What’s this hurtling out of the pits just in time for the arrival of the PlayStation Vita? Why, it’s a portable adaption of the rather superb F1 2011 from the racing maestros at Codemasters.
As at home, this mean machine is pitched as a something-for-everyone take on the motorsport. It’s got driving aids that smooth out the harsher edges for those who just want to race, but enough complexity lurking beneath the hood to keep the F1 hardcore happy.
Options are abundant. Speed freaks can get their kicks in the quick play and challenge modes, which are ideal for on-the-go gaming. The realism crowd can sink their teeth into the career, championship and grand prix options, while social gamers get the chance to join three others in local or online grand prix. There are also plenty of options for tweaking the controls to suit your own driving style.
Yet, even with all this choice, the Vita model of F1 2011 doesn’t quite hit the same gasoline highs as the home versions that we handed five Stuff stars to last September. The blistering thrills and wonderful sense of speed that exists at home are lost a little in the translation to the small screen.
Visual compromise was inevitable, but the pared-down sound effects also shift the experience down a gear. At home the noisy rush of passing air as you tore around the tracks made it feel as if you were behind the wheel of a rocket with wheels. Here, whining engines drown out everything else.
Of course, it’s also a bit of shame that a game based on F1’s 2011 season is arriving scant weeks before the 2012 season hits the track.
This isn’t to say that this is a bad game. Far from it: F1 2011 is professional and polished entertainment, but unless the thought of not having an F1 game always at your side brings you out in hives, you’d be better off with the console or PC editions.