F1 2019 Review – Blurring Lines

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Racing
 
Rating: G8+
 
Release Date: 28th June, 2019
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


User Rating
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Positives


- The most solid 10 month turn-around game we’ve ever seen
- More roar for the core fans
- Less stress with the press circus.

Negatives


- The drama in the F2 prologue disappears in F1
- The off-track antics are still awkward.


Posted July 4, 2019 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Codemasters Birmingham has once again been working in top gear to get this year’s F1 2019 game out, and this time we get it much earlier than normal with the official F1 2019 calendar less than halfway through (though the game itself has been in development for at least two years). F1 2019 launched on the Friday of the Austrian Red Bull Ring Grand Prix race weekend which saw the two 21-year-old future hall of famers Max Verstappen and Charles LeClerc battle it out in a thrilling finish. Almost poetically, this year’s game is all about rivalries and sees you embark on a journey which for the first time begins in the F2 and continues throughout your F1 career. It’s lights out for F1 2019 – the pinnacle of motor sports.

As mentioned, the official Formula 2 2018 season plays a role in F1 2019. It’s the prologue for the main career, though you don’t have to complete an entire F2 career. There are just three F2 races to participate in as you build up a rivalry and secure your contract in the F1 2019 season, and it’s over before you even realise. Lando Norris and the other real drivers that have moved up this season are also present at the front of each race which adds a great deal to the authenticity. The F2 2019 season will be added to the game later this year for those that enjoy racing against the up-and-comers in a more basic (but still extremely fast) race car. Outside of the main career mode, you’ll find all the usual modes such as time trials and the ability to set up a custom Grand Prix event. There’s also historic races, including the advertised rivalry between Senna and Prost.

F1 2019 Review

As you build up a rivalry against fictional British showman Devon Butler and friendship with F2 team-mate Lukas Weber, it becomes clear that Codemasters have been working hard to make the career in this game far more enticing and not a basic race grind. The press is back with their hard-hitting questions, though this year you can change how much time you are given to respond to them. If you’ve had a terrible race you can also choose to go down the ‘No comment’ path, however this won’t increase any of your reputations. Each week you sit down at your workstation which is a computer screen HUD where you can configure everything for the following week. Almost everything throughout your career is customisable, and you can even simulate the entire thing if you so choose. Being able to simplify the race weekend makes it far less painful for some tracks which we expect most players will do, hence why there’s an achievement for winning the Monaco GP at 25% distance or longer.

F1 2019 once again is not just about winning races, though that part certainly helps. The research & development tree is back allowing you to make minor upgrades to your vehicle as the season progresses, and through contract negotiations you can boost how quickly you can perform these upgrades. Building a reputation with different parts of your team such as the chassis department or the aerodynamics will improve your chances of successful upgrades and keeping the overall morale of your team happy goes a long way when renegotiating your contract. If you’re not happy with your team however, you can switch to a different team on multiple occasions throughout each season, or at the conclusion.

F1 2019 Review

For those unfamiliar with what it’s like to race an F1 car, it’s not all about smashing the accelerator pedal and clinging on for dear life around each corner. These days F1 cars have become very electronic and with things like DRS, ERS, fuel mixes and brake differentials, there’s plenty to do even when you’re just traveling down a straight. In a full F1 race, the actual drivers lose around four kilograms from the sheer performance, though you’re not going to be able to cancel your Lite n’ easy by playing the game. Doing a full race will require multiple pit stops with tire changes, wing adjustments, and constant feedback from your team though, so knowing how to fully utilise all of the features of an F1 vehicle gives you a huge advantage not just offline but online too.

The physics and handling in F1 2019 are very customisable, giving players greater control over how your vehicle responds to your actions. We found we had to change things up in the settings when switching from a controller to our Thrustmaster wheel, as the vehicles got a lot harder to control given the many sharp and dangerous corners on the official F1 circuits. Some fans have suggested the cars still feel a bit floaty, though we found with the right customisations we could make them behave how we wanted them to.

See 19-year-old McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris go for a F1 2019 hot lap at Circuit Paul Ricard side by side with real life:

 

Multiplayer is still total chaos. You’re just not going to get a realistic F1 race when you put a bunch of random people together online. Players seemed to be happy to ram others and spin out around every corner, not trying to participate properly with the respect needed to survive in an F1 race. Occasionally if you start at the front of a pack and manage to get around the first couple of corners unharmed you can have some good battles with other good drivers, though the next problem becomes lapping the slow drivers who try to take you out. Perhaps Codies could look at ghosting players that have fallen behind you so that there are no collisions when lapping the slower vehicles.

The graphics in the F1 games get just that little bit better with each iteration, and with the addition of the F2 cars we have plenty of eye candy to gawk over. The new F1 2019 cars look amazing, and with the flashback/rewind feature players can capture a perfect screengrab from any angle. The tracks all look great, though we did notice some of the rumble-strips, gravel pits and off-track bumps still aren’t really behaving as they do when we see Vettel or Magnussen fly over them. The surrounding environments are fantastic, with the crowd looking better than ever though just like MotoGP 19 the flags in the crowd are just floating.

F1 2019 Review

We did notice Melbourne’s skyline is looking a little old with no representation for the new Australia 108 building going up next to Eureka. It would have been great to reflect on the F1 games and see Australia 108 under construction, but it looks like Codies will (hopefully) just add it once it’s complete. This also begged the question of whether other city tracks just as Monaco and Abu Dhabi are up to date, and what the developers are working on throughout the year when it comes to each track’s surrounding environments.

Each year we can’t wait to get our hands on the new F1 game from Codemasters and see what’s new, so getting it in June was a great treat. It seems they may be looking to have the game out closer to the start of the calendar if not by the Australian Grand Prix which would be great to see in the years to come. As the years go on, the F1 games slowly blur more lines with real life, and soon we’ll be wondering whether the gameplay footage is actually from last weekend’s race. With the esports events coming up and the F2 2019 season being added for free soon, there are many reasons to pick up this year’s F1 2019.

F1 2019 Review

We reviewed F1 2019 on an Xbox One X with a standard Xbox One controller and a Thrustmaster TX Ferrari 458 Italia wheel. For more information, head to the official F1 2019 game website.


David Latham

 
David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Group of Eight university, but only uses his very unique set of skills writing about video games. By day he's a stay-at-home dad, by night he's literally Batman. Where does he find the time?