*Update* as of late November 2011 an patch has fixed many of the issues that dogged the original build of F1 2011, therefore, I have updated the score to the 3.5 it now deserves. Although the broken elements are gone, the lack of matchmaking is still an issue.
Before delving deeply into the co-op specific aspects of a game it is important to cover the basics of gameplay, graphics, sound etc. Of course, when a game allows you to effectively play the single player game in co-op, in theory everything should be covered in the co-op review. However, this does not differentiate between a bug free single player championship and bug filled co-op championship – you following me? Welcome to the world of F1 2011.
Aesthetically, F1 2011 is a great looking game; it has a clean feel that portrays the glamour of the sport, but also the slightly standoffish elements e.g. bland interviews, cold environments. Formula One is a sport that is played by the rich, while the hoi polloi get to watch from afar. I’m not sure if Codemasters were aiming for a slightly sterile feel to the game, but that is what you get. Each of the 19 tracks for the 2011 season are present and are faithfully recreated.
Perhaps the most impressive element of the game is how adaptable it is. By tweaking the simple to use settings you can create a game that spans the full gamut from arcade to simulation. Turn everything to easy, with assists switched on, and you almost have an on rails racer that will see you crowned champion in the worst car. Turn off the assists and you have a game that plays more like a simulation i.e. you spin off and spend half the time in a gravel trap.
With the introduction of safety cars, DRS and the KERs system, there are even more options to switch on and off than in F1 2010. Players can also determine exactly how long they want to race for; full practice, full qualification and full race times are included, but people who want to get on with the game can reduce everything down to a quick qualification and 3 laps of the track.