Saturday, January 8, 2011

We get to get to grips with F1 2011's new handling model and 16 player online modes.

Having already heard the chief game designer of F1 2011, Stephen Hood, talk up the game's focus on multiplayer, we've been curious to see the improvements for ourselves, and check out the improved handling model. With the British Grand Prix taking place this weekend, there's no more fitting a track than Silverstone to go hands-on with the new two-player split screen mode, and 16-player online grand prix.
In addition to 16 online players, you have the option of adding eight additional AI controlled cars to make up a full F1 grid. Before the start of a race you can setup your assists such as braking and racing lines, as well as choose your preferred team to race as. There are also options for adjusting the performance of cars. You can choose to have each car perform identically--thereby levelling the playing field--or have each team's car perform as in real life, with tweaks and engine differences affecting speed.
Once you're in a race, you have further time to tweak your car in your garage, making adjustments to your tires, engine or team strategy. After a brief drive down the pit lane we made our way onto the grid. We chose to race as Ferrari, using a steering wheel setup that had been specially adjusted to mimic the feel of an F1 car. Racing on a full grid was an intimidating prospect, and indeed, the start of the race was complete chaos. Our competitors were all over the track, and trying to sneak up the grid from our starting position of sixth without hitting any other drivers was a near impossible task.
By the first corner, several cars had already spun out, giving us a chance to cut through on the inside and move up a few places. As the cars spread out, we were able to start working on our lap times, making use of a racing line overlay that let us know when to go heavy on the brakes and accelerate out of corners. Each of Silverstone's classic corners was instantly recognisable; from the gentle curve of Copse, through to the steep angles of Club and Vale. We also experienced some significant improvements to the handling model, most noticeably with the car's suspension. It felt tighter, meaning it was less prone to suddenly spinning out when hitting a curb. There was also more feedback, allowing us to gain control of the car and keep it on the track, rather than being thrown off in an instant.
That's not say keeping the car on the track was easy, and with all the assists off we found it difficult to get the car round corners. Those with real-life racing experience will find it an easier task, and it's a testament to the accuracy of the simulation that our competitors who were real-life racing drivers commented on how true to life the experience was. Our racing skills were somewhat less advanced, so we made do with playing on medium simulation settings, which still offered up a challenge, but allowed us to complete a lap without crashing off on corners.
Using a standard controller certainly results in a different experience, but not necessarily any better or worse than using a wheel. We tried out a split screen race using a pad--racing split screen felt as good as in our online race, though some concessions to the visuals have been made to accommodate, so you won't see reflections in the mirrors of the car, for instance.
We walked away from our demo impressed with the improvements Codemasters have made to the game. There was a noticeable improvement in the handling, meaning it felt better and more accurate. The multiplayer modes were fun too, and split screen is a great option for those who have friends over to visit and just want to have a quick blast around a track. F1 2011 is due for release on September 23 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Look out for a full review from GameSpot soon.

Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 2 - Have You Played it Yet? If Not What Are You Waiting For?

If you enjoy serious shooting and action sequences like fighting through a Brazilian favela as a member of a crack military unit task force, then prepare to play one of the greatest video games ever... well not quite ever (that is a very long time and there is a chance in the future something may be created to surpass it)... so I will have to change that to greatest video games made to date; Call Of Duty; Modern Warfare 2. This is an awesome first person shooter which includes massive inexorable force that seems to crush everything in its way.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is actually the third and fourth installment of Activision's first person shooter Call Of Duty series, depending on your console preference. Available in PS3 and Xbox 360 incarnations this version of Call Of Duty propels the video game combat genre into a whole new level of awesomeness. I was originally sold on Call Of Duty initial introduction and the way it totally bloodied up the World War II arena.
Then Infinity Ward, the developers of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and its predecessors, followed with Modern-Warfare. Its butt-kicking graphics and knockout online multi-player version had me tuning out the world for endless hours as I worked with my cyber-team to compete our assigned mission. Combining the best of each of these two previous embodiments, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the best of the best.
Set in the future, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 quickly inducts you, the new raw recruit, into an elite force of international super bad terrorist killers, known as Task Force 141. Your can not be a wimp and you had better know how to use your weapons, your wit, and eyes. Your mission is the elimination of a Russian nationalist. In pursuit of your mission, Modern Warfare 2 takes you world wide, from snow covered glaciers to tropical jungles. Each destination brings with it a host of different environmental situation to deal with and weaponry configuration that will not allow you to drop your guard for a second.
According to Joel Emslie, the lead character artist for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, "we were able to get into the Navy SEAL's locker room. Those guys have some unbelievable war toys. I had to include them. That is why you will experience more scarier fire fights then you have ever seen in any other video game. We really did our dangerous research to make Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as authentic and believable as possible he adds."
I agree. Each version of the Call Of Duty gets me deeper and deeper in to trouble with my family because I can't put it down. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is no different. Give it a try, but be forewarned, it has cult appeal.

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