Review : F1 2019

F1 2019 is the most authentic F1 game I’ve played. And yes, I’m old enough to have been around when Geoff Crammond was still doing his thing (Formula One Grand Prix was such an obsession back in the day I’d write a mini-fanzine reporting on each race in-between the full-length Grand Prix I’d run every Sunday), to have manhandled the Ferrari 312 around the original 8.774 mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Grand Prix Legends and to have pumped 20p pieces into Namco’s Final Lap.t’s then time to plunge into a full F1 career, an experience which feels more roleplay-like than ever, thanks in part to your ability to dictate how your car should be developed, using Resource Points that you earn through completing programmes in each Grand Prix’s practice sessions, as well as through your qualifying and racing efforts.Functionally the menus are borrowed from previous years, so finding the mode you want to play is thankfully easy because there is just so much here. Solo play consists of the brilliant career mode, Grand Prix weekends for single races and time trials for leaderboard junkies, numerous championship scenarios–extra if you’ve got the Legends Edition–and the official F1 and F2 World Championships.

There have been more than a few blips along the way, but plenty of high points as well – especially in recent years, as the team really began to find its voice. It’s a familiar voice, too; the one of the avid enthusiast that tunes in to watch every test session, the one that revels in the details of new turning vanes and bargeboards and how upgraded rear wing elements might impact v-max down the long back straight.t looks fantastic – Codemasters has added new night-racing visual effects which appear eerily realistic – and more importantly, it feels stunning. You can sense the extra grip that this year’s cars possess, but must beware the loss of downforce which occurs when you get right up behind another car.You can play through the entire 2018 F2 season and there is an impressively large roster of Challenges, such as checkpoint races and vignettes from classic races in which you must overtake a set number of cars in an allotted number of laps.

 

Elsewhere in sports gaming, this kind of ascendancy through the junior ranks up to the big league is becoming de rigeur. And for the twelve other people who play the underrated MotoGP series as religiously as this one (see you at the next bridge game, folks) it’s deliciously ironic to see Codemasters borrow an idea from Milestone for a change—Moto2 and Moto3 categories have formed the entry point for MotoGP’s own career mode for many years now. along with classic tracks, which you can use to build your own custom championships, and the online side of the game is more solid, inviting and inclusive than ever, with new multiplayer leagues designed to accommodate those of us who don’t possess the sort of driving skills required to harbour professional e-sports ambitions.Visuals have been given the slightest of overhauls, though they have a big impact; there’s now a perceptible haze that hangs over Bahrain as the desert night sets in, you can more readily read the state of a set of tires by looking at their texture as well as feeling the car slip under your fingers and new lighting gives the whole package a lift.

The race engineer will talk to you during a race, keeping you informed of all sorts of important information. With a microphone you can ask them questions about pit stops or the condition of your tires, or simply tell them to shut it and they’ll keep updates to a minimum. It works flawlessly, offering lots of pertinent information at the end of a button press. The weather can roll in and soak a dry track, then dry out again, adding a further layer of drama to the mix. There’s a lot that can go on, especially during a longer race.The 2018 season is here in its entirety – with 2019’s line-up to follow as a free update – as are all the quirks of the formula, with feature races, sprint races and reverse grids all playing a part.But in terms of accuracy compared to the real-life tracks, they’re still missing a lot of the character in the road surface, like the small bumps and cracks you get from a laser-scanned track. The final chicanes at Spa and Montreal are wrongly profiled, and there’s a really nasty bump entering the front straight at Suzuka that’s definitely not there on the real circuit. Most players outside of a handful of hardcore sim racers would never notice this, but with titles like iRacing and GT Sport offering high-fidelity versions of many of these tracks, these inaccuracies begin to stand out more over time.

Verdict

F1 2019 is yet another strong step forward for the now decade-long franchise, with a ton of refinements over last year’s game as well as some great new features to help elevate it to a new level. The Formula 2 cars are superb to handle, and the new additions to career mode, like driver swaps, add some much-needed drama and excitement that real Formula 1 has been missing for some time now.So much so, in fact, that halfway through this Sunday’s woeful French Grand Prix, while struggling to stay awake, I cut my losses, switched off Sky Sports and switched on the PS4 for some proper action.it’s the best-looking and most realistic-feeling Formula One game yet and contains a host of new features that make it feel more coherent and meatier than ever before.What Codemasters have managed to add into the series in an impressively short span though is a wealth of new solo content that enriches career mode and offers a totally different challenge outside it.