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It’s almost time for the Singapore Grand Prix and Vettel is now trailing you by 30 points after countless mistakes of his own. The upgrades are working and while your car isn’t the fastest on the field, the consistency is working towards you getting both the driver’s and constructor title for the Williams Racing team.
While most of the scenarios you play in F1 2018 might be a step toward fantasy,the game itself is by far the closest the series would get toward being a Sim-Racer while sticking to it’s easy to pickup-and-play method.
It’s a great installment to the now decade old series, one that fixes some problems in the last game but also has some issues of its own.
Presentation (Graphics & Audio)
For this year’s edition, there has been a major improvement from the graphics and audio side, thanks to the new involvement of F1’s new owners, Liberty Media. This means that the catchy F1 theme is played before and after the race, the new F1 logo is everywhere and somehow Fanetec is sponsoring half of the tracks now.
But this also comes with the new car audio that makes all 10 teams sounding different within each other due to F1 changing the real-life in-car mic for a clearer engine sound. But in contrast, the sound from the classic cars (half of them,in fact) does sound a little off than their previous year counterpart, with the audio sounding a bit bland.
Graphics, on the other hand, have a noticeable change thanks to a new Art Director in the dev team, making smaller details like mist forming across the Red Bull Ring, seeing those heat vapours on circuit straights, all while updating the animation of the drivers, mechanics and such to make them smoother.
These smaller quality of life changes help make the game stand out from it’s past iteration all thanks to them polishing the game.
For a racing game, handling is the key towards making a game good or bad, and I’m please to say that F1 2018 has one of the best in the business. All thanks to F1 management giving Codies the real life data to work with. While this game is mainly a semi-sim racer, it’s easy to pickup and play casually with a bit of practice. You’ll need it since there is a new boost mechanic based on the real life “ERS” system which gives you more speed if you save up enough energy, think of it as a timer-based nitrous but real world.
But what about the ever dreaded Halo you say? Well, by your 2nd or 3rd race, you won’t even notice it as the camera positions Codemasters has programmed to make sure you only focus on the road, and for the cockpit users, the ability to remove the blocking Halo pillar is good enough for visibility.
AI has been tweaked to make them more aggressive, which is a plus because racing them has never been this exciting with the AI being more racier on the track, doing blocks, pulling risky moves when the opportunity rises and also tend to do more mistakes like locking up,so you’ll have to be on your toes at all times, even on lower difficulties.
Off track, the element of upgrading your car sees the addition of a Fog of War effect seen in the likes of RTS games ,meaning you can’t see where your upgrades are heading without purchasing it. There is also the fear of a season reset (Regulation changes) where all of your upgrades vanishes unless you spend points protecting it. This ensures the game continues to evolve with teams switching orders every season.
Lastly, the interviews that have many have been excited for is rather bland after a season. The questions becomes repetitive after awhile and while there are some unique ones like winning a race or the drivers title, it’s the same questions that buffs or nerfs your R&D department when you want to upgrade your car or when you want to push for a new team. A shame really since Clare is quite a good character to have in-game.
Content & Longevity
Content wise, Online players could be excited with more emphasis on the esport aspect, taking a page from Gran Turismo Sport by adding in SR rating and Driver Grading, But for those only playing the Career mode, it’s much to be desired as the content in general is similar and if only Codies could add more classic tracks (Sepang,Imola,etc), the Single player could be enjoyable in the long run.
F1 2018 is a great installment for a franchise that’s done changes bit by bit. The main changes are excellent but there are some flaws too. But it’s still one of the best racing game on the market. With the coming 2nd season of the esports series in October, the F1 games are about to enter an interesting phase of “anything can happen”. Hopefully for the best.
Review is done on the PS4 version of the game version 1.05.