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F1 2011 3DS review

The best serious racer on 3DS

F1 2011 3DS review The last Formula 1 game on a Nintendo handheld was F1 2002 a decade ago so F1 2011 has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it was worth the wait.

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All the tracks, racers and cars are based on those of the 2011 F1 season, so if you want to go back and rewrite history in order to spite Sebastian Vettel by confiscating his crown, now is your chance to do so.

As well as quick race and season options, the game has a Career mode that sees you playing through three seasons, though other than the odd change of team and a mailbox system there's not much difference between this and just playing Season mode three times, which is hardly a ringing endorsement.

There's also a 3DS-only Challenges mode, which is our favourite of the bunch by far. Here you're given different, shorter tasks designed with handheld gaming in mind. One asks you to get through as many checkpoints as possible before time runs out, another challenges you to pass a set number of cars and a third has you trying to beat a lap time while avoiding moving obstacles.

You're then given a ranking depending on how well you did; rest assured, getting the triple-A rank on all 60 challenges will take an awfully long time, and so it's this mode that gives F1 its crucial longevity beyond the rather samey Career mode.

Name That Tune

The racing itself takes some getting used to, but once you've tuned your car, twiddled with the handling sensitivity and set up the various driving aids to your exact specifications it eventually becomes a fantastic racer.

Adjustments-wise, you can tweak the driver AI, weather conditions and penalty strictness, and turn on handling assistance, braking assistance, damage and random parts failures.

Once you get the hang of making small steering adjustments with the Circle Pad, racing can become a really tense experience, especially when you raise the difficulty and take weather and parts failures into account.

Visually the game's a mixed bag. F1 is always a difficult sport for developers to get running smoothly in a game because the 24-car grid can bog down processing power, but this holds its own.

The frame rate is a solid 30fps in 3D and when you slide down to 2D you get a generally smooth 60fps, with it dropping down slightly whenever there are lots of cars on-screen for it to cope with.

For the most part though, this is a nice-looking game, considering the strain it puts on the 3DS' processor.

Of course, gameplay is king and in that respect, F1 is a success. Challenge mode will take you ages and you've got Wi-Fi multiplayer too if that's not enough. It's a shame the 2011 season is nearly over now, making the game out of date, but this is easily the best serious racer on 3DS.

Want to discuss this F1 2011 review? Go to our Reviews and Buyer's Guide forum.

Like this game? Here are some reviews of other 3DS racers.

Ridge Racer 3D review

Asphalt 3D review

Need For Speed: The Run 3DS review.

Comments

7 comments so far...
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  1. SimplePlan2k8 Friday 25th Nov 2011 at 13:00

    Didn't expect that good a score! Might have to pick this up after all :D

  2. olrodlegacy Friday 25th Nov 2011 at 15:17

    Your review seemed very positive. As an F1 fan I'll be getting this anyway, so I hope it's as good as you say it is. Can you have full-length, 60-odd lap races?

  3. ChrisONM Friday 25th Nov 2011 at 16:28

    Your review seemed very positive. As an F1 fan I'll be getting this anyway, so I hope it's as good as you say it is. Can you have full-length, 60-odd lap races?


    Indeed you can, or shorter ones right down to three laps.

  4. linkfinity Saturday 26th Nov 2011 at 20:36

    see if this can have wi-fi, then why not fifa or pes? shameful.
    but anyway not a bad score, 3ds is getting a few half dencent games now, wheras before we only had great ones and awful ones *sims 3*ahem...

  5. Mart2006 Sunday 27th Nov 2011 at 17:35

    Your review seemed very positive. As an F1 fan I'll be getting this anyway, so I hope it's as good as you say it is. Can you have full-length, 60-odd lap races?


    Indeed you can, or shorter ones right down to three laps.

    I thought the news article you posted a while back said that you couldn't have full-length races? Anyway, it's certainly good news if 100% races are included.

    see if this can have wi-fi, then why not fifa or pes? shameful.

    Because the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection servers for the 3DS have only recently gone online, so if FIFA and PES had had online multiplayer, the publishers would have to use their own, and possibly reduce profits in the long run.

  6. mathsman Tuesday 3rd Jul 2012 at 23:32

    Does the game have safety cars? I know the versions on the other platforms do but does the 3DS version?

  7. olrodlegacy Monday 9th Jul 2012 at 16:06

    No safety cars. I find it really difficult to get an online match going, somehow nobody in the world plays it online...

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