With a staple fan base and a formula for success, Codemasters could have played it very safe with this year’s F1 2019 release. But a few subtle changes have paid off and made F1 2019, arguably the best of the series.
Jumping straight in with the gameplay which is the main driving force (see what I did there) behind any racing game. In F1 2019, stepping in to one of the cockpits just feels more challenging than in previous editions and Codemasters have been able to transform reality into the game, with the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari being the powerhouses in the game and the lower tiered teams being more difficult to break through the field.
You will also find in F1 2019, that overtaking is more difficult and other drivers on the track will pull out all the stops to prevent you from gaining an easy pass. There are also a lot more technical issues which you will encounter and much like a regular F1 race, people will succumb to tyre issues and engine faults. The whole racing experience does feel like a step up from previous years and serves as a testament to Codemasters’ understanding of its fans’ feedback.
The game features a number of modes including single-player and online, but the one which features the biggest change is the Career mode. This mode was one of the highlights of the game and again goes to the point that Codemasters have not just settled with an easy rerelease of something that has been working well for them. They have really pushed the boundaries and it shows.
Your career which sees you start in the F2 Championships is a storyline which will see you battle your rival, Devon Butler. Starting with the Spanish Grand Prix and then moving on to Austria and Abu Dhabi, the direction of the game will be driven by how you react to a request to let a teammate pass you during the Spanish race. If you are able to complete the in-game challenges set for you at the start of each F2 race, you will progress onto the full F1 season and will also be joined alongside Butler and your teammate Lukas Weber.
Once you have made it to F1, the season mode remains relatively similar to past years, aside from one major enhancement. And that is the ability for drivers to move teams. Drivers will move at contract renewal phase and Codemasters have ensured that the roster of drivers is constantly changing with the veterans moving on to make space for more up and coming drivers. Just another example of them having a finger on the pulse and looking to replicate what happens in reality.
The legends’ edition of the game is focused on the epic rivalry between Arton Senna and Alan Prost, and if I am completely honest is probably the weakest element of the release. The build for this has been great and they have picked two of the greatest rivals in the sport of F1, but the payout is disappointing. If you chose the mode you will be put into a series of challenges or time trials which puts you at a disadvantage that you have to overcome. Whilst there are a total of eight challenges in total, winning three of them will unlock the F1-90 cars which is a big oversight on the game.
But not dwelling on what I believe is the only negative to this release, if you are a fan of the franchise or looking to dip your toes into a game that you haven’t yet experienced, F1 2019 will not let you down. The driving experience is second to none and brings a real feeling of being in the race when you hit the accelerator.
Codemasters have upped the ante in terms of F1 2019 and F1 fans will be able to rest safe in the knowledge that this isn’t just some games company looking for an easy buck, they really have considered their fans in the release of a fantastic game!