F1 22 | PS4 Review
It's lights out and away we go! F1 22 is this year's entry into the fast-paced and thrilling world of Formula One. Developed by Codemasters and published by EA Sports, F1 22 has opened its DRS wing, pulled out of the slipstream on to the back straight, and powered its way onto Windows PC, PlayStation, and XBox. For my review, I was playing F1 22 on the PlayStation 4, with a review key that was very kindly supplied to us by the lovely folk over at 160over90.
For those of you who do not know me, I am a HUGE F1 fan. I have been since 1992, when I sat hanging off the edge of my mother's sofa one Sunday afternoon watching the Monaco Grand Prix on BBC1, where Ayrton Senna held off the repeated challenges of Nigel Mansell.
Over the years, many video games have tried to capture the look and the thrill of F1. I would like to mention Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix games from Microprose here, just because of how good they were on the PC back in the day. We had 2 PCs networked together in the same house with 4 of us doing full race weekends. Those were the days! But let's move on.
It may not come as any surprise to you at all that I am absolutely thrilled to be reviewing this year's F1 entry into the gaming world. It's a new era for the F1 game, with car changes, track changes, game changes, improved existing features, fresh new features, as well as all the things that make this officially licenced and endorsed Formula One game as good as it is. If you are a previous player like me, or a newcomer to the series, there really is something for everyone in this new game. Whether you play on your own or with friends, and regardless of your skill level, let's find out just what puts F1 22 in front and on that coveted pole position.
F1 Life is one of the new features this year, and it should be your very first port of call when you load up F1 22. This is the brand-new social hub for the game and for the character that you create. Here you can customise your appearance, as well as design and decorate your living space. You can also create and design your badge and logo, as well as the look and design of the livery on your race car. Your online friends can then visit your space, and vice-versa, you can go and have a little look around theirs. Trophies that you earn in game as well as your own supercars are on show here for both yourself and your visitors. This social hub also acts as the multiplayer lobby if you are taking your racing online. Throughout the game there are challenges and XP to be earned, which will in turn allow you access to more of the items that are available in F1 Life, and you can always use the in-game currency, Pitcoins, if that is something that you want to do. Pitcoins can be purchased using real money in-game.
The three games modes in F1 22 are Career, Solo, and Multiplayer. In the Career mode, you can play either a single player or a two player career. Single player will let you choose to be a new driver with one of the existing teams, either in F1, or if you like, you can start in F2 and work your way up to F1. There is also a My Team option where you can be the owner and driver of a team, if you want to add that extra level of management to your gameplay. The Two Player Career mode does exactly what it says on the tin. Add a friend into the mix and play together in the same team, or against each other in rival teams. If you play co-op, then you both move teams together. Both of these modes allow you to set up custom seasons.
In the Solo mode, you have access to Grand Prix, Time Trial, and Pirelli Hot Laps. Grand Prix mode has options for F1 or F2, and you can play through the entire Grand Prix season, or create a custom championship from any of the tracks that are available. Time Trial comes with F1, F2, as well as Supercars. The latter being the cars that you have unlocked through the game progression. Supercars can be unlocked in-game just by racking up driving miles. Pirelli Hot Laps mode is a series of challenges that you can compete in using the chosen car and track. These are done with the Supercars and have 3 levels of difficulty to choose from.
In the Multiplayer mode, you will find Social Play, Weekly Event, Splitscreen, and Ranked Play. There are also options to set up LAN Games and Leagues here. Social Play has both beginner and experienced levels, or you can browse custom games already setup by other players, and you can even create your own custom game. Weekly Event is exactly that, you can take part in the current weekly event. Full details of each week's event are included. Splitscreen lets you add a second player locally, with you both playing on the same screen. You can then create a custom season, race together in the same team, or go up against each other as rivals in different teams. You can again also choose between both F1 or F2 here.
The final tab in the game menu is the Player Hub. Here you will find the Brand Shop, Podium Pass, Item Shop, your Super Licence, and your Mail inbox. Brand Shop is where you buy brand name clothing for your F1 Life character. These items are bought using Pitcoins. The Podium Pass allows you to unlock more items for your character, your social space, and your race car. There is a free option where you can complete challenges to unlock items, and there is also a VIP mode, which is the paid option that you can purchase using Pitcoins. The Item Shop has daily and weekly items, and again these are just cosmetic items, which you can purchase using Pitcoins. Your Super Licence gives details of your stats in-game, as well as showcasing any trophies that you have won throughout the game. Finally, the Mail inbox is where you will receive any in-game related mail.
Now that we have covered the menus, it is time to suit up and hit the track. The time trials or challenges would be a good start, to get a feel for the game, before trying out a grand prix or career. We have been trying out the splitscreen, both racing in the same team, and also up against each other as rivals. It would have been nice to have been able to play through the career mode locally with us both on the same console. Maybe that is something that could be added in a later game. But for now, we do at least have the local splitscreen game option. I should point out here that the splitscreen is horizontal, with player 1 at the top of the screen and player 2 at the bottom.
If you are new to the F1 game series, the first thing you are going to notice is just how much detail has gone into how it actually looks. It really is a stunning game. The levels of detail in both the cars and the tracks are breathtaking. I will pick a track that I absolutely adore just to cover the gameplay part of my review, and that track is Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. We can, thankfully, change the weather in-game, so no spa day at Spa here. I could go into so much detail covering all the options that you get to play with once you are on track, but I will keep that relatively short. There are, however, an abundance of custom options at your disposal, including driver assists, which includes breaks, traction, gearbox, ERS, DRS. You have simulation settings, rules and flags settings, camera settings, as well as on-screen display settings. The list really does go on longer than a lap round the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. This is a good thing, though, as it makes the game accessible to both the hardcore racing gamer, and the relatively novice gamer. You can tweak any or all of the settings to suit your own personal taste. There is an adaptive AI, which is new to this year's game, which allows the skill level of the AI opponents to increase gradually along with your own skill level.
When you are in a race weekend, you will have control over tyre selection, and which tyre compound you want to use. You can also configure your car setup, going into as much of the settings as you want to. Aerodynamics, transmission, suspension, brakes and tyres are all tweakable here, or you can just stick with one of the various presets that are available. You really do get to have a full-on experience if you choose. But, in saying that, the game is also absolutely playable for newcomers and novice racers. I would not even class myself as a great racing gamer, but I do like to have a little dabble with the fine-tuning aspects of the F1 car setups now and then, just to see if I can get an extra second or two off my best lap times.
I played the game with just the standard PlayStation 4 controller, but you can use a steering wheel if you have one. This would certainly add another level to the gameplay. F1 22 is also, with another brand-new feature again this year, now VR compatible on Windows PC, for that fully immersive F1 experience. It is maybe something that I would like to try out in the future. For now, though, I really cannot fault F1 22 in any way. If you are looking for the ultimate in Formula One racing on a console, right now, then you only need this game. It is about as polished as a car on race day, and every aspect of this game, from the cars to the tracks, to the settings and the gameplay, everything just hits those sector lines and comes up purple. F1 22 takes my chequered flag, leaving other racing games wheel-spinning in gravel traps.
g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 5 'lights out and away we go' out of 5.
For more information on F1 22 please use the following links...
Many thanks to 160over90 for the Review Key.