Due to a slight technical problem, Codemasters provides the images. Our reviewer has verified that these are representative.
Eight years after his authorized F1 franchise, developer Codemasters continues to explore new ways to enrich the experience off the road as well as on it. The main feature for this year is the column in inches. In the shadow of the narrative modes in sports titles such as The Journey of FIFA 17, F1 2018 asks: will you be a sportsman or a showman?
For years now, F1 games have been objectively very good racing titles: slippery, fast and refined packages that offer a virtual representation of the fastest sport in the world. Where gaps have appeared, Codemasters has filled them. Features like classic cars offer the right fan service, and consistent improvements have been made to everything from the appearance to the driving sensation and the opponent's AI.
However, with the addition of headlines in particular, I wonder: who cares?
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Are inserted seamlessly into the championship race mode, at least. It's pretty standard in that department: pick a team from the grid, complete practice sessions to unlock points to improve the car, earn rivalry points through the ranking and race results, and aim for a championship victory.
I always think that the F1 games give more in return the more you put. A better advice? Play in more difficult settings than you may be used to. Leave the assistance so that restrictive ABS brakes or traction control do not help; Get rid of the fluorescent driving line that guides you to each corner and gives you visual indications about when to brake.
Leave all safety nets that are feasible for your skill level and F1 2018 is a ripped corridor. It has drama and soul at its best, turning the most mundane into possible game changers. Raindrops can change a race completely; An inopportune virtual safety car can turn your well-earned lead into a second fight by the finish line; Get the wrong strategy and you're full. Play longer races and you will see that the organic degradation of the tire and other mechanical bases of the sport follow their natural course.
The rivalries with F1 2018 are very similar to those of previous games. AI is much more aggressive now, which results in some excellent wheel-to-wheel fighting, but sometimes it's inconsistent. AI runners too often follow clearly dangerous lines when you are overtaking or defending, and almost always come out worse than any unwanted shunt or pothole.
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Rules and regulations can raise eyebrows, too – hand out fines and warnings for everything from collisions to corner cuts, but you'll receive warnings for things that clearly were not your fault. A good example was a rear short on the back of Esteban Ocon in the race to the first corner in Singapore. I finished with a warning.
I sat in front of the screen at home, that moment had me furious. But in a post-race press interview, everything seems too inconsequential. The interviews are short, fortunately, but none of that really feels as if you are imparting your own personality in the pitlane press paddock. You are simply manipulating an invisible meter that slides from one end to the other according to your answers.
It is morality in its most basic form. I'm sure that avid RPG players could imagine themselves doing this for the reals but in the grand scheme of what F1 2018 offers: the depth, the accuracy, the absolute speed of all this, all this is just a distraction. I realized that I was not paying attention to any of that, so much so that the new F1 halos had a greater impact on my experience. [FortunatelythedepthofstrategicadjustmentshasbeenbuiltinotherplacesTheprogressionhasbecomemoreelusiveandeasiertounderstandwhichreducesthefeelingofcomplexnessthatwasapretenseofthelastgameItwasmuchmoreinvestedinimprovingthismoment
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What I like the most is the on-the-fly management of F1. The things that really matter while you are on the track, and that affect the moment to moment, play more drastically. The game retains the intuitive method of communicating with your engineer from the cockpit, as well as ways in which you can modify the car on the fly.
Meanwhile, the addition of functions like ERS, which stores kinetic energy in braking and then releases it during acceleration, means that the settings will be altered more regularly to manage the built-in battery. It is not complicated in the execution, but it adds that extra level of thought to use those moments of respite on the straights to play with the wheel.
Of course, for any F1 fan, there are new drivers, updated car trunks and new tracks that really make a fun new game. The main track this year is the French circuit Paul Ricard, as well as Hockenheim, who was absent in the last F1 game.
Paul Ricard makes a calendar show; its difficult turns to dominate make it one of the most challenging circuits in the championship season. It gave me a brilliant reason to work on those practice sessions in order to identify the places I needed to improve before qualifying and the day of the race. Eight years of F1 games have let me know practically all the tracks of the memory circuit, having a less known one is a delight.
Related information: Gamescom 2018
Other updates, such as an increase in the refresh rate in the car suspension, makes it the most satisfying game to date. Even with a controller pad, it conveys a sense of physicality that is truly impressive whether you're competing with a new pair of boots or an old 15-lap rubber.
F1 2018 is still a game that shines on the track, then. Forget talking to journalists in the confines of a press paddock: this is a sport about being at the forefront of technology, inches from a solid metal barrier, in the sunny streets of a tax haven. And may God bless you.
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