For the third year running, Codemasters will be releasing the yearly iteration of the Formula 1 game.

We had a chance to try out the game at Gamescom using the simulator, which was made up of a racing seat, alongside a F1 steering wheel replica (with functioning paddle gearshift, KERS and DRS buttons) and functional pedals. For the demo, the only playable class was Romain Grosjean’s Lotus in the Spa-Francorchamps circuit– my personal favourite.

Driving through the Eau Rouge turn flat out is as thrilling as ever, but this year the game looks and plays even better. Aside from a small, but noticeable visual upgrade, the game now plays a lot more like a real F1 simulation; your tires will now degrade more or less depending on how you drive. Meaning if you tend to lock up your front left wheel on every left turn, that tire will degrade at a faster rate than the rest.

F1 Screenshot

The AI also seemed to get an upgrade. Drivers race fast and aggressively always trying to gain the advantage on your mistakes. The developers also made the different drivers act more like their real-life counterparts. If you are into F1, you know Pastor Maldonado is a driver who likes to take risks, even if it means damaging his car. In the game, Maldonado will take more risks than the average driver and even cause more collisions, whereas Jenson Button or Mark Webber will be more regular and drive less recklessly.

Unfortunately, damage, fuel consumption and tire degradation were removed for the demo, probably because most people can’t handle real racing! Despite that, every time your car went slightly to wide on a turn and touched the grass or gravel, you could feel your controller vibrating and your car reacting accordingly. Every time you hit a wall or another car, you could feel the force of the impact. Whilst it may just seem like a visual upgrade with updated rosters F1 2012‘s minor, but noticeable changes are enough to make the gameplay feel more immersive and a lot more similar to the actual sport.

F1 2012 will be available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on September 21st 2012.