I’ve qualified seventh and things are going well in the race, I’ve managed to get myself up to 5th despite the tight corners in Azerbaijan, I’m fighting for fourth and I mistake a mistake on a turn and damage my wing, my team want me to pit.
The trouble is my team mate has dived in at the same time and I’m left waiting in the pits for his tyres to be replaced, my race is effectively over as I leave the pits in 17th, I push hard and finish in 10th but the race is a right off. I got quite angry about this and blamed the games AI but after chatting about it with friends it and one of them made a great point, it could have been an AI issues but mistakes happen. Sebastien Vettel was forced wait as his pit crew hadn’t got his tyres ready in time. Welcome to F1 2019.
Codemasters have done another excellent job and this is the best F1 title to date. One of the first things you’ll notice s just how good the game looks, the menus and UI have all had small improvements while on the track the lighting has had an overhaul and the tracks looks great, driving at sunset looks incredible and you really notice when the sun is low as your view is obstructed by the sunlight, it really gives you an appreciation of how tough it is to be an F1 driver, how they take on some of the corners in Azerbaijan at the speeds they do is till beyond me. Not everything looks as good as the environment though, the player models are still ugly as hell and really need some work.
Hardcore F1 fans will notice that the tracks haven’t been updated, however novices like me won’t appreciate the nuances of each circuit. What I do know is that smashing a fastest lap out is hugely satisfying. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t play this game without some of the assists and if you can get more than lap done without them you have my huge respect, as those cars are terrifying when they are off. I really appreciate how you can adjust the difficulty ever so slightly between races, I’ve managed to find the perfect level that doesn’t let me win, but with some real practice I feel like I could get better and win.
Racing is a lot of fun, but it’s a strict racer, especially if you have you simulation damage and tyre wear turned on. There is a lot to consider all while trying to race, managing pit strategies, timing the DRS and ERS systems, it takes a lot of practice to get on top of everything, but when you do it can give you a real advantage.
The Career mode is back and this year see the introduction of F2. Before you embark on your career you’ll need to complete some scenarios in an F2 championship before seeing which teams offer you places to drive for them. There is a story mixed in too, however it’s short lived and after you first race in F1 it all seems to stop. I’d love a FIFA style ‘The Journey’ for the F1 series, it would definitely add some extra depth to the career.
As you progress through the season, you’ll have the opportunity to get into contract negotiations with your team, or if you prefer another. Your reputation and how well you are driving will all play a part in the deal you end up getting. You can set up rivalries with two other racers, one will be your team mate while you can choose whoever you wish to be the other. Qualifying better, finishing higher and setting fastest laps are just some of the ways you can win the rivalries.
This you can choose to skip practice sessions and still receive R&D points to use against improving your car. The R&D Tree returns, allowing you to choose which upgrades you want the team to work on, or you can ask them to recommend upgrades depending on how many points are available to you. Between races you are invited to invitational events that let you driver classic F1 cars of the past in checkpoint or overtakes races. They are a nice distractions form the normal races.
Multiplayer is an enjoyable experience this year, as well as the level of opponents, you can also see what safety level they are, depending on how you behave in each race your safety score will rise and fall and your grade will change accordingly. Generally you can get through a race without making contact, although there were times where I was caught which caused a domino effect and I was penalised as a result, which seems a bit unfair. As the game released and the numbers online did the same I began to notice more lag, it would be nice to be able to filter out those racers with less favourable connections as it does let the mode down when your opponents are all over the place as you try to race. Your car can be customised with different liveries and unfortunately there are micortransactions that allow you to unlock some of the more stylish looks. You can customise your avatar too, but your options are limited. Leagues allow you to create customised events that friends or other online opponents can take part in, and there is also a Grand Prix mode which lets you take part in the full F1 weekend online each week.
F1 2019 is the best F1 game to date, being able to briefly experience the F2 championship is a welcome addition, while the new lighting is really impressive. An improved story in career would great, and would certainly keep things more interesting. Codemasters have done it again.