Codemasters’ newest instalment in its celebrated F1 franchise is finally here, promising high-speed thrills, new modes and improved racing mechanics.
Essentially, however, F1 2018 is a polished version of F1 2017. Last season’s effort already impressed, but small changes to the 2018 instalment have elevated the game to the most lifelike Formula One experience to date. For instance, better utilisation of the rumble feature throughout races has an impact on your driving style. Now road textures and the grip of your tires on the road can always be gauged through the precise rumbling of the DualShock 4. While drifting off the tarmac in F1 2017 felt stiff and unrealistic, you can really feel your car starting to go in F1 2018.
Along with the responsive rumble mechanic on the track, you’ll notice changes in your cockpit, too. To match with real changes made to F1 cars during the current season, a protective halo has been added to the framework of the car. This reinforced carbon fibre bar wraps around the bodywork of your vehicle. Its purpose? To protect drivers from flying debris and offer better collision protection. Its introduction is likely to divide opinion as it completely redesigns the once sweeping feel of an open cockpit, although in this F1 game the purpose is completely aesthetical to represent the latest changes in F1 guidelines. Those who enjoy the game from cockpit mode are likely to notice a decrease in visibility which may cause problems in tight corners and narrow straights of road. Thankfully, Codemasters offers up a variety of viewpoints, ranging from the nose of the car to a far chase stance in which the halo causes little distraction. You can even turn the halo column (the middle bar) off to increase visibility if you wish.
F1 2017 gained plaudits for its introduction of new cars and the variety of modes available. Classic Career mode is still the main draw of the bunch in F1 2018, allowing you to work your way up the ranks, changing teams and tactics to become the world champion. A new addition to Career mode is the post-race interview section where you will be grilled on your performance in the previous qualifier or race via a dialogue wheel. The answers you choose will alter your team’s perception of you. Tell the reporter something slightly controversial and the team you’re with may reject you for being hot-headed, or you may be applauded for bringing media coverage to your brand. Brilliantly, different teams are looking for different reactions from you and this keeps things interesting.
Other modes still exist for players who want to jump into a race without the need for practice runs and qualifying stages. Grand Prix allows you to select multiple races, stringing together a tournament including only courses of your choice. This mode includes the popular classic car option and, among returning favourites, you can expect to see the 2003 Williams FW25 and 2009 Brawn BGP-001 burning rubber on the track. The vast catalogue of both classic and modern cars available makes for an enjoyable, nostalgic, and varied experience. There are also circuits from old and new F1 seasons alike. Making its debut in this 2018 edition is Le Castellet circuit from the French Grand Prix, while the Hockenheimring German race track returns following a year out from the game.
Time trials are perfect to hone your skills on the circuits without the distraction of other drivers cluttering the track. Championship mode and multiplayer also return with the same rules implemented as in the 2017 edition. However, multiplayer mode now has a new Super Licence mode which looks at your strengths and weaknesses, matching you with others of the same level. This feature is sure to eradicate unfair match ups, making it easier to reach those elusive podium places.
F1 2018 is a complex game filled with intricate in-depth features that will be untouched by most casual players. The game allows you to ease into the steep learning curve before delving into the intricacies of tire type, fuel saturation, and electrical recovery systems. Your personal race engineer will offer you guidance through the DualShock 4 speaker in each race assisting you with strategy, and for a new or causal gamer, these suggestions often provide the winning formula. By pressing L1 you can source a pool of information regarding distances between cars ahead, the condition of your vehicle, and the current place of your assigned rival.
Through all these modes the game continues to look effortlessly realistic. From a graphical point of view, the game gets better and better each year. Tiny cockpit details are clear even at top speed, tarmac on the road’s surface is blemished with stains from hot tires, and your racer’s hands make impromptu gestures depending on what’s going on in the race. When driving in difficult racing conditions such as rain or fog the track transforms into something even more impressive as the screen becomes peppered with spots of water which roll off the gleaming body work of your car. Photo mode is another new addition, which means that those stunning graphics and lens flares can be captured forever.
With challenging racing and a diverse car management system, F1 2018 is filled with endless opportunity. Although undeniably similar to last season’s effort, small changes have improved the overall experience enough to merit a revisit. And, ultimately, F1 2018 takes the chequered flag as the best F1 instalment to date.
