Since nabbing the videogaming rights to Formula One racing in 2008, Codemasters has knocked out three championship-quality treatments of the sport, with each one improving on its predecessor. F1 2012 is the latest in this impressive lineage, and it's a must-have for F1 fans and discriminating Xbox racers alike.
As with Codies' earlier releases, the official licensing means you get all 12 teams and 24 drivers from the current Grand Prix season, including perennial front-runners Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in their McLaren and Red Bull road rockets, along with lesser-knowns like Charles Pic and Narain Karthikeyan filling out the back of the grid with Marussias and HRTs.
Codemasters has tweaked the driving physics to work surprisingly well with a stock Xbox 360 controller. However, if you're one of the dedicated few who own your own steering wheel and pedal, you can confidently switch off driving aids like traction control and ABS, and fully challenge your ability to tango a 750-HP F1 machine around Monaco, Silverstone and other tracks at bleeding-edge speeds.
The core Season Championship and Career modes deliver impressive depth - including 20 challenging real-world international circuits with convincing localised weather effects - but the addition of new gaming wrinkles such as the Young Drivers Test and Champions Mode ups F1 2012's entertainment value significantly. The latter option, with its Boss-level quick-play scenarios pitting you against past world champions, is especially addictive.
The proven Xbox Live multiplayer game adds even more playability. Fully configurable Quick and Custom Race scenarios can support up to 16 players, while the co-op Championship mode - where you can contest the entire 20-race World Championship with an online buddy as your teammate - is absolute brilliance on tarmac. Toss in some of the sweetest car and track visuals the genre's ever seen, and you've got one of the Xbox's most engrossing racing experiences.
Another podium-topping finish
- All the F1 detail you'd want
- Champions Mode fun extra
- Handling excellent on a pad
- Outstanding multiplayer
- Over-zealous corner-cutting warnings