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Review Content

F1 Race Stars for the PS3 is a Formula One spin-off game, and the first kart racer in the series, which is developed by Codemasters. It was released on November 13, 2012 in the United States, and three days later in Europe. The game is based loosely on the real life Formula One 2012 season, and features all of the drivers and teams that actually took part in competition that year. Furthermore, it adds two new teams and four additional drivers. Despite decent graphics that give the game a cutesy feel that is reminiscent of most kart racers, it seems that Codemasters should have stuck with their usual (and hugely successful) series of racing games. Gameplay is somewhat frustrating and very monotonous, giving you the sense that you're playing the same thing over and over again.

The graphics for F1 Race Stars aren't too bad. In fact, the in-game caricatures of the 24 drivers that started the 2012 Formula One season in real life are amazingly precise, and easily recognizable. The tracks and background are pretty to look at, and the cartoon like animations are right on target. Tracks are featured from around the world, offering a good array of scenery that you might would give some level of entertainment and replay value.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case with F1 Race Stars. For example, while most kart racer games add a drift feature to add an element of skill to an otherwise simple racing game, F1 Race Stars makes you really feel like you're overusing the brake. While this may seem a bit more realistic than sliding all over the place, realism isn't the point of a game like this. If the cartoon graphics don't give it away, a statement that the game is meant to provide "stimulation, not simulation" by the creating company, might. Cars have poor acceleration overall, which ends up making games feel frustratingly slow-paced. It doesn't help that each race is often over five minutes in length.

Something else that seriously slows game speed down is the pit-stop feature. During the game you can acquire powerups, which come in the form of boosts or bubbles. The bubbles have slightly different effects that are exactly like certain powerups from Mario Kart games; red bubbles home in on the driver in front of you, yellow bubbles fly in a straight line and bounce of obstacles, and blue bubbles sit on the track and wait for someone to hit them, causing the driver to spin out. Taking damage from powerups will slow your car down, so you have to stop in pit stop locations (there are usually a couple on each track) to get your car fixed. It's simply tiresome.

The game ends up having little replay value, either. The teams and drivers have only slightly different abilities that end up having next to no impact on the actual gameplay. The tracks, while pretty enough, start to feel like you're playing the same thing again and again. F1 Race Stars was given a 61/100 by the aggregate ratings organization Metacritic, and this relatively low rating was well deserved.