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With the power of the PS4 Pro and a large-screen TV screen Codemaster's F1 is visually launched into your home in full colour action. If smell-o-vision was a computer game option then this would be the game to have it - the smell of the Pits, the burning of tyres, the squealing and screeching of hi-power cars straining around tight bends; they are all there, but to get them I have to turn the TV volume up very high.

Before beginning to play you have the option to sign up for RACENET for which there are in-game rewards to be gained. I never signed up for this but I did go to the website https://racenet.codemasters.com/  where this message is currently displayed "We're working hard right now to bring you a new Racenet experience. In the meantime, you can still access the old site by logging in".

The first thing you do is create your Driver, just a few quick decisions to make and then you are started off with 15000 PITCOIN which you can add to and spend throughout your campaign on PodiumPasses and in-game-in-store items. You can also purchase PITCOIN (for actual money) online via several websites including the Official PlayStation stores, UK and US.

 

That all decided your first major decision is whether to go straight into Formula One racing or practice through the slightly lower Formula Two, choosing a company academy to drive for. Note that F2 isn't a tutorial it is a full season campaign (12 sprints 12 races), if you want it to be, or it can be a half-season-campaign of 6 races or as I played a 3 race season where you visit three of the top F2 tracks in the World and race against top computer contemporaries.

Academies count amongst them the famous Petronas, Williams, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren as well as many others. All F2 cars are equal to each other with the Academy name being more decorative than effective. I drove a few qualifying laps and had the fastest time once or twice but after the fifth lap I couldn't see any way of ending the qualifiers, soo I crashed out and received a DSQ (disqualified) result.

The DSQ didn't stop me from entering the F2 season and for my first F2 race, 10 laps around an Austrian track, I selected the first car setup (of the 6 offered) and I started fourth on the grid; so I guess the times of my completed laps counted for something. I pushed my way to the front early on and stayed in the lead for three laps before half the field went past me. It was then I realised that I didn't need to take my finger off of the R2 trigger (accelerator) at corners or at any time, all I had to do was steer as near as perfectly along the green race line and the car automatically changed gear, down and up as required.

 

With this knowledge I easily won the second race at Monza, using the default car setup, with a fastest lap of 3.3 seconds over my nearest rival. I also realised I had selected Easy as the game difficulty, though the only other option at the time was Casual/Standard, so perhaps that explains the auto gear changing. I won by driving aggressively and getting a few Yellow Flag warnings for my troubles.

The third race was in Abu Dhabi, and full of confidence after seeing the track layout (the track layouts are shown in 3D and cutaway before each race) I chose setup 4, hard to corner but fast on straights, because there were less chicanes and corners and more longer straights. My thoughts were that aggressive driving would be the better way to go on this track, hence my car setup selection and my confidence after Race 2.

This was a complete and utter failure. Sure enough I took the lead early on and hit the straights ahead of the pack, but I had difficulty following the green race line, especially on corners where it begins as Red, then Orange before returning to Green. If you can keep the car on the race line you are okay, but any deviation at speed and off the track you fly, or worse you smack into another car. I smacked too many cars and was DSQ for the second time, only this one counted against me and I went from top of the Leaderboard (of the 3 races I was in) to midway down it.

 

After the F2 season you can change companies and sign up for Formula 1 and begin your journey to fame and fortune. I joined McLaren for my F1 career but am currently languishing in the very lower half of the leaderboard. F1 is not a whole lot different from F2 except that the races are longer and tougher, the tracks are longer and tougher and the cars are no longer all equal. F2 is an exciting challenge, F1 is another experience altogether.

Between each race screens popped up offering advice etc, many of these had intriguing titles, such as 'Perks of the Job' and on each screen there was an empty black box (like a picture box) that looked as if it should contain some information. There are also the super advert car reveals which feature dramatic lighting and detailed close-ups.

A couple of things that came to mind you, the reader and player, may find of interest.

Some knowledge of F1 may be useful to the player, such as what tyres to put on according to track and weather, but having this information isn't a necessity for success, concentration is!

The action for the driver (player) is fast and intense but the game sounds are quieter than I would expect from a game featuring fast moving, loud F1 motors.

I am using the basic PS4 Console Controller for my races but find that tight cornering is not particularly easy as the Left-Stick only has so much play in it. I believe that this is when a PS4 steering wheel/accelerator combination would be more useful than the console controller. 

Key Features

All the official teams, the drivers and circuits from the 2020 Formula One World Championship™.

Acclaimed ten-year career mode. 

Formula 2™, the ultimate training ground for F1®, is also included, now with new half or full season options and 2019 and 2020* season content.

x16 classic F1® cars from 1988-2010. 

Esports - in-game area for the online qualification events, latest news and even watch the new F1® Esports Challenger and Pro Series races.  

More ways to race: Time Trial, Grand Prix™ Mode, Championships and relive your glory with saveable automated highlights. 

Compete online in Multiplayer: Ranked and Unranked races, Leagues, Customisable Liveries and Weekly Events.

*Online connection required to download the final teams’ 2020 cars (as applicable) and the F2™ 2020 season content post-launch

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015