This year Codemasters launched their annual Formula 1 racing series title two months earlier than the typical August release. This is now the eleventh title in the franchise and while there are many new things to the game, there’s also the need to mention that some aspects are starting to become stale. Many other sport franchises are criticized for simply giving a “roster update” and small incremental changes to the core game. F1 2019 suffers from this same issue once you settle into the racing, but there are things that may go unnoticed if you casually play this game without fine tuning a number of settings.
The experience of F1 2019 can differ greatly from gamer to gamer. It’s very approachable for beginners yet challenging for seasoned F1 players. You will have to fine tune the AI, race distance, practice length, and qualifying sessions for what best suits you. When I left the races short, and the practice and qualifying sessions really short, I was able to complete races in a quick manner. However I did miss out on all the on-track experiences that you come to expect when watching the sport. Small things like your team changing the plan on when to come in or noticing that your tires were wearing faster than expected due to your practice sessions are easily overlooked in this vein. Meanwhile, the AI has been improved with the new racing engine Codemasters has been working on for two years. I’ve seen a few comments where people have felt that the AI is too aggressive, but I haven’t felt the same. Thankfully there’s a slider for that as there is for just about all settings. You’re able to adjust just about everything to your liking and fine tuning these settings will affect your experience greatly.
New to this years title is the addition of an F2 Championship. The cars are introduced in career mode where you start as an F2 driver and work your way onto a F1 team. While this new feature has been advertised a lot, I’ve found the mode lackluster. You can choose any team you want in F2 and any team to move to in F1 season. This isn’t realistic to how it would work in F1 and I felt as if I was almost cheating my way onto Mercedes Benz, Red Bull, or Ferrari. You’re able to race with F2 cars in their own championship outside of career mode which was fun but still very basic when it came to included features included. If Codemasters intends to stick with the Formula 2 license and its inclusion, I hope they beef up the mode.
Multiplayer has seen some nice enhancements along the ability to customize the look of your car. I didn’t have any issues finding a race and it was just as competitive as it was in last year’s entry. After you finish your single player career this is where all the fun is found and fortunately, unlike past years, no modes have been removed. Time Trials exist where you can challenge your friends and others for the best lap time. Challenges can be had with vehicles from 2018, 2019, and various historical cars which can be fun as well. Lastly and new this year is the addition of leagues. Here you can join a league, race together, and score points throughout a season. It’s a great idea to be part of a team that will play together throughout a set of races or season.
One of the biggest updates to F1 2019 is the look of the game. A new lighting system has been implemented and it’s the best lighting system I’ve seen in any racing game. You’re able to see shadows off grandstands, along with the sun following you or hitting a specific part of the track. Cars reflect light in different ways and it’s something to behold.
Sound plays a large role in racing and thankfully, I was able to hear a lot more sound in this year’s game compared to last year. If you have a headset or really good surround sound system make sure to turn up the sound as you can hear the car scraping the track, making contact with others, or struggling for grip.
I really hope F1 2020 creates more random events on the track and can refresh the overall sport rather than simply the feeling of racing. I would love to see something new like being able to import previous seasons into a new game or AI behaving like the drivers react in real life. With all of that said, I still loved my experience with F1 2019 and look forward to many seasons throughout the year.
Final Verdict : 8
Fun factor: 9
Technical Prowess: 8
Time Investment: 40+