There are some terrific racing games on the Xbox 360, F1 2012 being one of them. Then there is F1 Race Stars, which takes a completely different approach to the racing game genre. Instead of having just another racing game that is mostly simulation, this one is more of an arcade version of Formula 1. In fact, it has more in common with Mario Karts than with Formula One.
When you play the game for the first time, you would be forgiven for thinking you were playing Mario Kart on your Nintendo, if you had one. The only difference is that the small cars look like miniature versions of F1 cars, and you can play as any of the drivers of the 2012 Formula One World Championship.
While the environment can look and feel very silly, even childish, there is actually a lot in the game that adheres to the F1 experience. The cars do not drag like they would in an arcade game, instead they are hard to drive and they have to be driven in the same way as F1 cars. It is important to be very careful how you turn the car and how you use the brakes and accelerator.
The damage system is also fantastic, and this is what really sets the game apart. While it can be enjoyed by anyone, even if they are not F1 fans, it does stay true to the sport and those die hard fans of the real thing will not be disappointed. In fact F1 fans may enjoy it for the comical game it is supposed to be.
The drivers' heads, recognizable as real drivers from the 2012 season, are visible outside the cars and appear incredibly large in perspective, so the drivers' bodies appear jammed into the framework of the machines. The surroundings of each track are imaginatively and humorously designed, almost like a disney fantasy world.
There are plenty of different tracks and there is a lot of fun to be had. Some of the things that happen in F1, such as pit stops are here, but some of the track features are not. F1 does not have loop the loops, speed bumps or short cuts. Kinetic Energy Recovery System, KERS, and Drag Reduction Systems, DRES, from F1 motors feature as well. The game is just a lot of fun and it is very easy to get into. There are no serious championship modes or anything of that sort, it is a basic racer, although there is a multiplayer mode which can be used both for split screen and online playing. Friends can get together to have a good time.
F1 Race Stars game will never satisfy those who want the perfect F1 experience. What it does is take a sport that sometimes takes itself too seriously and employs advanced technology, and makes it fun for all.