Creating a Formula One title that appeals to the masses is incredibly difficult. For a start, it's a brand of motorsport with some very vocal detractors. Many moan about the lack of overtaking, enforced pit stops upsetting the flow of the race, endless politics and team competitiveness being more down to budget than skill.
While pounding around Sepang during qualifying, ignoring the cries of our Lotus' strangled sounding engine and the pit crew telling us to stop overheating the engine, we ourselves experienced criticism from haters. "It looks boring," they grumbled. "I can't see any other cars," they whined. "It looks too difficult," they griped.
This game isn't for those people. F1 sims are about unwavering discipline, hard work and relentless concentration. Thanks to the harsh rules, you must brace yourself for punishment too - a realistic penalty system will quickly crack down on unsportsmanlike behaviour. Effectively, any criticism with the sport is a problem you could have with F1 2010.
With hard work, though, comes great reward. Teams have realistic expectations from you, so even a mid-position qualification place or securing a solitary point can be hugely fulfilling. As we found with DiRT 2, Codemasters are great at injecting personality into driving titles too. Attending press conferences and interviews, exploring the paddock area and in-team competition between drivers makes it one of the first F1 games to make players feel like a driver rather than a car.
We're also delighted with the handling at its default setting (even we were a bit scared driving without traction control in an F1 car, but the option is there). It's best appreciated with a wheel, but there's a huge amount of precision to the throttle and the steering responds well to delicate inputs.
In all honesty, we don't think we'll ever be 100% happy with the racer AI but seeing cars with both a sense of preservation and the capacity for error means races aren't forgone conclusions.If it's Formula One that you want, F1 2010 delivers the finest, most all-encompassing F1 racer on console.
F1 2010 delivers an authentic, challenging and rewarding F1 experience.