We’ve seen a number of games make their new-gen debut on the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft with impressive new graphical fidelity. The F1 series from Codemasters is the latest to do just that. The launch of F1 2015 on PlayStation 4 is a visual treat for fans of the series, but like other sports titles that have made their generational debut, this is a trimmed down entry in the racing series that cuts corners when it comes to gameplay options.
F1 2015 is a step forward for the series in terms of graphics. Higher resolution and frame rate combined with impressive weather and lighting effects offer a beautiful racing experience when behind the wheel. A new television-style presentation bolsters Codemasters’ latest as well, with things like authentic commentators and race teams. If there’s one thing that Codemasters gets right in F1 2015 is that it is indeed a beautiful game, with only a few flaws to discover when it comes to visuals. Those with an eye for technical hiccups will find things like choppy framerates in pit sequences and frequent screen tearing, but nothing that truly distracts from an otherwise great looking title.
Resolution and framerate make the racing feel fast and smooth, as it should for a game where you’re driving with precision at high speeds. Real world locales are easily distinguishable, the tracks of F1 2015 are the same ones that the real world racers barrel down during their season. More agressive A.I. controlled drivers make the racing feel more lifelike, with things like car interior and exteriors hammering home the authenticity of the package. None of these things are what’s bad about F1 2015, and at this point are entirely expected by fans of this series.
It’s the inexplicable steps backward that detract from the game.
These steps forward for the F1 series are welcome, it’s the inexplicable steps backward that detract from the game. Of which, the biggest in F1 2015 are in the lack of variety when it comes to game modes. There’s just not much to offer here. The main attraction is a Championship Season mode, where players can select a real world driver and take them through an F1 season. You can select among the entire catalog of real world racing teams and drivers, but beyond that you cannot, say, create your own driver to compete with the pack. F1 2015 dials down any semblance of customization, leaving what is left to play with somewhat lacking.
Champion Season mode leaves something to be desired. Although, it does allow you to tinker with some options to tweak the experience. Players can select from Short, Normal, and Long Race Weekend events, which include a practice run, a one-lap qualifying run for position, as well as the race itself. The names of these settings say it all, if you want the full F1 experience, you’ll go with the Long Race Weekend where these events are timed to their real-life counterparts.
While you’ll be controlling one, you don’t need to be a professional racer or even a proficient racer to have fun with F1 2015. A wide variety of assists make the driving much more manageable for newcomers who want to learn the ropes. More technical than games like Forza or Gran Turimso which feature a wide variety of cars, the high tech automobiles of F1 2015 have a lot more going on. As the driver of this F1 vehicle, you’ll need to manage a number of different settings for the car that vary with the conditions on the track. These assists are helpful on the track, but are pretty standard. Things like racing lines and brake assistance make the driving much easier, and driver AI can be dialed in to your specific skill level. For those who do put it all together, the other major game mode to play is the Pro Championship. Think of it as a hardcore mode where all of the aforementioned assists are turned off, driver AI is turned up, forcing you into the cockpit of these vehicles for lengthy races that require considerable concentration to complete.
Of course, there are other game modes in F1 2015, but none are all that enticing. Quick Race allows you to hop right into the action to race a single circuit or create a season with some variable settings. Time Trial allows you to set the best lap times against other online racers, and there’s a multiplayer offering that you can enter into Online Hopper races. These range quite a bit, and feature varying difficulty settings, or locations. While it’s been hit and miss to actually find online races in F1 2015 since launch, once you do finally get into a game it’s a fairly solid albeit standard experience. One big detractor from the online aspect of the game is in connection errors. F1 2015 allows you to continue playing any single player mode while searching for an online game, but more often than not, this feature is more of a headache than anything because once you are finally notified that a race has been found, connection fails, then you’ve just lost the progress you had in your single player race.
A paltry offering of game modes and online issues really overshadow the many good things about F1 2015. As expected, the game looks and plays better than its earlier iterations, but it’s just not a substitute for substance and functionality.
- Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
- Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developed By: Codemasters
- Genre: Racing
- US Release Date: July 21st, 2015
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "A paltry offering of game modes and online issues really overshadow the many good things about F1 2015. As expected, the game looks and plays better than its earlier iterations, but it's just not a substitute for substance and functionality."
- Beautiful visuals in this new-gen debut
- Lack of variety in game modes
- Online connection issues