F1 2017 was a smart evolution on an already great game. Is it time for Codemasters to rest on their laurels and pump out livery and track updates only?
Codemasters have taken note of the visual changes to F1 that new owners Liberty Media have made (and rumour has it, the development team already have a much improved relationship with the company when compared to Bernie’s crew CVC), with a fantastic looking opening cut-scene. You’ll also quickly notice that proper paddock improvements have been brought back after years away – you’ll have regular media interviews. These now have an impact on your standing with the team too, and will help or hinder you from getting a new contract with a rival team.
The improvements to the career mode from last year, which generally thoughtfully tweaked the experience remain, and there’s been further small improvements and tinkering to balance the feel of being an actual human driver. You can certainly spend much more time on your personal workstation in the motor home, although for more casual drivers, there’s no compulsion to. Beyond fake social media interaction and signing personal sponsorship deals I’m not sure what else Codemasters could add.
The 2018 cars have the ugly new halo device, which certainly restricts the view from the cockpit view, although I prefer to play from the TV view above the driver’s head. Apart from that, there are few car changes. 2018 is a 21-race season, so for the first time, you’ll get to drive the new circuit Paul Ricard, home of the French Grand Prix. It’s an interesting, technical circuit (although with huge and lurid coloured run-off areas) that provides plenty of visual variety and a new challenge.
Elsewhere, the simulation aspects of the game continue to grow every year. I don’t know if the tracks have been re-mapped, or work has been done on the suspension, but the cars take the bumps in very different ways, and you can feel the subtle undulations of the tarmac far more clearly, which also has a pronounced effect on grip in certain areas of certain tracks, which makes overtakes on particularly hairy corners feel genuinely heroic.
If you’re particularly hardcore, you can now also try and manage ERS deployment by yourself, and even if you leave it to the computer, there are still various settings to fiddle around with it (and a new practice mode to try out). The AI feels less robotic than in previous years, although you’re still very unlikely to experience a first corner bust-up (unless you’re the perpetrator), and it would be better to see AI that reflected individual driver traits – Ricciardo as the late, late braker, and Verstappen as more aggressive than the rest of the field, for example.
Career mode has been tweaked, with more meaningful progress and faster car development, but I’d still like to see options to force pit-stops and formation laps on the shortest 5-lap races.
- 1 2