F1 2020 Review
Staying right on track.
Racing has been impacted all around this year due to the ongoing global pandemic, with some finally managing to start back more recently. In fact, F1 racing finally started their 2020 season this past weekend in Austria after being forced to cancel multiple events over the last few months. The annual F1 video game release typically comes around the middle of the season or so, but the delay has actually timed out perfectly as F1 2020 is coming out just in time for the start of the season.
After some early struggles at the start of the console generation, the F1 series has been about as consistent as they come over the last four years with great game after great game. This has largely been in part to not only the year over year improvement of existing game modes, but also the new game modes and features introduced as well.
As always, your first step in F1 2020 is to create your driver that you will be using throughout the game’s career mode and beyond. While you don’t outright get to design your character’s look, you do get to select from 48 pre-designed avatar options. The only weird part is the actual sorting of the avatars, which seems to be entirely random. It still would be nice to be able to have more customization options with your racer’s design, but it really doesn’t matter in the long run since you’re mostly in a car.
The F1 series has long had a robust single player career mode and F1 2020 is no different, once again offering the player different options throughout. This starts from the very beginning and continues through your career as you try to become the best in the sport. In Driver Career, you have the option to jump right into the F1 series or hold off a bit and playing through varying lengths of a F2 season first as a way to affect how your racer is viewed when you move up to F1. Both of these have their own teams for you to select from as well, which you get to choose yourself.
While Driver Career has you picking between existing teams from the start, F1 2020 introduces a brand new mode known as My Team. In My Team, you are the team owner and driver of the 11th team that has to fight their way to the top as the rookie. This mode goes very in-depth by going beyond just being the driver like in regular Driver Career mode, as you are also the owner now. This means you have to make major decisions like which sponsors you want to work with, what type of power unit you want to select based on how much money you have, and who you want your teammate to be. You will have limited funds to work with here though, which adds a lot of strategy into the mix with how you weigh which areas are most important.
Facilities and team members will come into play the more you play My Team, there’s plenty of content to be found regardless of the season length you select. My Team also has dialogue options where you get interviewed, which can affect stats associated with your vehicle as well. R&D is very important when it comes to your new team also, where you can spend your resource points to upgrade each of the four areas associated with the vehicle, including Powertrain, Aerodynamics, Durability, and Chassis. As with the R&D skill tree, much of My Team is carried over from Driver Career, just now it is combined with additional tasks of the owner.
Visuals are the best they’ve ever been
One of the most attractive features for the F1 series has been the level of realism with not only the visuals, but also the gameplay. As always, Codemasters delivers gorgeous visuals for you to enjoy as you’re racing around the track. Coming at the end of the current console generation, the visuals are the best they’ve ever been, though not a very noticeable change over last year. The same could mostly be said about the gameplay itself, as Codemasters has had it down to a science in recent entries. F1 2020 feels absolutely perfect as you’re racing, ranging from the handling to the sense of speed.
While the gameplay may be about as realistic as it gets, F1 racing games have always been one of the more difficult racers for newcomers to just jump into and enjoy due to its difficulty that sets it apart from the typical arcade style racers out there. The simulation style can take some major practice to get used to, so F1 2020 has introduced a solution to make the game more accessible to everybody. They definitely did not take out the simulation style found in the past, they just instead split the game up into two different control options that you can choose from.
For those that are veterans of the series or just want a real challenge, the Standard control option is still available. This is the default choice in the game and plays just as the series always had. For those that are struggling on Standard or just want a more accessible option overall, F1 2020 has introduced the Casual race style. Casual style makes everything a little easier for you, including automating some processes, making the off-track surfaces easier to drive on, and even assisting with steering if you would like. This addition is something the series really needed as a way to attract new people to the sport that found the gameplay too overwhelming in the past and it works quite well as you play through the single player options.
F1 2020 may have plenty of single player content as discussed above, as well as others like time trials, but you can’t forget about the multiplayer options. As always, you can head online to face off against other racers from around the world. This can be done through Ranked and Unranked games, as well as through Leagues that you can create or join. There will also be weekly events available that you can try out online as well.
Online multiplayer is a must in any modern racing game, but one major feature that has been missing in the F1 series for awhile has been that of local multiplayer. That is until F1 2020, where local two player split-screen multiplayer has returned to the series once again. This is a feature that fans have really been wanting back and makes the game a much better option for multiplayer than before.
Codemasters have proven to be one of the best in the business when it comes to racing games and F1 2020 continues to show exactly why. The introduction of My Team mode adds another dimension to the series that gives you even more control over your team than ever on top of the regular Driver Career mode and multiplayer options, all while surrounded by the same great visuals and gameplay that have brought people back year in and year out to the F1 franchise.
F1 2020 continues the positive trend the series has had over the last multiple years by not only improving on existing game modes and game mechanics, but also introducing the brand new My Team mode and even new racing options that make the game more accessible than ever.
- Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
- Published By: Codemasters
- Developed By: Codemasters Birmingham
- Genre: Racing
- US Release Date: July 10, 2020
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "F1 2020 continues the positive trend the series has had over the last multiple years by not only improving on existing game modes and game mechanics, but also introducing the brand new My Team mode and even new racing options that make the game more accessible than ever."