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Welcome VR Introduction to the greatest motorsport

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Codemasters has finally brought the world’s greatest motorsport into virtual reality, ignoring the real-world drama for some exciting racing. It is a strong adaptation, although it does not quite take the first position. Read on for our full F1 22 VR review!


It’s a tough challenge to keep an annual sports series fresh, but Codemasters has pulled it off with F1 22. For the first time in the series’ history, we’ve got an official Formula 1 game playable in VR, as long as I’ve opted for the version for PC (sorry PSVR owners). Similar to Star Wars Squadrons, VR support is entirely optional, but more importantly, it covers the entire game, allowing you to drop in and out at your convenience. This is possibly the most ambitious entry yet, so it’s very unfortunate that F1 22’s performance doesn’t always hit the mark.

Before we get into the details of VR, it’s worth exposing regular drivers to what has changed in F1 2022. There are a few major revisions beyond the standard updates to the list. The 2022 season has seen some major changes to the regulation and aero rules, which Codemasters has accurately reflected. The car’s physics have been overhauled, the steering feels refined, and you’ll find a new adaptive AI system that mirrors your performance, sometimes feeling a little hesitant to overtake. The 2021 Formula 2 season is represented and we also have the newest track on the 2022 calendar, the Miami International Autodrome.

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As for VR support, it’s a bit limited but you’ll find it where it counts. Here there are no interface settings for the menus and you cannot choose a 3dr person view like in the flat game, placing you directly inside the cockpit but only when running. It’s not locked in place with the camera, which means you can end up going through the car if you stray too far from where you synced up. It probably won’t surprise you too much to learn that your standard motion controls aren’t supported either, this requires a standard gamepad or steering wheel. Wanting to go all-in, I chose the latter, using a Hori Racing Wheel APEX which did the job very well.

Once I started competing, I was baffled. As a lifelong F1 fan, the game really captures the excitement of the first moments of a grand prix in VR for me. Between wider tracks like Monza and the narrow streets of Monaco, I felt that suspense once the lights turned green. Over the years, F1 has always been home to some close fights. Hamilton vs Verstappen, Schumacher vs Häkkinen, Prost vs Senna, every era has that fierce rivalry that went down in racing history. When you go toe-to-toe with Lewis Hamilton and Charles LeClerc, desperately trying not to cause an accident going around corners, you feel that sense of presence.

This is a game that demands your full attention, VR or not, and gains an especially exciting feel for it. Once you have your headphones on, you no longer have the advantage of seeing cars sneaking up behind you without actively checking your rearview mirrors. Instead of a HUD, speed stats are presented via the cockpit steering wheel to maintain immersion, and you can radio for updates. When it rains, water drips down his visor and vision is never terribly obscured by it, or spray from cars in front. F1 22 ticks a lot of sim boxes and honestly I’ve never had so much fun with a serious racer.

Unfortunately, F1 22 has some VR performance issues at launch that I didn’t noticeably spot in flat mode. For full context, my gaming PC uses the Ryzen 7 2700X and GeForce RTX 3070, which meets the recommended requirements for VR, and I used Meta Quest 2 via Oculus Link and Virtual Desktop. However, until I turned down the images from the automatically applied graphics settings, performance stuttered quite a bit at some points. Driving through the first chicane at Monza, crashing into the back of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and taking us both out because the headphone image isn’t ideal. To make matters worse, that wasn’t unique, so hopefully it will be fixed in a post-launch patch.

F1 22 VR Gameplay

Beyond single races, there are plenty of modes to choose from, but unfortunately, Codemasters has dropped Braking Point, the new story mode for F1 2021. Still, we do have the trusty Career Mode, where you can play as one of the 20 existing drivers among the 10 teams. Alternatively, you can start your own custom team through MyTeam, the choice is yours. Multiplayer is packed with local split-screen (although obviously not in VR) and online play, the latter providing both casual and ranked options. Solo players looking to shake things up can set up their own grand prix weekends or season schedules, along with time trials. Lastly, “Pirelli Hot Laps” introduces new challenges that will earn you XP towards your “Podium Pass” for new cosmetics, ranking your performance between Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

F1 22 VR Review – Comfort

F1 22 doesn’t feature any comfort options for VR gamers, but this isn’t an experience that really needs them. There is no use of motion controls at all, there are no vignettes when turning, and the only movement comes from inside the car. This puts you directly inside the cockpit without a third-person view option like you’d find in a flat game. As such, I would recommend playing F1 22 sitting down, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from standing.

Each of these works fine for the most part. Going head-to-head with friends is as exciting as ever and while dabbling in crafting I built a career on Esteban Ocon’s BWT Alpine, it turned out to be a lot of fun in my game. For those looking for something different, you also have playable supercars such as the Aston Martin DB11 V12 Time Trial and Hot Laps which handle differently with steering and braking. It’s a novel experience and I had fun with them, even though it felt out of place. You can’t race them against other supercars either, a missed opportunity.

I’m just not in love with the game’s great new mode, F1 Life. It provides a new hub area that other players can visit, allowing you to customize both your life area and your avatar, all purchased with Pitcoin. There’s a virtual showroom for a closer look at the cars, and you’ll buy supercars here, too. I just wish it was more interesting, there’s not much to do and to some extent it feels like an excuse to do more microtransactions. Fortunately, F1 Life isn’t key to a broader experience, so it doesn’t detract too much from the value.

Otherwise, F1 22 is a visual treat and Codemasters have clearly put the effort into this presentation. Both cars and tracks look incredibly realistic on high settings with great attention to detail. Once I switched to the lowest settings for VR, it consistently hit those higher frame rates as well. If you’ve played previous entries you’ll find it’s not a huge visual leap from F1 2021, but to be fair, it would be hard to improve on what’s already here. This is still a pretty vibrant experience.

F1 22 VR review: Final impressions

Codemasters has brilliantly captured the most exciting aspects of Formula 1 in VR for F1 22 and I’ve never felt so immersed in a racing game before. While I’m sad to see the story mode go and don’t care much for F1 Life, I can see F1 22 as appealing to both long-term fans of the series and newcomers looking for a new racer. Hopefully we’ll see a post-launch patch that fixes these performance issues, but if you’re happy to commit for now, F1 22 is a great option that’s recommended.

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