardcore fans on the go.

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