The iconic Formula 1 series from Codemasters has once again graced gamers hands, and we have our hands on a copy to review. Having played the 2015 release, I was impressed with how far the F1 series has come. The previous Formula One game played was way back in the mid-90’s on my Amiga 1200, so it’s been some time since I’ve raced around the tracks, and the drivers have changed a fair bit too. So let’s have a deeper look at F1 2018, and see if Codemasters have taken the podium, or retired early.
Wow. No, not the acronym for a popular game from Blizzard, but an exclamation. The reason being, is that the latest iteration is beyond amazing, and when you get to experience it first hand for yourself, you will understand why. Now I can’t leave a review there, but I’ll do my utmost to put into words just how impressive the game really is, even though it’s hard to find the words to put down.
First off, if you’re old enough, you’ll remember when racing games would see you play a race, load the next one and so on and so forth. Slowly, over time, new features squeezed their way into games, allowing you to take part in qualifying races, or buying new cars, the usual stuff we have nowadays. Here, F1 2018 has been modelled on the real world of F1 team racing. It’s no longer a case of just play the race and hope you win, instead the depth and scope of the game has been realised as you can take part in up to 3 practices, then Qualifying and the race in full. But that’s not it, there’s way more. You can select what you wish to work on through practices, from taking corners perfectly, to fuel consumption and being conservative with it plus several other options should this take your fancy. There’s full interaction with the pit team throughout the game, including the races with Jeff offering advice before and during. Car management is deep and engaging, offering you the chance to customise all the settings as you see fit to adapt to varying weather conditions as the need arises.
With a wealth of options available to you from the main menu, it’s only right that we explore the Career mode first, allowing you to choose from any of the teams available and sign a contract with them. I chose Ferrari as it’s the closest I’ll ever get to driving or owning a Ferrari. Plus they look rather fetching. Being introduced to the various menus before even touching the vehicle made me realise that it’s not a game mode to be rushed by any means, what with interviews with the press to conduct, messages at your terminal from your team, and more to keep you busy as you vie to boost your morale, rivalries, and team standing in addition to winning a race or two as you go. The scope of the game outside of track time is phenomenal, and you can see that Codemasters have gone all out to provide F1 fans, and regular gamers with an authentic experience, allowing management and control over everything that goes on in the world of the sport. It truly blew me away as to how much has been crammed into this game, and given the option available to you.
When it comes to the bulk of what F1 is all about, you’d be hoping that attention to detail hasn’t been left behind, in some mysterious error from Codemasters and you won’t be disappointed in any way that I can foresee. Not only is the frame rate stable, but the speed at which you hurtle around the tracks is unparalleled, and you’ll soon be focusing all of your attention on all the twists and turns on offer throughout each of the tracks available to you. Every race is on offer including several short versions of famous tracks. From some of the easier tracks like Suzuka, to the infuriating Singapore circuit, which will test you to the absolute limits with it's sharp twists and turns around the Far Eastern city locale. Either that or I’m not ready to take on the worlds best drivers in digital form, but I don’t believe that for a moment.
Weather and time of day can play a massive part in whether or not you will sprint to victory and claim a podium place, or see you bringing up the rear with your head hanging low and your team dropping their expectations of you. Don’t rush things to much though, because if you’re pushing too hard and have damage enabled, you’ll soon end up like me on my second race and finish early with a wheel suspiciously missing from your Ferrari. Honestly, I have no idea how that wall managed to jump out on my like that, and destroy my chances at a podium spot, it just seems unfair that the scenery would do something as vicious as that. Needless to say, I’m writing a strong letter of complaint about that. But in all seriousness, keep an eye on your vehicle damage, listen to Jeff and most importantly, change them tyres when you’re supposed to do so, even if it means losing a place or two when you’re in the pit stop. It pays off in the long run. It punishes if you don’t.
If you want something a bit less stressful, and don’t want to disappoint you team, then perhaps Time Trial will suit you more and allow you to perfect your trajectory around a circuit of your choosing. Maybe even throw in a ghost car to challenge yourself further. What about running a manual gearbox? That’s actually a decent change and with some practice, you could even perform to a satisfactory level if you have enough discipline.
One addition I do think will appeal is post-race interviews with the press. It’s not a drawn out affair, but a selection of multiple choice answers that can change your team mate and managements opinion of you depending on which answer you choose. There is a time limit, so don’t dawdle here. It fleshes out the experience and gives a sense of reality to it as this does happen in the real world.
F1 2018 is something special, and there’s no argument from many I’m sure. If you’re a fan, then this will likely be the best game in the series for you, as there’s just so much going on and to keep you occupied. The attention to detail is beyond what I was expecting, and the chance to micro manage everything is a dream come true. Even regular or casual racing fans will enjoy what’s on offer, and I do believe that Codemasters have outdone themselves here. One of the best games of 2018 has just come trough the doors of KGK and I am grateful to have had the chance to get my hands on it.
Release Date: 24th August 2018
Price: £54.99 for the Headline Edition
File Size: 42.19GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC