F1 2019 is a genuinely fantastic game. But then, so is F1 2018. Don’t get me wrong, Codemasters’ latest is the best F1 game ever made, but due to their own incredibly high standards and the iterative design that nudges the series forward each year, the gap, like a pole taken in qualifying at Monza, is invariably slight. If you’re a newcomer to the series or have taken a few years off, F1 2019 is incredibly easy to recommend. Sure, being a fan of the sport is almost a prerequisite given the games’ accessible but undeniably sim-like nature, but if you’re already on board, if you’re one of those who has already snapped up last year’s release, well, a bit more caution is required.
The additions made for this latest release are all positive, and make no mistake, this is a better game than last year’s release, but yeah, many of the improvements are far from life changing, and none, beyond the inclusion of F2 are anywhere near essential. Of course, if like any sports sim, you have to have the latest rosters and team line-ups, then as always, this latest release is a must, but beyond that, this is starting to feel more and more like a legacy update with Codemasters, like many other developers, sure to have at least one eye on next generation consoles.
Still, beyond the minor visual upgrade (very minor), and the general improvements to the career and overall presentation (character models are still iffy, but races do have the proper F1 font now…..something that, believe it or not, actually makes a pretty big difference), the inclusion of F2 is a major one – especially for hardcore fans of the sport.
While the inclusion of F2 in career mode is limited, its integration is one of the more interesting parts of the whole experience. Once you get to F1, the game falls in to that old, although admittedly very successful, RPG-lite rhythm as you upgrade your team and your car as you make your way through a traditional F1 season, but before that, you get F2 and all the melodrama one might expect from FIFA’s, The Journey. It’s short lived and only accounts for 3 limited races, but the inclusion of rival drivers, narrative options and key moments that drop you in to a race under very specific circumstances makes for a unique and exciting start to your career. If anything, this little taste of sporting melodrama actually made me long for more of the same once I made it to F1.
As good as its short-lived inclusion in career mode might be though, it’s actually when experienced as a full season that its true worth becomes genuinely apparent. Those looking for a Premiership level racing experience might not be interested in its Championship level compatriot, but for those keen to improve their skills and find their true racing level, F2 is the undoubtedly place to be. As good or bad as you might be at F1 (I still need most of the games’ assists to get around the track in a genuinely competitive time), the top-tier is skewed by the different teams and their wildly different capabilities. F2 on the other hand is a level playing field with each and every car having the same set-up and tyres. This allows you to test your skills against an evenly matched field and to adjust the difficulty and assists accordingly.
Outside of the F2 inclusion, for better and for worse, this really is business as usual. There have been a few improvements to the solid online options, the visuals are slightly improved (if you look hard enough) and the racing, well, it’s as good as ever. It won’t be for everyone of course, and to get the best out of the experience, F1 demands a major time commitment (this is about as far away from Need for Speed as you’re going to get), but as ever, F1 2019 is hugely rewarding and, despite the array of rules and often indecipherable technical details, F1 2019 remains surprisingly accessible. It’s at its best when you are fully invested in the narrative of Formula 1 racing, and like watching it on TV, it’s infinitely more appealing if you are au fait with inter-team rivalries and the finer points of the Toro Rosso and Haas racing teams, but even if you’re just dipping a toe for the first time, the fantastic visuals, amazing sense of speed and the almost incomparable racing feedback ensure that, as a pure moment to moment racer, F1 2019 is as good as just about anything else on the market.
F1 2019 is still aimed primarily at the hardcore, at those with the patience and free time to get the best out of its complex systems, demanding handling model and incredible attention to detail, but even if you’re little more than a casual fan of the sport, the underlying quality, exceptional racing and raft of very welcome assists make Codemasters’ latest too good to ignore for fans of the genre. The improvements made here are admittedly iterative, and outside of the inclusion of F2, this really does feel like F1 2018 and a half, but judged on its own merits, F1 2019 is yet another exceptional racer from an exceptionally talented studio.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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F1 2019 Legends Edition Senna & Prost Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
F1 2019 is yet another exceptional racer from an exceptionally talented studio.