Developer: Codemasters Studios Birmingham
It was a close, difficult call between this and Forza, but in the end, it was F1 2012 that burned the rubber. It was a shock to see Codemasters put out such a stunning improvement over the previous year's title, having heard players' complaints about AI difficulty and diversification in gameplay from F1 2010. Being able to hear the other cars around you is a revelation. And yes, it's still very hard, with a learning curve mostly meant for (and rewarding to) F1 fans.
But it's hard to deny the brilliance of something that delivers on those intentions so thoroughly like this. The only problem? It needs to be more welcoming to people who don't know anything about F1 past "these are the coolest race cars, ever." That'd be nice.