F1 Race Stars Review: Formula 1 Goes Karting and Races Well
F1 Race Stars
Platform: PlayStation 3 (Also Available on Xbox 360, Steam)
F1 Race Stars takes Formula 1 racing into a new direction with the same high speeds you know except this time with crazy courses, jumps, boosts and other enjoyable power-ups. I suppose the best way to say it would be that F1 Race Stars has gone “go-kart” racing with Codemasters’ new arcade title and I must say that they have done a good job with it.
F1 Race Stars brings cartoon visuals with crazy arcade racing and even though it is an arcade game with the F1 name, it does stay true to a lot of things you’d expect from Formula 1 racing. F1 Race Stars is a very simple idea, but executed extremely well for both fun of gameplay and those who enjoy formula 1 racing. One of the things I appreciate most is with the style of the power-ups. Some relate really well to actual F1 Racing. So while yes, these power-ups are for fun arcade racing, boosting and taking down drivers that are either out in front of you or closely behind by firing balloons, there are still some that are to be appreciated. Two power-ups that I love and I think Formula 1 fans will appreciate are a rain cloud and the caution vehicle. If you are in first place and an opponent gets the caution vehicle item, you’ll be forced to slow down by a caution vehicle which allows the other racers to catch up. Same goes for the rain cloud as precipitation causes you to slip and slide and lose your speed. Both seem to be simple ideas, but represent well the racing world and I loved that.
F1 Race Stars features real teams and they’re vehicles, except the vehicles are slightly smaller and they just barely fit into them, much like a go-kart. It might look silly or you may say it’s another attempt at a Mario Kart, but I must let you know that this one does the job really well. Most importantly, it features a good single player to enjoy, but you can always take the racing online and through leaderboards via the Time Trials. The career mode will take some time to complete and it features multiple types of races. So, instead of straight up battle-it-out racing, you’ll also compete in various game types such as elimination, sector snatch, pole position, slalom and more. Each game type is enjoyable and spread out into different events in which you will earn a trophy if you finish in the top 3. Outside of career mode, as I said, you have time trials and online competition. So, there really is a respectable amount of content to be played.
The gameplay is a lot of fun and can be very exciting. The vehicles handle great, the power-ups are a lot of fun and work well for good racing action. Each of the tracks are fairly fun to race on as well, some of which you will like more than others. Each track is full of items, boost strips to race over and shortcuts that are not only hidden, they are well hidden. You’ll have fun stumbling across these shortcuts as they make it challenging to find instead of an easy alternate route. I should also mention that each race team has their own special ability that adds to the way you can play each course. You’ll also notice that slipstreaming is in full force with this game, so if you are driving behind another driver, you’ll be able to slip up past them… unless of course they use a power-up and drop a balloon trap for you to fall into.
Another thing that is appreciated is that you’ll need to use the pit stop and probably use it a lot. If you take damage, due to getting hit by a power-up or running into something on the speedway, you’ll end up taking damage, which will end up slowing you down when it happens a second time. This is when it’s necessary to use the pit stop because you’ll be going way to slow. If you do a good job and force others to pit while you don’t have to, that gives you a slight advantage. Sometimes while racing you will accidently go into the pit stop, but it’s not usually so far off course that you’ll lose too much position in the race. In fact, I don’t think that any of the pit stops are more than a second slower than the actual course, but still, it’s far better to remain on the course or to take one of the shortcuts.
The difficulty is something that I couldn’t seem to get a grasp on. There are three levels, 1000cc, 2000cc, 3000cc… you would think there would be some kind of difficulty level here, but it seems there is not. I have noticed tracks that are tough to win on in both, 1000cc and 3000cc. However, there is a distinct difference and that is the speed between the three. 1000cc is very slow paced race while 3000cc is raced at top speeds and that in itself, can make things more challenging. The reason why it becomes more challenging with more speed is because you’ll actually have to use your breaks. You can’t just fly through turns at top speeds; there will be times that you have to slow down and sometimes you will need to slow way down on a very sharp turn. I love it though! I never thought I would be concerned with slowing down for a turn in a game such as this. That was another good decision made for this game.
F1 Race Stars isn’t just another karting game; it’s a really good karting game. They took Formula 1 racing and “kartified” it into a fun arcade style racer that both friends and family can enjoy while still keeping some concepts you might recognize from an actual F1 event. The gameplay can be very fun and the presentation is wonderful. There is enough here to keep you interested, excited and ready to take the race on to a new track. It can be very difficult at times and I think the replay value is good, but I hope we will see some DLC in the future. Not that it’s needed already; I’m just excited to experience a few more crazy tracks to race on! This is a game that is worthy of a play-through.