Codemasters single seater off-spring returns in 2017 with some promised extras and polished gameplay. Shiny new licences being towed, does it improve on the two previous games this generation?
Whilst we are not short on great looking racers this generation, Codemasters’ F1 series is the only racer that’s true to Formula One. Codemasters hold the official Formula One licence, which means all the teams, drivers, and circuits resemble real-life F1. Not just that, but representations of their hospitality suites, the team bosses in the pits, and all the likenesses are spot on. If you follow Formula One, you’ll be wowed in an instant.
The small details will also amaze you. The heat hazing from the rear of the car is visible and tarmac gets its glow from the sun, as well as reflection’s in puddles. What does let the game down at times is the tearing where framerate isn’t locked. It’s an inconsistent annoyance throughout as the tearing differs from track to track. Codemasters wanted 60FPS and as a racing fan, I feel it is important to target the higher frames per second as it gives the player a better sense of speed. Also, just to note, Codemasters will be upgrading the game to 4k 60FPS once the Xbox One X launches later this year. I’m sure minor tweaks with tearing will also be addressed.
As expected, the aptly titled “Career Mode” forms the somehwat lengthy single player experience. The Career Mode featured in F1 2017 differs only very slightly from previous years but the overall execution is certainly more than complete. Dealing with your agent and your engineer are still integral parts of the interactions through your career, and this year also includes a rich guy who wants you to drive his cars in invitational events.
The less “in-your-face” part of Career Mode is where the real improvements have been made since previous visits to the F1 franchise. The little under-the-hood touches and quaint features are what make the difference to the immersion. For example; being able to visit an agent’s office or the R&D suite, where you can examine all your data and speak to your chief engineer. But even this isn’t what truly makes the career mode an epic experience. All of the real-life rules seen in the existing championship are being forcefully applied to the video games for a more life-like experience. This means engines, tires, gearboxes are all subject to rules on how often they can be changed. You have to get through six races with a gearbox before you can swap it out. Just like real life, you can do it early but you’ll suffer the consequences with a heavy grid penalty. Wear and tear transfers from race to race. That means everything your team does can affect how long your important parts work at their best. The teams further up the grid will have better engineers and a better R&D team. For example, Mercedes will be much better off than Toro Rosso. You can improve your team of engineers if they are of a lower class by meeting objectives during testing.
The in-race experience is simply first class. You’ll have moments which will extremely frustrate you though and feel broken hearted after grinding through a race weekend, there will also be moments you’re jumping for joy. F1 2017 is brilliantly put together and carries an authentic F1-feeling. Another example of this is that if your car breaks down or you get shunted from behind by another driver, you’ll be sent on a roller coaster of emotions and there is a strong chance your weekend is over. All those practice laps, all the grinding, that effort to drag yourself up the grid, it’s all gone in an instant. Terminal damage is terminal damage. There is no rewind. No restart race.
Another subtle touch which gives players that little bit more is the inclusion of historic and classic Formula One cars from 1988 onwards. Whether you wish to relive the glory days of Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill or the more recent Fernando Alonso title winning season, it’s there. They all feel different when it comes to power, traction and even sound as well which show’s Codemasters really made an effort with this rather than it just being a gimmick. The historic cars can be driven on any tracks on the current F1 calendar as well as participating in championships with them.
All of the cars can also be taken online for single races or championship’s when you fancy challenging your friends and randoms at break-neck speeds.
Overall, F1 2017 looks amazing, handles as you’d expect well and there’s enough depth in the single player career mode alone to keep you going until the inevitable next year’s game. This won’t be for everyone, however; for fans of F1, the experience is damn good and you probably won’t come closer to the thrill than by playing the game. Every aspect you’d want is covered in depth. It’s better looking and better performing than ever before. It supports HDR and will get as previously stated, the fancy 4k upgrade for the Xbox One X sometime later this year.