Tame Roaring Engines in ‘F1 2012’
By: Jeb Haught
SYSTEM: Microsoft Xbox 360 (PC, PS3)
ESRB RATING: Everyone
REVIEW RATING: stars 4 (out of 5)
Even though F1 racing sports the most complex road vehicles on the planet, I have never been much of a fan. I’ll admit that F1 is more exciting than NASCAR, but so is watching paint dry! It’s a good thing that my opinion is in the minority, or else no one would enjoy the accurate racing found in “F1 2012.”
This year’s high-octane version begins the career mode differently by forcing players to pass the Young Driver’s Test, which is basically a tutorial. Series’ veterans may find this feature annoying, but newcomers will find it to be very useful. Not only does it teach the basics of high-speed racing but also it stresses subtle nuances like drafting and drag reduction.
After the driving test, players join a small F1 team and begin to work their way up the ladder by participating in 20 races per season. But these aren’t just simple races, as promising drivers must undertake practice sessions and then qualify before racing! Figuring out the best vehicle setup and then qualifying can be overwhelming for newcomers, which is why the new Season Challenge is welcome.
Season Challenge offers ten races instead of twenty, as well as the option to skip practice sessions and jump right into the action! This is a great feature for newcomers and players who can only play for short periods of time. Champions mode is also new and pits players against popular drivers in six races that gradually increase in difficulty.
It may seem like nothing new has been added to the actual racing physics, but that’s because the improvements are meant to go unnoticed. Vehicle handling is spot-on, steering is more sensitive, and some areas of the track can be wet with rain while others are untouched. As a result, finding the right position on each course is just as important as jockeying for the lead position in the race!
Add fast-paced online multiplayer options to the mix, and “F1 2012” becomes the most realistic racer to date!
‘The Walking Dead Episode 3: Long Road Ahead’
DEVELOPER: Telltale Games
PUBLISHER: Telltale Games
SYSTEM: Windows 7/Vista/XP (Xbox 360, PS3)
PRICE: $5 digital download
ESRB RATING: Mature
REVIEW RATING: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Season 3 of “The Walking Dead” TV show begins in just a few weeks, but who wants to wait until then to satisfy their demented zombie cravings? I’m afraid I’ll get symptoms of withdrawal if I don’t see innocent people become zombie carpaccio soon, so I’ll play “The Walking Dead Episode 3: Long Road Ahead” to … ahem … maintain good health!
Although this point-and-click adventure is set in the same world as the graphic novel and TV show, it follows a different cast of characters. Players take on the role of Lee, a man with a troubled past who’s forced to make difficult decisions just to survive! This is by far the most shocking and tragic episode so far, and it results in some major cast changes for episode 4.
“The Walking Dead” series is known for creating realistic reactions and consequences to the choices players make. Everything from creating alliances to who gets to eat can have a major impact on the rest of the game. In retrospect, some choices seem meaningless, but the choices made in this episode will have the most dramatic effect of them all!
Episode 3 also offers more action sequences than any other episode, which is both good and bad. I enjoyed the ability to finally use a rifle against the undead, but it’s frustrating when there’s no option to invert the aim (or remap any controls for that matter). Another action sequence is overly difficult because the collision detection is off, and yet a third one has a timer and is easily failed by simply hitting the wrong interaction button.
With only two more episodes to go, I can’t imagine how much more disturbing the series can become after witnessing the events found in “The Walking Dead Episode 3: Long Road Ahead!”
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)
To find out more about Jeb Haught and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM.