Kick the tyres and light the fires.

Being someone who only has a passing interest in F1 racing (As in if it is on TV I won’t actively change channels) the F1 games aren’t really aimed at me, but at the millions of people who tune in to see Hamilton or Vettel battle it out for pole position each year. Now, you would think that this would limit the appeal of an F1 game somewhat, and yet every year Codemasters sells enough of these games to warrant it being an annual franchise.

With each new instalment comes something to set it apart from the last and this year’s new feature is the introduction of F2. It may seem odd that a game devoted to F1 has decided to introduce a lower tier of spot in it, but F2 acts somewhat as a tutorial. It isn’t a full season, in fact the races aren’t even full-on races themselves, merely sections of a few races. It gets players used to how the game works without being too overbearing. It allows the player to get a feeling for the cars, introduces rivalries and lets them make choices when talking to the press. I must say that it is a great way to ease you in gently.

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Price: $59.99
Multiplayer: Yes
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

Once F2 is out of the way it’s on to the main event. Players will start off by choosing which team they wish to sign for. All of the real-life manufacturers are here; Maclaren, Ferrari, Red Bull et al and all of them have their own expectations that they will want the driver to meet if they want to stay on the team. The more successful teams like Maclaren, Mercedes and Ferrari will demand a lot such as constant podium finishes and will want players to be topping the driver’s championship. If this is your first foray in to the F1 games, then I would recommend starting lower down the field with the likes of Renault or Racing Point, who will be more focused on a mid-table spot.

Once players have signed on the dotted line, the game shifts into gear (pun intended) and it’s time to play with the big boys. The rest of the game plays out much as before and accurately follows the structure of its real-life counterpart. Each race is broken up in to three parts; practice, qualifying and the race. Should one wish to they can speed up the practice sessions, but doing so means missing out on getting used to the car and the track. It also means missing out on earning R & D points, which are used to improve the car and will help win races. Once the three practice rounds are complete it is on to qualifying where the faster players are, the better starting position they will get. Drivers have a set amount of time to get the fastest lap they can, but they can also quit out if they think they’ve done well enough.

From there it is on to the main event, where all of the practicing will come into play. As this is a pure simulation it isn’t just about how fast the car is, but about how players use their car and the systems it runs on. There is a massive technical side to F1, one that if you’re not that into racing sims, one may feel out of their depth; something that I felt when playing this game. I’m more of an arcade racing kind of boy, and never liked delving in to the finer points of car mechanics such as fuel flow and tyre pressures. But if you are a fan of sims, you will have a field day here. The level of detail is incredible, and everything about the car is customizable. The game does a lot of recommending for those like myself who don’t want to tinker with that sort of stuff, but I can imagine that half of the fun for a F1 enthusiast is playing around to get the perfect set-up.

Along with an intense single player F1 offers a platter of other modes including Multiplayer and eSports. The multiplayer offering is as robust as you would expect. It includes both ranked and unranked racing, as well as league events and weekly competitions. There is even a LAN game option. The servers are well maintained and there is little to no issue getting into a race. However, be warned, most of the players online are extremely practiced in F1 online and also take their game very seriously. There is no room for shunters on these tracks. More interesting is the eSports mode. Not only does this allow you to follow the F1 eSports scene, but also take part in events that run alongside these where the best racers can win prizes. I think it is cool to see the game connect the player at home to the associated eSport and make them feel part of the action.

Once again Codemasters brings home the cup when it comes to racing simulators. Their years of experience and their access to the many facets of the license are there to be seen on the screen. The latest game in the F1 series is once again a must have for both F1 fans and those that enjoy the deepest of racing sims.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Attention to detail
  • F2
  • Deep customisation
  • Lots of modes
  • Can be overwhelming
  • Aimed solely at the F1 fanbase
Written by
News Editor/Reviewer, he also lends his distinct British tones to the N4G Radio Podcast. When not at his PC, he can be found either playing something with the word LEGO in it, or TROPICO!!!