Sunday 4 December 2016

Games: F1 pumps up its wheels

F1 2016 (PS4/XO/PC), 5 Stars, Age 7+

Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30

F1 2016
F1 2016

The yearly churn of franchise updates brought the F1 franchise to its knees in 2015, the demands of moving to new consoles leaving developer Codemasters with only enough time for a bare-bones facsimile of the sport.

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But 12 more months under the belt has enabled Codies to fully flesh out the racing dream in 2016, restoring key features, sharpening the presentation and revelling in authentic detail. The twisty new circuit in Baku also makes its debut.

You'll need to know your pit strategy from your gear ratio, though. For F1 2016 plays to the obsessive fans, the ones prepared to grip the controller for 90 minutes in a gruelling test of concentration. But you're missing the drama and intensity if you don't surrender to the realistic experience of piloting 800bhp beasts.

Now the career mode has been mercifully reinstated, the safety car can intervene and the formation lap ensures your brakes and tyres hit the right temperature. Codies even has some fun with mini-games that shake up the normally dull practice sessions.

It's demanding but authentic, exhausting but thrilling. Like the real sport, though, it lacks a little bit of personality. Maybe next year.

Deus Ex Go

(iOS/Android), 4 Stars, Age: 7+

The Go series repurposes big-name action franchises into a grid-based puzzle game. The transmutation worked very effectively with Lara Croft and Hitman - and Deus Ex is no exception.

The turn-based puzzles function similarly here, injected with some funky Deux Ex moves such as invisibility and hacking that deepen the experience.

But there's no escaping the fact that many levels devolve into repeated trial and error as you search for the safe path to the exit.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Nintendo 3DS, 3 Stars, Age: 7+

With only vague connection to the much-loved Metroid Prime universe, Federation Force has trouble elevating itself above first impressions as a serviceable first-person shooter.

It plays much more enjoyably in four-player co-op than in solo mode, where the bland environments and challenging controls struggle to capture your interest.

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