Haven't owned an F1 game since the early PS3 days.
Glad the series is in good hands with Codies.
I've not played an F1 game for years so I'll be definitely getting this one, it looks and sounds quality. Nice review (and sub headline).
Will pick it up on Xbox One as I got my racing gear there...
Steep learning curve is right, I just purchased f1 2017 and I'm getting wrecked lol. I may check this one out at later date.
Great review. I really want to buy this, but unless they add a PSVR mode where you can at least drive a car around all of the tracks (Gran Turismo Sport style), I'll have to pass.
Shame if they don't, because their DiRT Rally VR upgrade was great.
@KALofKRYPTON It's very well done. They've taken the success from F1 2017 and polished the game. Looks and plays beautifully. Thanks for reading.
@SoulChimera Thanks for reading! A PSVR mode is something that would work well but I have no idea if it's something they have in the pipeline for the game.
I'm not a huge F1 fan but I did enjoy F1 2017 a lot, so I'm glad to hear this is a step forward — albeit an incremental one. I'll almost certainly get this in a sale at some point.
Deffo getting this after reading a lot of positive things about the game and watching some gameplay on YouTube.
Thanks for the review!
@RoyalGuard Thank you for reading and commenting. I am not the best F1 Driver and I hardly scratch the surface when it comes to all of the customisation options, I feel very overwhelmed!
@ApostateMage Thank you for your comments!
@get2sammyb Thanks Sammy! honestly the heavily implemented rumble mechanic was the nicest change, now you feel as though you're driving even without a steering wheel.
@General_Spiller Your welcome! I hope you enjoy the game!
Always a good sign when reviews come out well ahead of the release date. Already have this pre-ordered. Should satisfy my racing fix until Forza Horizon 4 comes out in October.
@RebeccaStow97 Nice informative review as always. For someone like me who hasn't played an F1 game since 2013 is this a much more essential game then it would be if I played 2016 and 2017?
It's good that they improve on the right things with F1 2018. It's not the driving and physics they had to improve or expand upon, but the softer aspects like management and team interaction. It's things that fans have complained about for years, so it's nice see it getting more attention, even though it is rather late of them.
Really good review though. Racing games usually get a rather sloppy or hasty review in the mainstream press (in contrast to those who focus on reviewing racing games).
@RebeccaStow97 Nice review and this is what I was waiting for to see about getting a racing game. It's been a long time and it's nice to see this one is a good one. I'm sure to pick this up.
Hello @adf86. you can generally get into the F1 games in any order but F1 2018 is the most authentic when compared to the actual formula one season. Also the graphics keep getting better and better
Thank you @Bonbonetti, I reviewed 2017 last year so It was easy to see the corrections and improvements. I'm glad you enjoyed the review
@Nightcrawler71 Fingers crossed you enjoy it as much as I did
mines been on pre order for months great review
@RebeccaStow97 overwhelmed is the perfect word. Doesnt negate the fact that the game is fun and the sense of speed is great!
I just started GT Sport recently, and it completly reactivated my love for driving games (maybe it was just ok when it launched, but it's a fact that it's now a frezaking awesome game ! Tons of things to do, to custom, and a really sense of LOVE for driving). Anyway, now I read this review (very well written by the way, kudos to the reviewer !) and I want a F1 game.
I think I'll preorder the damn thing !
@RoyalGuard I usually test some of the set-ups others have posted on sites like RaceDepartment or f1carsetup (http://f1carsetup.com/index.php?/forum/310-f1-2017-setups/). Sometimes I find one that really works for me, but most of the time I have to tweak them a bit to suit my own style. Still, they are a very good starting point. You'll be really surprised I think, by the difference it will make to your driving, if you get a really good set-up.
Fast isn't even the word for this game @RoyalGuard
@Bonbonetti thank you will look into it. I just have a problem keeping up with the AI. They burn me.
@RebeccaStow97 true true! I can't keep up with the AI tho. Lol perhaps more practice.
@RebeccaStow97 just wanted to chime in and applaud you for the tagline “Trulli awesome“ 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
I am sorely tempted to get this as I have not even thought of getting a codies f1 game as I hated with a passion f1 2010 but this looks awesome and the review has almost swayed me I need to see it running in front of me to get an idea if i will like it or not.
What a odd looking "cars"...
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