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F1 2022 review: Money-driven, flawed and still exciting

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the F1 2022 The video game promises to offer a more realistic racing experience, tailored to the new spec cars as well as all the tracks this year and your chance to compete for the title, as always. Despite some unwanted monetization and a complete lack of a story mode, F1 2022 it still gets the job done for all the would-be champions sitting in your living room. At the same time, it’s not much better than the game that is successful.

Some cleanup reviews: I played F1 2022 on an Xbox One, using a controller. I didn’t get a chance to try the VR options, so they’re not included in this. I played a little over 20 hours before writing my thoughts here.

The newly released title has everything you’d expect from an F1 game: race cars, race tracks, development, teams, you know how it goes. But there is one notable exception, which is that it goes back to the story mode that smoothly entered F1 2020 and totally in F1 2021. It was called Braking Point, and it wasn’t a great work of cinematic importance; in fact, it really bothered me. But not having it now made the game feel strangely incomplete.

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when you start F1 2022 it begins in a kind of strange place; you are not on a race track or in a factory. Instead, you’re chilling out in some kind of LA-like mansion with your friends. This is F1 Life, your new home that you don’t care about and will never see, which I guess is pretty accurate for an F1 driver’s LA mansion, but also feels like a pointless piece of programming.

That is until you realize that this is where you can fill a garage with supercars and equip yourself in all the Anti-Social Social Club virtual drip you want, via Pitcoins. Yes, these are as misleading as their name. It feels a bit harsh to punch him in the face with a monetization option, which essentially results in a non-interactive version of The Simsfresh off the blocks, but F1 Life is the only way you can change the game beyond your race results.

Once I escaped my NFT entourage and got into career mode, I automatically started to start in Formula 2, the most important junior category before F1. I really like F2, I cover it and it’s a nice series to watch, and ever since the F2 race was introduced I’ve always played it, but it definitely didn’t feel like a great addition this time around, let alone essential.

This made me realize how much I missed the story mode. It felt so thin that there was just nothing, no narrative or characterization around anything. F2 just isn’t the same without the obnoxious (and totally fictional) Devon Butler, and it feels wrong to develop a seething resentment towards real-life F2 driver Alessio Deledda just because he was my teammate and got in my way. road. However, I found that you can go quite fast in Jeddah while literally pushing another F2 car to improve the team’s result.

One change for 2022 is that Jeff, the eternal engineer of the F1 series, he has been replaced by real-life F1 mechanic Marc Priestley. Depending on your mileage, this will either mean you have a lovely, smooth voice delivering essentially the same lines as Jeff or if you worked in the same paddock as Marc for years, you’ll end up yelling “I broke a coffee machine with you, don’t tell me what to do with the tires” on television during a low moment.

Without the story mode or the rivalry, F2 is fairly anonymous. Strangely, although F1 teams are updating to 2022 lineups, F2 teams are using 2021 ones. This means there are minor inconsistencies, such as the HWA team being in while VAR is not, if you’re interested in the changes of his junior series. Moving on to F1 is obviously the essence of the game, with the 2022 cars.

They are cunning beasts, porpoising, rebounding and struggling with tire temperatures. Real race teams can’t simulate their behaviors properly, so I didn’t really expect the F1 game to do that, especially since it never really simulated the previous aerodynamic era. It’s not like you were doomed to spin around in your starting position because overtaking was almost impossible on F1 2019 or that the cars couldn’t run much, much closer than on the track.

I haven’t driven a 2022 car in real life, so it’s hard to say if they really captured the same feeling, but overall, it really didn’t seem that different. Fine-tuning settings, if you really get into the engineering, will probably have some major impacts, but for most gamers, it’s going to feel like the F1 games always have. I didn’t find anything in the setup parts I played with that changed things in a way I wouldn’t have expected from previous games.

That said, I can’t pretend that I’m a regular F1 league driver or anything, and the game repeatedly frustrated me because I expected myself to know how to do everything in it. I don’t know if this is just because I finally got old, but trying to find settings to change felt tricky, interrupting a series of runs to tweak something minor and ending up digging through menus where the specific setting was.

Figuring things out is a natural part of progressing in any game, but since I was playing casual to try to get as much information as possible for review, I felt giving me some pointers might have been helpful, at least as something a more experienced player could turn off. Likewise, there were a couple of things (steering assist and an AI tweak that slows down the pack to keep up with you if you’re really struggling) that felt like the game might have auto-suggested if you had a couple of disastrous rounds and needed encouragement, rather than risk people thinking it was just impossible.

I stink F1 2022 on almost incomprehensible levels, but I managed to get a pole position and a podium at the end of my first season. I got through the game way too fast and skipped most of the practice sessions, so I definitely wasn’t progressing the way someone doing it right would, and I want to try again, but at least it felt like I was sinking hours in took you somewhere. And the hours passed easily enough, even when I was getting annoyed with both the game and myself. As with previous installments in the franchise, it’s not hard to find yourself thinking “Yeah, just one more round and then I’ll cook dinner.”

Maybe I should have spent a concentrated amount of time on each track instead of thinking about how, without the story mode, everything became a bit the same as single player. The new tracks are fine; Miami is as much fun as it was to see it from across the Atlantic, which means he would happily never drive there again. The tweaked Yas Marina meanwhile was great and not just because that was where I finally got pole and celebrated with the unorthodox decision to pick up my raging 17-pound cat like a Pirelli trophy because, yes, I had invested it. .

That’s the thing, it’s a F1 play. If you’re an F1 fan (and I am a lot) then it allows you to live out a little fantasy of being an F1 driver for a while, regardless of your starting skill level or if you have a sim rig or if you’ve ever I will play it competitively. Even without an overarching narrative, your season becomes one: heartbreakingly crushed in your first points finish, a rivalry with the AI ​​that’s convinced you and Nicholas Latifi are destined to be mortal enemies. And when you get to spray the virtual champagne, you still feel like you’ve accomplished something. Competing, and especially winning, is as much fun as ever.

It’s only when he offers to put your trophy in your fake mansion, with your fake friends lurking around, that he puts a Metaverse-y brake on it. Yes, I want to pretend to be an F1 driver, not a loser.

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