F1 2013 - Preview

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Release Date: 01/08/2013

F1 2013 Preview for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

You spoke, and they listened. Ever since Codemasters began its tenure on the official F1 licence back in 2009, there's been one demand that's been shouted louder and more enthusiastically than any other, and in F1 2013 it's finally going to become a reality. For the first time in the series, you'll be able to reach back into the sport's rich history and drive some classic cars.

F1 2013's not the first game to include older machinery, of course. Studio Liverpool's last F1 game featured a Maserati 250F, as driven by the great Juan Manuel Fangio, to unlock, while even Bizarre Creations' F1 '97 had a couple of classically inspired cars to pootle round in.

More famously, Papyrus' Grand Prix Legends famously recreated the 1967 F1 season, and in doing so earned a reputation as being one of the finest racing games period. A little bit of history can go a long way, so it seems, so it's no wonder people are so excited to see Codemasters finally look back.

F1 2013 Preview for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

Prancing Horses

F1 2013's classic cars are carefully integrated into the game, and aren't just token unlocks. Starring in their own classics campaign, with a new mode called F1 Classics offering up Time Attacks, Grand Prix and Time Trials as well as a handful more events that are yet to be disclosed.

More importantly, the classic cars are given some classic tracks to pound around - so while it's possible to drive some vintage machinery around one of Herman Tilke's droning autodromes the likes of Jerez, Estoril and Brands Hatch will give the fire-breathing turbo cars some room to stretch their legs.

The cars themselves are culled partly from F1's frenzied 80s era when power ruled above all, and when ungodly amounts of horsepower were spun through whirring turbos and fed through hulking slick rear tyres. There's the Williams FW07, the car that propelled bolshy Australian Alan Jones to the 1980 season, and elsewhere there's the FW12 which Nigel Mansell performed some of his aggressive heroics in.

F1 2013 Preview for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

90s Nostalgia

The 90s are represented by the likes of the FW14, the Adrian Newey designed wonder that perfected the art of active suspension and went unchallenged to the 1992 crown - and Lotus and Ferrari also offer up a selection from their classic garages. As you'd expect each cars handling is unique: a turbo car will lag horribly when you first put down the throttle, only to then send you hurtling towards the scenery without a hope or a prayer. 90s cars, with their unchecked technology, are stuck to the tarmac and nearly drive themselves.

Sit behind the wheel of one of 2013's steeds and it feels different again, the obscene aerodynamic loads allowing them to carry terrifying amounts of speed into corners. Some of the quirks of this season will also be present, so expect tyre degradation to play a big part - though don't expect the spectacular blowouts that have been seen in more recent races.

The classics are superb, then, but does the rest feel like an advance over what we've already played these past few years? There are changes, like a more nuanced handling model, the ability to save mid-session and improved AI, but they're slight. In all honesty it's another incremental upgrade, with Codemasters admitting the more radical changes will come when the sport itself is overhauled in 2014. Until that point, though, F1 2013 is as good as it gets when it comes to official racers - and with the inclusion of vintage classics, it's now as good as it's ever been too.

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