Title: F1® 2019
Publisher: Koch Media
Platform: Xbox One
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £54.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review copy of this title.
I love F1. It’s been a passion of mine since the, and the same can be said for the games that release. From Bizzare Creations to EA and then to Codemasters the games have been a mixed bag but over the last few years, the career mode, gameplay and presentation have been second to none. Can F1® 2019 improve yet again? The answer is yes, without a doubt.
For most gamers, the core replay value will be in the Career mode, and the improvements are noticeable from the get-go. Much like last year, you have a PR manager who looks after your reputation with the media and the team. You have an engineer who will guide you in the basics of the car set up and development within the team. The most significant difference this year is the media interviews which on the face of it may seem familiar as this was introduced early on in the series, but the interviews have a big part to play in your career in F1. Last year these interviews didn’t feel natural and Codemasters have taken this on board and provided better responses, and your responses genuinely feel that they matter in the grand scheme of your season.
For your career it starts with you in a defined scenario of a few Formula 2 events against AI drivers leading up to starting your Formula One career, you can pick any one of the teams in F2 such as Russian Time, Carlin or ART. This is a welcome touch, although in several attempts to see if there is a difference you get to pick any one of the main teams still when you get the call-up.
When you start your career, you get to pick a team you wish to race for. Each one will have a Sportsmanship or Showmanship preference, and each time a media interview comes up, there are four choices in response and will be crucial in either securing your standings with the current team or to impress one of the other teams enough to where they would consider offering you a contract with them. Some of the responses can help boost the development of your current car, and I found a lot of my responses boosted the engine department and made it easier to upgrade the parts.
The Research and Development aspect of the career mode takes a ramp up and is a welcome change. Throughout the season you earn R and D points by meeting team objectives, beating rivals and by winning races. You can spend points on different parts of the car development (some parts will carry over to next year) but the difference this time is that there are rule changes that will impact for the following year. If you focus purely on this year and you may well win the championship but fall victim to losing out to important changes and fall straight down the pecking order. I found it best to take a balanced approach and concentrate on the chassis for the following year and stay mid-table, the next season I was towards the front qualifying in the top 6 and getting podium finishes. A real joy to do!
Compared to last year at the end of the season other drivers are not exempt from moving to different teams, I got a call up to Mercedes while that meant Valtteri Bottas moved to McLaren. A real welcome addition to the game. As I briefly mentioned earlier, Formula, 2 is a small part of the main career, but you can play a full season separately and enjoy the whole mechanics too. This includes the sprint race, feature race and the chaos that ensues if you have ever watched it. The cars handle differently to the F1 counterparts, and I feel more of a challenge to drive and master. The broadcast style is the same, commentary and analysis from Alex Jacques and Davide Valsecchi.
Quite simply this year’s game handles and plays so much better than last years offering. This is mostly down to the handling of the cars, and there has been much improvement in the way the car drives around the track with the track mechanics punishing you for going over the kerbs which put a massive smile on my face the first time I ventured slightly wide to get into the corner faster. Immediately my front end twitched and lost control snapping the oversteer to attempt to stay on track, this is the same all the way through on any track, mastering the layout of the circuit is key to get the most out of the car and the tyres.
Speaking the tyres, it has always been a concern from the moment Pirelli introduced all of the different compounds over the years that the F1 titles have not matched the speed, grip of the real-life counterparts, this year is entirely different, and the grip levels and speed give the complete experience. Gone are the Rainbow colours of the last few years and the names Hypersoft and Ultrasoft, just the Soft Medium and Hard but have the same characteristics, however.
C5 will be soft but have the Hypersoft feel, and C4 will have the Ultrasoft edge. Driving around Baku on the soft tyre, you might be tempted to think that even when you are pushing to the maximum that this is the absolute best time. Only to then see that you are 2 seconds off the delta of the front car on the Soft tyres. You can immediately tell the difference when switching to the quickest tyre although in this year’s game the focus is on tyre management, which can be checked using the on-screen display. Knowing when to push and save the tyres can win or lose a race or stint in a heartbeat!
Do you push hard in the first few laps and take the best out of them to get a few seconds head start of the driver behind? Or take a conservative approach and push towards the end of the stint to get an undercut in the pit stop. I often go flat out in a race, and when I was racing in Canada, my right front tyre on the back straight exploded and then lost all of the hard work done I’d done for the past 14 laps.
All of the tracks of the 2019 calendar are included with the new revamped Paul Ricard circuit and the German Grand Prix Hockenheim. Each track looks impressive and more so with the HDR 4k elements, especially with the change of weather conditions, I’ve reviewed this on the Xbox One X and much like how well last years title performed F1 2019 shines on the platform.
One part of the last year’s F1 title I enjoyed was the inclusion of the classic cars and to be able to race a season in one or taking part in seasonal events. Last year included the 2009 Brawn GP title-winning car, this year depending on which edition bought includes the 2010 McLaren MP4-25 which Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button enjoyed some success with and also the Ferrari F10 which Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa Drove. Both cars drive tremendously well with a massive amount of grunt and grip.
It’s key to remember here that Codemasters has released these cars as apart of the F1 2010 game, but both of the beasts perform so much better than in the game at the time. Clear to see the huge difference in detail and driving ability. The same can be said if you buy the Legends edition of F1 2019. This version includes these cars but also the ability to play the game three days early and Ayrton Senna/Alain Prost’s 1990 respective beasts McLaren MP4/5B and the Ferrari F1-90. These are great cars to drive and to compliment these we are treated to 8 challenges to take part in that literally take your breath away.
Multiplayer has changed this year, and it had to really as although previous years had great content for the season it was still laggy and winning a race was sheer luck or being able to rely on disconnections. In F1 2019 we are treated to leagues and full race simulations featuring custom liveries for a car that has a lot of depth and colour scheme changes that invite trial and error. If you are lucky enough to have the legends edition then the Prost/Senna liveries and clothing will be unlocked, the rest is done via in-game currency. I have had a blast playing through practice sessions and the qualifying.
Races will start pretty much on the hour every hour, and I have found this to be pretty much reliable and fun. You can also unlock badges for your profile and super licence. The online code is reliable, and I have found the respect level from other gamers to be better than before. The success E-Sports is a clear help and for better understanding instead of racing against a 1996 Michael Schumacher for example.
In summary, F1® 2019 is yet another step up in the series. With a much better menu system, increased customisation offerings for your driver, an expansive upgrade in Multiplayer incorporating e-sports and yet another strong dose of career mode make F1® 2019 the racing game of the year so far. I didn’t think DiRT Rally 2.0 could be beaten, but with F2 being added and the upgrades mentioned above, F1® 2019 is the best F1 game for a generation.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase F1® 2019 from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/f1-2019/bp4h9hd3fswb?source=lp&activetab=pivot%3Aoverviewtab
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.