With everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic it is great to have some things returning to normality, most notably sport. As a fan of F1 and football, I am getting my sporting fix back. While I have to wait for the yearly update to FIFA and Pro Evo, Codemasters have done their bit by releasing the latest update to the F1 series with F1 2020.
As yearly sporting titles come in each year, the first questions that come to mind relate to the differences the new title brings. As the rules change with F1 on a yearly basis, it is slightly easier to notice differences quickly. Codemasters have made some great changes to the game this year, the most impressive being the MyTeam mode.
MyTeam mode will see you create a driver, choose a sponsor and engine supplier, hire a teammate and compete as the 11th team on the grid. As driver/manager you’ll also build facilities, develop the team to their tastes in order to challenge the top teams. As you progress through the season, you’ll increase the number of sponsorship opportunities available to you. This will bring in more cash and over time you’ll be able to bring changes to your car through R&D. However, you must remember not just to focus on spending all the money you earn on the car, as you’ll also be spending cash on recruiting a second driver and making sure the facilities are up to scratch too.
It’s a nice change to be able to run a team rather than just being part of one of the established teams available. As you would expect, it’s tough at the start as you find yourself at the back of the grid more often than not, even if you manage to get yourself into a good position in a race, your car will struggle as tires begin to fade, it makes for some great racing. I’ve just completed my first season and I’ve managed to make some good upgrades that will hopefully help the team finish higher up the standing next time around.
Career mode gives you the opportunity to concentrate on your racing. It here you’ll get the opportunity to race in F2 before making the jump to F1. Codies are well aware not everyone has the time to take part in full race seasons so you’ll have the chance to race in 22, 16 or 10 race seasons, giving you much more flexibility. It’s great racing in F2 cars as they all have identical performance, giving you the chance to focus on your skills. If you are good in F2 a chance to race in F1 will become available.
Talking of racing, Codemasters have improved on last year’s game to ensure each race feels unique. The AI is always pushing you to your limits, especially on the harder difficulties, while damage to your car is immediately noticeable. Tyre management is always a worry too, as soon as the grip starts to wear off the car becomes that much more difficult to handle. The weather effects are fantastic yet again. Everyone loves driving in perfect conditions, but the real challenge is handling an F1 car at the back of the grid in torrential rain, goodbye front wings! Two new circuits have been added, Hanoi Circuit and Circuit Zandvoort. The Hanoi circuit is a particular highlight, with plenty of high speed turns a huge straight to really push your car.
One noticeable tweak to the gameplay this year includes simplifying how you activate ERS, it now mirrors how it’s done in a real F1 car, with a single button press. For those of you who don’t want to have to press a button see behind you can now take advantage of a virtual rearview mirror, yet again the attention to detail from Codemasters is really impressive.
If you are like me, you are probably quite grateful to the huge amount of assists at your disposal. I’m very much a mid-range driver and appreciate a bit of traction control when I’m driving, but this year Codemasters have done even more to make the game fun for all abilities.
Accessible Handling is another new feature, this includes simplified menus, steering and return to track assists and most noticeably off-track surfaces are easier to drive over, this is a great feature for less experienced racers. These assists make all the difference for a racing discipline which can be tricky to get the hang of, so hats off to Codies.
Split-Screen makes a welcome return to F1 2020, giving you the chance to take on family and friends on the same screen. Now the game has the full complement of local, online and eSports modes. We haven’t had the chance to test online with anyone yet but we’ll update the review once we have.
As you would expect, F1 2020 is another brilliant addition to your racing game catalogue. The cars and tracks look incredible and the racing is energetic and full of drama, I was really impressed with how well the game now caters for all abilities and I’m really looking forward to spending more time in MyTeam mode and seeing THUMBSTiX Racing battle the big boys at the top of the championships in the years to come.