Having reviewed the previous two outings for Codemaster’s F1 series it was difficult to see where they would be able to improve on things this time around. While not major things, improvements have been made, along with new additions and changes that come together to make this years entry into the F1 series welcome.
The main focus of F1 is its Career Mode, and it is back again including all the additions that were made last year, such as the more in-depth research and development that makes use of all the points earned during your practice sessions. It’s the same deal as before, spend more time completing free practice programs such as fuel consumption and tyre management and you’ll be rewarded with more points to spend on researching upgrades for your car, with of course the chance of them failing being ever present you’ll need to bag as many as you can. Your PR agent, Emma, is back again too, she’ll keep you informed about contracts and invitational races as and when they crop up.
You also have the chance to respond to the media this year, a new addition that presents you with questions about your race performance, and the choice of multiple sentences to reply with. Your decisions here affect your relationship with the team and also whether you’re a ‘showman’ or a ‘sportsman’. A nice addition to the game that adds just a little extra to make the career mode more involving.
Gameplay feels improved with a more realistic feel to the handling, cars have been given the ‘The Halo’ upgrade and players can now manage the Energy Recovery System. Speaking of The Halo, it can be very obstructive to the view from the cockpit, however there is an option to turn off the central pillar in the options.. The AI behave varyingly, with some being quite aggressive, not an issue in itself, but does cause issues when you are hit by an overtaking car or from behind in a braking zone, and the game decides to hand out a warning to the player for collisions/exceeding track limits when it’s not the players fault. This happened quite a few time during my playthrough, and becomes quite frustrating.
Champioship Mode returns with a host of different championships to get stuck into, from the 2018 F1 World Championship, to Endurance, and Sprint Leagues. Here you can also find the Invitational events that you are offered in the Career Mode, giving an option to re-play them or complete them away from the career. Single Grand Prix and Time Trials are also on offer via the main menu, with Single GP offering either your own tailored GP should you wish, or simply hit instant race to jump straight into the action with a random team and track. Ideal for quick sessions.
Multiplayer has been improved with the introduction of a ‘Super Licence’, with this the game rates you with a skill rank and a safety rating. Perform well, and you’ll be more likely to be put into lobbies with drivers of the same standing, thus eliminating having to deal with disruptive players who go out of their way to crash into everyone. Very welcome indeed, though this only applies to Ranked sessions. Multiplayer also offers Unranked races and Online championships. Online wasn’t tested for this review as pre-release no one was online.
Visuals have recieved an overhaul too, with much more detail in not only track-side visuals, but also the weather, providing much more atmosphere and immersion, I did however notice the odd bit of screen tearing, just like last year, mainly during cut-scenes with the odd tear appearing during some races. Audio, as ever is spot on dialogue is well spoken and all the sounds are as you would expect.