Pole Position 2012 will drive you up the wall
Formula 1 racing management game. The chances are that those words mashed together aren't too exciting for the majority of Gamezebo readers, although if you've clicked through to this review, then perhaps you are indeed looking for a spot of high-speed simulation. Pole Position 2012 definitely has a lot of expertise under its bonnet, with specs and stats scattered all over the place.
If only it was all tied together in a coherent manner, then we'd be all for it. As it is, however, Pole Position 2012 is quite a messy business, with a highly confusing interface, barely any direction at all ,and visuals that are much too amateurish for our tastes.
You are the director of a successful F1 racing team and, with the new season about to start in a couple of months' time, it's all about making sure the cars are ready, your drivers are prepared and your team is well-practiced, so that you can dazzle when it all kicks off.
From the very beginning, it's clear that Pole Position 2012 is drifting on the amateurish side, with odd visuals, a very Windows 95 interface, and music that sounds like something from a 90s video game. Just choosing your character at the very start provides unintentionally hilarious results, as all the men have rather small heads, and you can set your age to 1 year old if you so desire.
Pole Position 2012 is clearly developed by people who know their stuff about F1 racing. There are multiple tabs in your arsenal, filled to the brim with organisational tools and options to tinker with. You can hire and fire drivers, set them as first, second and test teammates, send them out for test runs and practices, and even play around with your pit team.
Then you're also able to check out your merchandise, and swap around parts in your cars. Those who like having a huge range of options to play around with will see huge potential in this game, and may well lose many, many hours to it.
Unfortunately, you'll need to manually work out what the heck is going on first, as the game rarely helps you out. Apart from some very simple tutorial tooltips, there is no direction whatsoever and you simply need to click on things to learn what they are and teach yourself what the game wants you to do next at every turn.
It doesn't help that the game's interface is atrocious, and poor decisions abound. It's not that it just looks horrible, but more that it's very difficult to find what you need to be doing and where you can do it. For example, you regularly spend your money on things, yet your total money is tucked away in a finances tab - surely that's the kind of thing you need on the screen at all times, especially when making purchases?
And all of this is even before we get to the races themselves which, quite honestly, take the cake. You are presented with a poorly constructed raceway, and are made to sit and watch symbols firing around the track. Every few seconds, it will jump to one of your drivers on the track, showing some really awful visuals and shooting off lots of F1 car noises. You can't skip these either, so you're made to sit for ages, just watching and waiting.
There is simply no life to the game at all. Couple that with the fact that you won't even know what's going on half the time, and this is a title that even serious F1 buffs will find hard to swallow.
I feel a little harsh laying into what has clearly been a labor of love for the developer, and there's no denying that Pole Position 2012 has a great deal of knowledge under the hood. It just needed to be presented in a far cleaner way, because as it is now, no-one is going to slog their way through this car-crash of a simulation.
[While available on multiple platforms, our review was constructed using the PC version]
- Clearly built by people who know their stuff.
- Messy, confusing interfaces. Awful visuals. No personality at all.Very amateurish.