In a year with reduced sport, F1 fans have a video game to turn to that so finely crafted, it’s as good as the real thing.
Game: F1 2020
Format: PC, PS4, XBO
Release Date: Out Now
Much like the FIFA and NBA 2K games, Codemasters’ F1 series has become an anticipated yearly purchase for gamers. And like those elite titles, years of polish and refinement have ensured gamers can trust in an experience that looks phenomenal and is buttery smooth to play. But never has a release in this series been more needed than in 2020.
With the coronavirus pandemic reaching critical point literally a day before the Australian GP, the 2020 Formula One season has been thrown into chaos. F1 fans went for too long starved of those frantic starts, wheel-to-wheel 300km/h overtakes, tense pit stops and endless melodrama as egos and money collide at high speeds. Oh, how we missed it. But not anymore.
Unlike the real drivers, in Codemasters’ F1 2020 you can still race through the entire F1 2020 calendar as your favourite driver and in your favourite car. That’s particularly exciting given that two new tracks have joined the fun in an expanded 22-race season; the brand spanking Hanoi Circuit in Vietnam, and the return of Holland’s Zandvoort Circuit, last seen in 1985.
For hardcore lovers of the sport, the new circuits bring an extra thrill to a game that already does a brilliant job of simulating the sport. The nuance in car detail and physics combine with subtleties in track camber and corner angles to transfer the G-force right down the controller. While you can, of course, scale back the difficulty to match your gaming ability, this is a title that revels in the cathartic joys of earning faster lap times a thousandth of a second at a time on expert difficulty.
Indeed, the campaign goes one step further this year by allowing you to create your own customer team and driver, then to enter yourself in the championship. You can even test yourself in the 2019 F2 campaign first to truly follow the journey of aspiring F1 drivers. Managing your team on and off the track, competing in races, and trying to climb to the top of an expanded 22-car grid is awesome fan service.
We’re also excited by the addition of splitscreen in F1 2020. While the robust online multiplayer experience has always been at the forefront of this game, racing a mate on the same couch has been sorely missing. As such, it’s an addition not to be taken lightly, with the ability to independently adjust the driving aids and difficulty meaning you can keep it competitive even if your buddy is a noob. Codemasters has long been regarded as masters of the racing genre, and with its F1 series, it’s got the world’s most elite sport under full control. Get racing!
Over a dozen classic vehicles from yesteryear are in the game, allowing you to experience how handling and power has evolved over the years. You can go back to the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 or jump in the 1999 Williams FW18. There’s the imposing 2004 Ferrari F2004 or 2010’s Red Bull RB6. You get the drift.
Text by CHRIS STEAD