This week's showcase for Codemasters' F1 2011 provided the first chance to check out the game's depiction of Silverstone - a neat reveal to tie-in with the weekend's British Grand Prix. Like the rest of the game's 19 circuits (aside from the two new locations), Silverstone has received a graphical spruce-up, and there's certainly no shortage of new technical detail on display. Strangely though, it was a much older feature that proved to be the most promising addition.
Earlier this year DiRT 3 added splitscreen play to its rally-and-gymkhana antics, and F1 2011 looks to be offering similarly robust options for multiplayer. That shouldn't be so surprising, really, given that the splitscreen in F1 2011 basically is the splitscreen from DiRT 3: supposedly the feature was swapped between studios in an exchange for the secrets of F1 2010's dynamic weather system.
Splitscreen holds up well. There's understandably a slight decrease in visual quality when the display is cleft in twain, but the important thing is that the action retains both its speed and its responsiveness. It's always encouraging to see developers including splitscreen (provided it's handled well), and given the new game's focus on competitive and co-op multiplayer it'll ensure a large suite of options will still be available even to gamers who are stubbornly refusing to dip their toes in the online paddling pool.
As hinted at in our last F1 2011 preview, campaign co-op also allows you and a chum can play through entire seasons on one machine, rivalling your sibling/father/persistent burglar for the chequered flag. If you're both on the same team, you'll also find yourself competing for car parts and other niceties.
Elsewhere there are plenty of fresh enhancements to last year's 9/10 scoring template. The paddock and garage environments have been rebuilt in greater detail, and more attention has been lavished on end-of-race cinematics - minor cosmetic changes to add ambience and character to your racing career. On a similar note, when you flap your gums to the press after a race you'll see the repercussions within the media. Sadly, it seems unlikely that the digital hacks will tap into your phone in attempt to rummage through the bins of your private life - though there's always F1 2012 for that.
When you're actually out on the track, however, you may notice a greater emphasis on tyre degradation, with a tangible difference to handling as the race takes its toll on your rubber. In line with recent developments in the sport, F1 2011 also includes the use of KERS and DRS - the same driving aides that Jacques Villeneuve recently dismissed for making the sport boring.
Still, what does he know? He's Canadian.
Want more news on F1 2011? Elsewhere on the site we detail how the dev team was surprised by the success of F1 2010. We also reveal how YouTube functionality might be coming to F1 2012 and that 60fps isn't likely in an F1 game until the next generation.
F1 2011 will be released for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on September 23.