F1 2017 Review – As Real as You Want it to Be

We have spent the last week racing through the career of F1 2017 and taking on some classic car challenges. Does this year’s iteration warrant a new purchase, or are you better off just sticking to last years model?

Read on to find out

2017 Formula One cars are the epitome of the racing world and now are using technology and design aspects that were unheard of just a decade ago. Screaming V12 engines, extra wide tires, and cars that handled like they were high on amphetamines were the norm. These were skittish and temperamental beasts that  required a level of concentration and situational awareness that wasn’t aided by the computerized assistance that’s available today.

Codemasters’ F1 video game series has always been about realism, and trying to give you the real world feel of the F1 scene, both on the track and off. F1 2016 did a decent job of that and the developer created a beast of a game last time around and a firm foundation to expand on. The graphics for F1 2017 are some of the best around for a racing game and those of you with a PS4 Pro are in for an even better looking game. With 4K output at 60fps and HDR support the game looks incredible. Shiny cars show off reflections that are mirrored perfectly. Try not to take your eyes off the road for too long, though, as these cars are fast.

The F1 series introduced a career mode last year that was a nice start but felt a little short on substance. This year they give us a 10 year career mode that still starts you out as an F1 rookie. Why they couldn’t give us an option to start out as a kart racer, allowing us to earn our F1 stripes, is the same question we had last year. It is an F1 game, but having an option to earn your way into the ranks would give us a better sense of accomplishment and allow for our driver to create a personality and to give us a connection to that driver. This isn’t exactly a negative for the game, but would make for a future positive if it were to be implemented.

Rivalries have returned with this year’s game and now the rival is your teammate. You’ll start out as the number two driver on the team with the number one driver becoming your rival. Your goal is to unseat him and make yourself the number one driver. We found ourselves focusing almost as much on beating him as we did making sure we met our team goals. Just finishing ahead of the guy wasn’t enough for us as we wanted to also beat him on every sector and make sure he knew who the better driver was.

The length of a race weekend is chosen by you. We started out with three practice sessions and in the end, ended up skipping through the third one every time. Achieving team goals during these practice sessions are key to earning valuable R&D points that can then be used to make your car and team better. The game has an almost full on RPG feel to it with the handling of the R&D screens this year. That’s not a bad thing as it really makes you feel like part of the team, deciding on what areas you want these folks to be working on.

Codemasters added in some awesome classic cars this year and you will be given opportunities throughout the race season to get behind the wheel of them, if you so choose. These special events will have to chasing down your opponents and passing as many as possible in a set amount of time. Sounds simple enough, but depending on the where you have you difficulty slider set, it might be harder than you think. These are fast cars that handle a little differently than your current career machine and there are no practice laps to get the acquainted. Just jump in and go. You may opt to do some practice racing outside of career mode in order to get a better feel for the classic machines

The level of simulation is totally up to you, as you can turn off whichever assists you want, or just turn them down, as well as turning on damage and wear and tear. You can opt for five lap races in career mode or you can go with 25% length or more. If you opt for the longer races, tire wear and fuel consumption become factors and you’ll have to be ready to hit the pits, so working on your pit strategies becomes a must. If you are looking for a full on F1 immersion experience, the options are there to make this game as close to reality as possible in terms of timing and control.

If the standard season is too long for you, you can opt to create a custom Grand Prix using either a modern or classic F1 car and by choosing where and how many races to include from one to twenty four. All of the Formula One tracks are available and you can decide what the weather will be, from a beautiful sunny day to a torrential downpour. You can opt for quick weekends with or without practice and qualifying or go for the full experience with three full practices and three shots at qualifying. Race distances allows you to choose from 3 laps, 5 laps, 25%, 50%, or go for it all at 100%.

Multiplayer returns with up to 22 racers per room with the host getting full access to a variety of options from room count to the level of damage. Running in a room with 22 folks seems a bit much, and we have seen upwards of 18 with little to no problems. This is really dependent on the connections of the users but the servers for the game ran smooth for us as we have had quite a few online races with zero problems.

Codemasters has been working on the F1 series since 2010 and have slowly added bells and whistles to fully immerse their fans in the world of Formula One. F1 2015 and F1 2016 were solid foundations for the next generation of Formula One gaming and F1 2017 grabs the baton proudly and takes the game truly to the next level.