Games based on Formula 1 have never been the domain for the casual or arcade racing fan, and Codemasters' F1 2012 is certainly no exception.
This is a driving game for the F1 enthusiast: someone who sits in their Toyota Corolla and simulates the high-pitched scream of an F1 car while going through the gears; someone who has a chart on their wall mapping qualifying lap times. Of course, there are obligatory driving aids to ease newcomers into the skills required to navigate a four-wheeled rocketship around a ribbon of tarmac, but using them is like sneaking a look at the solution to a Sudoku puzzle - sure, you'll complete the puzzle, but the feeling of accomplishment is a hollow one.
Then there is the false sense of security with the likes of braking assist - one that's quickly realised when it's removed and you make a beeline for a concrete wall on the first corner.
The most realistic F1 simulation to date is meant to be experienced as such - with your force-feedback steering wheel, foot pedals and taking into account the information fed to you by your team, tyres and the conditions on the track.
Where F1 2011 rewarded a gung-ho attitude, F1 2012 has been totally rebuilt and the heavy-footed/thumbed driver will not last long.
All the current teams, cars and drivers are realistically presented in their abilities. The visuals are by far the best of the series and even the menu system has been given a slick overhaul, making F1 2012 the perfect accompaniment to this year's F1 season.
Rating: 5 / 5