Until you are a Mercedes fan, you would possibly really feel that Method 1 in 2019 is a bit stale with the workforce’s dominance of this 12 months’s world championship. However Codemasters’ F1 2019 is something however stagnant, presenting an thrilling, if idealized, model of the world’s premier motorsport. It sticks largely to the acquainted cadence of earlier titles with its large profession mode and a great deal of traditional content material. Nevertheless, large additions just like the FIA Method 2 World Championship and scheduled on-line racing add much more to an already burgeoning title that is crammed to the brim with pleasurable issues to do–all revolving round driving among the quickest racing vehicles on the earth.
Anybody acquainted with the collection will really feel instantly at residence with F1 2019. Functionally the menus are borrowed from earlier years, so discovering the mode you need to play is fortunately straightforward as a result of there may be simply a lot right here. Solo play consists of the sensible profession mode, Grand Prix weekends for single races and time trials for leaderboard junkies, quite a few championship scenarios–extra in case you’ve bought the Legends Version–and the official F1 and F2 World Championships. And that is earlier than you dig into multiplayer, which provides player-made leagues and scheduled occasion racing. Amazingly, none of it looks like filler, with every mode providing one thing totally different and pleasurable total. However like in earlier years, it is the profession mode that offers you the fullest and most rewarding expertise, venturing additional into the realm of sports activities fantasy than it has previously.
In earlier profession modes, you’d merely choose an F1 workforce to race for, set some contract objectives, and go. However F1 2019’s profession opens with extra of a throwback to Codemasters’ Race Driver collection, permitting you to start out within the newly added Method 2 Championship earlier than making the step as much as the large time. It is not a full season however a collection of situations the place you conflict in opposition to two fantasy rivals, Lukas Weber and Devon Butler. Whereas this opens the profession with a collection of cutscenes growing the competitors between the three of you, when you all enter Method 1, these private moments do not come again; they’re changed with the comparatively lifeless e mail transcripts of their media interviews. It might’ve been good to have extra of those characters round so as to add some extra taste.
One other large addition to the profession mode is driver modifications between groups. All of the drivers on the grid can commerce locations, doing so robotically based mostly on their prior performances. Early in my profession, each McLaren drivers discovered themselves out of a job due to their poorly performing automobile, with Carlos Sainz booted partway by means of and changed by Kimi Raikonnen, and Lando Norris making approach on the finish of the season for a then-jobless Pierre Gasly. It results in some fascinating shifts within the energy dynamics between present F1 groups, resulting in some stunning outcomes and a constantly intriguing run to the title. Whereas it is jarring to see drivers changed, particularly by fantasy drivers, it provides extra to the sport than it takes away.
You’ll be able to select to not have the fantasy drivers, however meaning skipping the feeder collection completely, and the Method 2 vehicles are approach an excessive amount of enjoyable to do this. Smaller, much less highly effective, and simpler to drive, the Method 2 vehicles in F1 2019 are surprisingly pleasurable given their comparatively slower tempo. Over-drive them and so they’ll slip and slide, instructing you the best way to discover the sting of grip. As such, they make for an ideal place for learners to understand the best way to race a lightweight and nimble automobile with out having to step straight into the would possibly of an F1.
There is a motive they solely let the very best drivers on the earth behind the wheels of those carbon fiber beasts; fashionable F1 is about rather more than simply driving quick. It’s important to handle tires, hybrid deployment, gasoline utilization, race technique, and the gaps between your competitors–there’s not a second’s relaxation for the thoughts, if that is the way you need it to be. However the choice for massively strong assists makes it attainable for each ardent followers and inexperienced gamers to get one thing out of a race. For sim followers, there are layers of technique and automobile administration whereas jostling for place, on high of driving these lovely vehicles at unimaginable speeds. For everybody else, there’s the joys of shut racing in opposition to their favourite drivers due to AI that offers house when wanted but additionally fights laborious to go you when given the chance to pounce.
The AI in final 12 months’s sport was already racy, pushing for gaps and preventing again when it thought it had an opportunity. However F1 2019’s is an extra refinement of this, reacting in ways in which really feel such as you’re racing in opposition to different human gamers. They will go wheel-to-wheel and defend their place by driving you to the sting of the observe, generally making errors and inflicting incidents, and generally pulling off unimaginable overtakes by moving into your slipstream and out-braking you right into a nook. F1 drivers aren’t pushovers, and it is nice to have that mirrored within the on-track motion.
The vehicles themselves really feel nice to drive with each a racing wheel and a gamepad, with each feeling quick and responsive. Whenever you’re within the cockpit, it is charming. The race engineer will speak to you throughout a race, protecting you knowledgeable of all types of essential info. With a microphone you’ll be able to ask them questions on pit stops or the situation of your tires, or just inform them to close it and so they’ll preserve updates to a minimal. It really works flawlessly, providing a number of pertinent info on the finish of a button press. The climate can roll in and soak a dry observe, then dry out once more, including an extra layer of drama to the combo. There’s quite a bit that may go on, particularly throughout an extended race. A fast five-lap burst could be enjoyable, however the longer races are the place issues like race technique can actually play out in satisfying methods.
For sim followers, there are layers of technique and automobile administration whereas jostling for place, on high of driving these lovely vehicles at unimaginable speeds. For everybody else, there’s the joys of shut racing in opposition to their favourite drivers.
Leagues are a welcome inclusion, permitting you and a gaggle of like-minded people to participate in a multiplayer season of your individual making. Group leagues have shaped across the F1 video games for years, however having it included straight within the sport is a welcome nod to those that’ve been operating these leagues externally. Scheduled occasions are additionally a pleasant new function, letting you follow and qualify everytime you like, then operating races round scheduled occasions to encourage competitors. Additionally new is participant customization that allows you to tweak your automobile livery, racing go well with, gloves, and helmet. Some designs are free whereas others could be unlocked utilizing an in-game foreign money earned from racing on-line, although annoyingly, probably the most fascinating choices will price you actual cash.
The place F1 2019 falls wanting different racing titles is in its observe accuracy. Graphically, programs are excellent, with some pretty trackside particulars and fabulous new lighting that helps the evening tracks look eerily reasonable. However when it comes to accuracy in comparison with the real-life tracks, they’re nonetheless lacking a number of the character within the highway floor, just like the small bumps and cracks you get from a laser-scanned observe. The ultimate chicanes at Spa and Montreal are wrongly profiled, and there is a actually nasty bump coming into the entrance straight at Suzuka that is undoubtedly not there on the true circuit. Most gamers outdoors of a handful of hardcore sim racers would by no means discover this, however with titles like iRacing and GT Sport providing high-fidelity variations of many of those tracks, these inaccuracies start to face out extra over time.
F1 2019 is one more sturdy step ahead for the now decade-long franchise, with a ton of refinements over final 12 months’s sport in addition to some nice new options to assist elevate it to a brand new degree. The Method 2 vehicles are excellent to deal with, and the brand new additions to profession mode, like driver swaps, add some much-needed drama and pleasure that actual Method 1 has been lacking for a while now. F1 2019 is a masterclass in the best way to make an interesting and alluring racer, and as soon as once more stands tall on high of the rostrum.