F1 car from F1 2019 game

The graphics are stunning but just wait until you race at night (Pic: Codemasters)

Codemasters has brought their annual release forward and added more features than ever to their new F1 game but could they have done more?

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As with any sports game tied to an annual release, the challenge is not only to improve what came before but to innovate year-on-year. Its a tricky thing to get right and at the moment many of the big franchises are struggling to justify the hefty price tag of a new game every 12 months.

Codemasters decided to make things even more difficult for themselves this year, by releasing F1 2019 more than two months earlier than usual – in order to bring the game closer to the real life racing calendar. To do this, they expanded their development team, which in turn meant they could focus on a long list of new features, which in itself is mightily impressive. Given these circumstances you could almost forgive them if they had just updated F1 2018 to this seasons cars and divers and left it at that.



But despite this self-imposed deadline, early impressions of F1 2019 are good. The menus are slick and easy to navigate. Theres a dedicated area for F1 esports, if thats your thing, and the showroom provides a good five minutes of fun reminding yourself of classic F1 cars of days gone by.

Personally, I just had a quick flick around the menu before heading to career mode, where I expected to spend most of my time on F1 2019.

There is something of a blind spot in the majority of sports games at the moment, when it comes to career mode. Forgive me for switching to more familiar territory so quickly but take a look at PES and FIFA, where their career modes have barely been touched in years. Madden feels stale and the F1 series up to this point was heading the same way.

Now though, you begin your career in F2 and are given dialogue options pre and post-race that have a clear effect upon the trajectory of your career. You can play the sporting teammate or an odious maverick only with eyes for podiums and championships. Whatever path you take can provide boosts or penalties to your car and your team. Its clever and gives career mode a story-like feel and makes sure its not just race, race, race.

But there could be more. The F2 season is in fact just three scenarios and although I found myself sucked into the rivalry with the irritatingly smug Devon Butler, as soon as you progress to F1 the cut scenes disappear and youre more or less plugged back into the same career mode every fan has experienced since F1 2014.



Despite its shortfalls, fans of the series will be delighted to see driver transfers occur during your career and, as one of the most requested features, stands to make F1 2019 a must-have purchase for career mode obsessives.

Onto the track and a quick admission – I love F1 but Ive not played an F1 game in many years, so I went into this anxiously wondering what I would get out of it. A lot, as it turned out.

Visually, it looks fantastic on console. The presentation of the circuits and the media furore of a race weekend is also expertly done, with Anthony Davidson and Tom Crofts analysis readying you for the speed and tension you feel in these elite machines.

Wheel to wheel racing in F1 2019 game

Wheel-to-wheel racing is equal parts scary and thrilling. Good luck (Pic: Codemasters)

Then there are the races. As a rookie, I guess the best word to describe my experience is carnage. On an open track Im fine but as soon as you throw in turn 1 and 20 cars haring towards it youre asking for trouble with me behind the wheel. I think Baku was the only race I managed to get my Alfa Romeo through the first two turns without losing part of my front wing and even that one ended in retirement five laps later.

Its tough but thats absolutely fine. Its also exhilarating and thats fine too – encouraging even. This is what I want to experience behind the wheel of an F1 car and Codemasters has done a fine job of recreating that.


After many race weekends, a pattern became clear though. I was qualifying on the front of the grid in my measly Alfa Romeo almost every track before getting obliterated in the race. Theres a chance its me, and my race craft and strategy is awful, but theres also a strong suggestion that the balance isnt quite right with the artificial intelligence. This is presumably something that can be tweaked in a patch though, so well keep an eye on that one.

Otherwise, the computer drivers are very stubborn when youre hunting them down and opportunistic on attack, without being suicidal. So when I wound up in midfield battles it just amplified the intensity of driving an F1 car and the sheer terror you feel going wheel to wheel at 200 mph. In short, its fantastic fun.

Elsewhere, online races are somRead More – Source