Much like the real life motorsport, the official Formula One game will undergo a number of changes this year. F1 22, like every iteration before it, aims to capture the sport as accurately as possible, and for this season, that means all new vehicles, rules, and tyre regulations, not to mention the debut of the Miami Grand Prix. All of this will be reflected in-game, and Codemasters stresses that it's overhauled the physics engine to account for the new cars and their wider wheels, as well as made tweaks to certain circuits to keep in line with real-world changes. These things alone would be change enough, but the studio is taking things a step further.
Perhaps the most notable difference between this new release and last year's entry is the absence of Braking Point, the story mode that introduced characters like Aiden Jackson and Casper Akkerman to a fictional spin on F1. Codies says the mode is missing from F1 22 so the team can devote more time to a follow-up, which will presumably arrive with next year's game. While it's a shame to see Braking Point put on the back burner, the studio has been able to instead focus on gameplay and its "biggest ever revamp of game mechanics and presentation".
As mentioned, aerodynamics, suspension, and tyre models have been significantly updated to match the new cars, evolving the already great handling model to ensure it's authentic — no porpoising, mind. Speaking of authentic, team performance will be adjusted in-game to fall in line with the real stats, and the racing experience is being deepened with the inclusion of sprint races in Career and My Team.
That isn't the only change to the popular modes. In efforts to please both casual and hardcore players, the studio has pushed accessibility as well as fan-pleasing features. For example, formation laps and safety car sequences are both fully playable if you want to immerse yourself further, but these elements can also be skipped entirely, instead playing back broadcast-like cutscenes so you can focus on the race itself. Practice programmes and pit stops can also be tweaked to your liking, providing either a more realistic or more guided experience. Adaptive AI is another new thing for F1 22, and as the name implies, it'll react to your driving and skill level to ensure races aren't too easy or too difficult.
You'll also be able to fire up your career mode in one of three starting points, depending on what you're looking for; if you like, you can kick off with a team at the top of the table, opt for a manufacturer in the midfield, or as normal, build up your team and reputation from scratch. It does seem as though Codemasters is providing a more customisable game than ever.
Further to that is F1 Life, a new feature that, in a nutshell, gives you a better taste of the F1 lifestyle. Our understanding is that it acts as a sort-of hub for your avatar. You can outfit them in not only racing gear but casual clothes and accessories too, and you'll unlock more cosmetic goodies like this as you play through the career and earn some dosh. It's here that you'll also be able to customise your own space as well as invite your friends and see their drivers too. More exciting is the inclusion of supercars, as these are drivable. Yes, you'll be able to take to the F1 circuits in road legal vehicles as well as those monstrous open-wheelers. Pirelli Hot Laps will appear during Career and My Team, and new modes like Autocross, Drift, Average Speed Zone, and Rival Duel let you tear up the tarmac in luxury cars from the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes-AMG.
It all sounds rather exciting, although we've yet to play the game for ourselves. Given the high quality of previous entries, however, we've no doubt that F1 22 will deliver a similarly enjoyable racing experience. The only question mark is with regards to virtual reality. PC VR headsets will be fully supported in this new entry, letting you play the whole game from the virtual driver's seat. Unfortunately, no mention of PSVR or PSVR2 was made during the preview presentation. We did ask, but received no answer. The hope is that Sony's upcoming headset will indeed receive support when it comes around, but there's no official word just yet.
Aside from the missing story mode, it seems Codemasters is building an extremely robust new entry. Obviously, we'll need to take it for a test drive before we can draw any real conclusions, but from everything shown, we're looking forward to getting back on the road.
F1 22 is scheduled for release on 1st July 2022, and those who pre-order the Champions Edition will receive access three days early. Are you looking forward to this year's game? Line up on the grid in the comments section below.
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