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F1 2019 – Review
It’s the last race of the season, Devon Butler is in front and you are chasing him for the championship win before stepping up to F1. And the DRS line is just there…
F1 2019 aims to be the definitive edition of the now 11-year-old series, and with the addition of F2, it could help solidifies its status as a racing game version of FIFA. But it isn’t without faults, of course.
As mentioned, Formula 2 is now part of the game in the series career mode, though it’s more of a snippet since it only accumulating to a three story driven experience ala FIFA’s The Journey. I wished they had pushed it some more and have some varied cut-scene as you and your rivals jump into F1. But maybe next year.
Graphics and audio are have upgraded quite a bit, with the night races looking extremely good-looking at times,and although the sound quality of the classic cars have improved this year (Codies,are you reading our reviews?), the current F1 cars sounds are a bit nullified, compared to last year’s more “RAW” sound. A check and balance, I suppose.
But there is no doubt that, in terms of presentation, this is future base standard for any racing series wanting to step up to this standard (looking at you, MotoGP).
Handling and mechanics wise, it’s still the same to 2018’s with the addition of AI drivers who are now more racier with the players and them doing more frequent mistakes. But the highlight of the new game is of course, driver transfer within the 2019 grid.
The driver transfer is something unheard for a series whose license was super tight before 2018. So now, you can see Sebastian Vettel joining Mercedes or even Lewis Hamilton going to Williams for no reason other than the game’s system suggesting it. Though it won’t change the driver’s helmet (for sponsorship issues) but it is nice to see some variation when you’re bound to race in career mode for 2 or more seasons.
But curiously, Real life F1 driver Lando Norris has noted that the ERS bar (think of it as a boost bar for these cars) is not as micromanaged as you would do in-game as a real car have specific setup which automatically changes for them. An interesting small nitpick from someone who both races pretend and real cars.
Content and Longevity
With Codemasters pushing for more esports content, players can now partly design their multiplayer cars with select designs which you can unlock via racing online and getting competition points. The designs are almost Wipeout-esque that it’s only a matter of time before we get some wacky tracks in the F1 games.
But one thing that I really disapprove is the wasteful nature of the Prost v. Senna content. It’s just a collection of challenges which you could play anytime and feels disjointed around the other stuff available in the game. It doesn’t add new tracks or period-accurate races, just some stuff you can do while driving as Alain Prost or Aryton Senna and feels like a cashgrab for those wanting some Senna related stuff. But what do I know anyway.
All in all, F1 2019 is quite of tight package. F2 can be a good palate cleanser if you want some same spec-car racing and they even have added a weekly event races ala GT Sport where you have three days to do Practice, Qualifying and Race with your own multiplayer car. You won’t race with other real life players but the AI can give you a good challenge with the right settings, it could be a good training when you enter Online lobbies.
For someone who has played the F1 games for a good decade now, this feels like a breath of fresh air getting to race newer cars. Though I can see they taking a lot of pages from FIFA to make more cinematic in the beginning part of the game but I feel like it was a missed opportunity to not include the F2 cars more in the career mode and make it like those College Basketball stuff in the NBA 2K games.
But it’s the polish that they give which helps bringing in long-time fans like myself to come back.
So, if you were intrigued by F1 from watching Netflix’s F1 docudrama, maybe this can be a good racing game to fully invest yourself into the sports. F1 2019 is the definition of a great racing series with a development team that aims to make better in the future.
Played on a PS4 Slim with the Game version 1.04, purchased by reviewer.