Racing games on the new generation consoles are being better represented than they ever have been in the past. Thanks to the hardware capabilities, the racing titles have been able to obtain beautiful visuals and extremely smooth frame rates. The fastest automotive sport in the world, Formula One, needs its speed to be accurately portrayed. Codemasters Birmingham has been putting up successful titles with its F1 games since 2010. F1 2015 is its first iteration on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This means beautiful visuals and extremely smooth frame rates that have never been seen like this. Codemasters wanted to bring you as close to the paddock as possible, and they accomplished this with F1 2015.
The first obvious change in F1 2015 are the visuals. Sure, the game has looked great in the past, but especially on the PS3 side, issues arose with consistent frame rates. The new graphics engine makes the game look completely life-like at times. However, more importantly, the games runs at 60 frames per second. What this means is that Codemasters is now able to truly represent the true sense of speed of the sport, and it is glorious. The tracks are all superbly detailed and racers’ player models include actual faces and look more realistic than they ever have before.
The game includes a new broadcast presentation so replays of the race you just won can be revisited with the type of cameras and the look of a television broadcast. You will find yourself watching these replays simply because of how realistically it mimics an actual race. The game has announcers that take you through a pre-race segment and comment throughout a season. They will take you around the track, give a preview, and visit the paddock. Most importantly, podium and champagne celebrations exist in F1 2015 and it all helps to fully complete the experience of race day which previously was missing from the franchise.
On the track and in the car, it is all about management. While keeping an eye on and trying to be careful of tyre wear has existed in the past, all the elements of maintaining your car for an entire race are more important than ever in F1 2015. This is all thanks to the new race engineer that you can interact directly with. Using a headset, L1 can be held and voice commands can be given to get everything from vehicle condition and fuel levels to a race rundown and weather forecast. Fuel mixtures can be changed on-the-fly and orders for downforce changes and tyre selection can be provided for pit-stops. The engineer will also provide major updates to the race or car throughout the race. Simply adding this mechanic to the game brings an entire new experience to the series and fans of the modern day Formula One will really appreciate this element.
The actual handling and physics of the cars in F1 2015 seems more forgiving than it has been in the past. Having never driven an actual Formula One car, I cannot really decipher how true the actual physics are in comparison. However, the games in the series have never been this forgiving as usually making an error would majorly cost you. With traction control off, you will be surprised at the grip you get through corners that might not have been that way in the past. This could attribute to the changes in the car from year-to-year. You will certainly fight for grip, but you will not find yourself spinning out as much.
The A.I. seems much improved for the series, but still lacks at some points. F1 2015 actually includes penalties for incidents that are reviewed during the race. However, getting booted from Lewis Hamilton in my first race at Melbourne while in the lead netted him no penalties, while others had incidents that were at least documented. Drivers also do not slow down for yellow flags. Overall, racing with A.I. on the track definitely feels more competent than ever.
F1 2015 features all the drivers and the tracks of the 2015 season, including Mexico City. There is also an option to revisit the 2014 season if you choose so. While the on-the-track content is the best it has ever been, the off-the-track content is extremely lacking. It seems to be a trend with first-year, licensed sports games to be barebones in terms of gameplay modes. Yes, there is a season mode and online multiplayer with up to 16 players, but that’s about it. There is no career mode. Every version of the game since its inception has had a career mode. The season mode has no depth to it. You simply choose a driver and race a season.
F1 2015 features the Pro Season mode. This puts you into a season and forces you to play with no driving assists at the hardest difficulty for full races. Honestly I do not understand doing this when the options can just be changed if a season wanted to be done like this. Not to mention when there has always been a career mode in the series, the time and space for Pro Season mode could have been used elsewhere.
Racing online netted an excellent playing experience. There are different tiers of races to choose from based on difficulty and a particular theme of tracks you are looking for. Races can be spectated using the broadcast cameras, but they might not net the best results depending on an individuals connection. The actual racing was not inhibited by any lag or connection issues personally, and was genuinely enjoyable.
Touching on the sound in F1 2015 last, the game gets everything right. The engines of the cars and every nuisance on the track sounds perfect. Just like the entire race day experience, everything with the sound is replicated perfectly. The audio must be perfect if microphone input is required. The commentary pre-race is just enough so it does not become annoyingly boring. The music in the game presents a suitable feel for the modern F1.
Codemasters Birmingham set out to bring you the ultimate Formula One race day experience and have succeeded in doing so. Everything on the track and in the car is the best the series has ever seen and this can be attributed to the new hardware. The new presentation aspect is something the series has always needed and it helps that the game simply looks phenomenal. However, the lack of depth with its play modes easily becomes the tyre puncture of the game.
+ Visuals and sense of speed are the best in the series
+ Car management and the ability to interact with race engineer add realistic element
+ Broadcast presentation
-Lack of depth with play modes
A copy of F1 2015 for PlayStation 4 was provided for review.