Codemasters has released the follow up to its highly popular F1 game. But the real question is whether this one is a major improvement over the 2011 version.

F1 2012 features a new Young Driver Test mode as well a tutorial that many real-life drivers have said resembles the real driving environment accurately to a great extent. This important feature allows you to really get a hang of the mechanics as well as the racing track and rules of the game. Considering this is not a simple start to finish line game, this feature becomes doubly important for novices who want to get a real hang of the game. For seasoned players, and especially ones who have broken their thumbs swerving the turns on the 2010 and 2011 versions of the game, this is an easy way of easing into the game.

The game also has a Champions Mode that features the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and big daddy Michael Schumacher for you to match up against. The career mode packs in a lot of flexibility as well as time. You can keep playing this game for much longer than most other games. A full season allows you multiples races, practice sessions and all the other racing paraphernalia that F1 is known for. However, if you’re eager to show off your driving skills, you can nominate a rival in Season Challenge mode (also new) and if you win best-of-three race against him, you get his title and car. Theoretically, you can jump levels to achieve a Season Championship.

The main menu to select from various options has also been refurbished with lesser clutter than before. The gaming environment during the race too is much clearer and navigation is enhanced because of the the little kinks in the engine that have received a boost.

Racing the cars is a delight in itself. But much more satisfying is knowing that the cars actually simulate the racing environment to the tee. Handling, as such, is more difficult than with other racing games but make no mistake F1 is the ultimate racing experience out there. The sheer reality of the venture is most easy when you race the same car in the same circuit with different environments during laps. While bright sunshine will make you conscious of the steep curves along the track, rains will mean maneuvering the car in such a way that it doesn’t skid off.

It is this mix of brains and adrenalin that ultimately make this game a winner. Holders of F1 2011 may find the changes in this version cosmetic but make no mistake, F1 2012 is a delight in more ways than one, and if you’re a hardcore fan then it’s definitely worth the investment it demands.

Codemasters has really come up with a winner in F1 2012. The game is smart, beautiful and easy to handle after a point. While fans of the sport will definitely salivate over this one, we hope the wider community of sports fans will also give this game a try.