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F1 22 review: New race cars shine, supercars are duds

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Just like drivers in real life, I have had to relearn how to drive a Formula One car.

Typically, the creators of an iterative sports title like F1 22 I would avoid reviewing the fundamental game. But the all-new F1 cars, with new aerodynamics and new, larger front tyres, left Codemasters, a scrupulously authentic racing specialist, no choice. It’s not like the EA Sports studio completely remapped the controls or changed how the throttle works. But driving a truly distinctive-feeling video game car, I had to take turns and chicanes that I drove a thousand times like I’d never been on the track before.

It is the best feature of F1 22. The new cars are pleasing to the eye, the teams’ chassis has never been so different, but without performing in an understandably different, yet approachable way. F1 22 it would feel more like an expansion than an entirely new game.

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So the competitive reset that the FIA ​​hoped for with its new F1 specs has carried over to the video game as well. For example, the early time trial leaderboards, on fast tracks like Bahrain and Austria, and technical mainstays like Spain and Great Britain, are generally slower than last year. My best moment in Bahrain in F1 2021 would be number 1 on Xbox in F1 22. And I was shocked to realize that at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where I was a full nine seconds behind the No. 1 driver in 2021 qualifying, my starting best time of 1:19.978 is just 3.5 seconds off No. 1 in the world in this year’s game.

There are articulated reasons for both tenses. The first is that the landing gears on new cars now create a ground effect that, somewhat counterintuitively, makes them more responsive at high speeds and less responsive at slower speeds, comparatively speaking. So it seems that there is a lower, but more equitable, performance ceiling in places like Spain; Last year, elite gamers, esports stars in particular, could tiptoe past their nervous back end in times that always seemed impossible to me. This year, we are all dealing with understeer at the last chicane.

On faster tracks, the new tires combine with the slower corners to create a different traction regimen that demands very tricky cornering, especially when stepping on the throttle on corner exit. In F1 2021 and the previous two years, I was able to drive (on a gamepad) without traction control by setting the brake assist to medium. Traction control is an assist that prevents drivers, particularly those not using a steering wheel or pedals, from sliding, but at considerable cost to their lap times. But last year’s brake assist, as I understand it, lasted the entire turn, and the dirty secret was that brake assist was enough to control my rear wheel’s spin, without the slower, brute-force solution of brake control. traction.

All of that is off the table with F1 22‘s new cars. There’s no way to avoid it; me to have to use traction control, as well as brake assist, even to complete a lap in Bahrain, a notoriously “rear-limited” course (meaning drivers really have to watch how they step on the gas). But the strangely delightful consequence of the new cars’ high-speed performance is that wide parabolas, like Turn 3 in Spain, are much more manageable, and it’s much easier to take and hold your racing line at full throttle. Again, the Codemasters game has responded to the intent behind the new FIA car design, with shorter lap times, more frequent overtaking and greater parity on the field.

This tech talk is a long way of saying that what goes on under the hood of F1 22 it’s where you’ll find the true replay value, the hundred-hour time sink. Core modes like Driver Career and My Team, which are still fascinating, make no mistake, have seen modest feature additions and none that really mess with their core gameplay loops. Still, Codemasters has responded to the demands of its community with things like paint finishes for custom liveries; new data presentation that makes race practice schedules more meaningful (for those who care about tire temperatures, anyway); and new starting points for a created team. Players can now designate their fictional team as a favorite, midfield contender, or baseliner before starting My Team mode, which affects the amount of cash they have available at the start and the strength of their factory.

Once again, with the effect of clearing the covers of F1’s new car regulations, it is at least narratively plausible that an entirely new team could top the table in its first year. (After all, Alfa Romeo and Haas are getting to Q3 and scoring points in real life.) And for gamers who like the classic sports video game racing story. F1 22 You still have plenty of switches and options to set up a long run.

F1 22 it also has a host of new presentation options, and the TV exposure of the sport is probably the main reason F1 22 has new fans curious about the game. Still, the improvements barely convey the feel of the televised F1 broadcasts that have piqued his interest. Alex Jacques is a new Anglophone announcer for those tired of David Croft, and there’s a new race engineer, Marc Priestly, ex-McLaren F1, to replace the obnoxious, fictional “Jeff” of F1’s past. But they both still read the same lines from previous games. There are “broadcast” options where you watch, rather than control, parts of the race like formation laps and pit stops. But the commentary and camera work you get doesn’t really justify relinquishing control, even for these interstitial moments.

Ferrari F8 Tributo supercar in Baku at F1 22

Image: Codemasters/Electronic Arts

Less prominent in the overall experience are the new Supercars and lifestyle presentation that F1 22 tries Supercars (street legal but very high performance cars from today’s F1 constructors) are good fun for a time trial on a favorite track or in one of the Pirelli Hot Laps mini-games. But the novelty quickly wears off, as soon as you realize it’s a fully PvE experience; Also, there is no standard race, not even against a CPU field, using the Supercars.

Codemasters’ intention was to mimic the presence of these machines on a normal race weekend, where F1 drivers show up in the paddock at the wheel of a Ferrari F8 Tributo, or spook a motorsports journalist with a ride on the official safety car. But the Supercars, which are much Heavier and slower than F1 or Formula Two cars, and yet fun in their own way, they practically beg for their own multiplayer race (with, naturally, an F1 car as the pace car). After all, the Aston Martin DB11 is in both grand tourer 7 Y force horizon 5. If Codemasters is trying to invade your turf with Supercars, the studio’s initial offering has nothing to fear for PlayStation or Xbox.

Otherwise, there is little point in collecting or repainting them. At least the Supercars are only unlocked by play time, in any mode, and not by microtransactions. And the mileage required to unlock them is next to nothing for a dedicated F1 player testing their setups or driving full events. After two days with the game, he had unlocked seven of the eight. Players can place them in one of six bays at a virtual office/playboy hangout, which can also be decorated with items purchased through the Season Paddock Pass or through in-game currency (purchased with real money). Multiplayer friends can visit and like your lifestyle hub, but that’s all it’s there for. It is a non-interactive space and is not critical to the roleplaying or narrative of the game’s career modes.

This is not to complain about that F1 22 lacks depth, or is a reskin from last year’s game. There’s a lot of meat on your bones in the new cars and their handling, so modest inclusions and changes to long game modes can still make it all feel like a new experience. The challenge of understanding and configuring an entirely new vehicle, knowing that no one on YouTube or the forums is really sure they’re doing it right, is unique to this sports video game.

The verdict, then, is that F1 22 it should appeal to hardcore fans, who expect real fidelity in vehicle performance, as well as more casually interested newcomers who approach this video game with a spectator’s curiosity. That combination of depth and accessibility is a difficult needle for any esports developer to thread, and rarely results in transformative work. F1 22 it’s not one, but it didn’t have to be: creating new cars and the organic challenge of learning to drive them to the limit was transformation enough.

F1 22 launches on July 1 at Playstation 4, Playstation 5, windows PERSONAL COMPUTER, xbox oneY xbox series x. The game was reviewed on Xbox Series X with a download code provided by Electronic Arts. Vox Media has affiliate associations. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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