F1 2015 finally makes its debut on the next generation of consoles. Fans have been clamouring for the next-gen experience as F1 2014 on console was only released for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
So, has it been worth the long wait? Yes and no.
This game is obviously a massive step up from previous iterations of the franchise but it is also missing key features which you may have become accustomed to in previous years.
Unlike previous F1 games from Codemasters, this game has no career mode. That doesn’t mean that you have nothing to do, you can play through the 2014 or 2015 season but you will have to do it as one of the drivers already on the F1 roster rather than creating yourself and trying to work your way up the grid.
This isn’t the end of the world but it’s something that is definitely a step back for the franchise. Gone too is the co-op season mode which you were able to play with a friend, along with split-screen mode, challenge mode and there is no rivalry system. Basically your options are to play a championship season, time trial, multiplayer races and pro mode which is the same as a regular season but is with mandatory settings such as a fixed camera, no assists and no game HUD.
I have noticed some bugs which will probably be dealt with quite quickly through updates but it is still worrying. While driving through the back markers I noticed that when drivers were instructed to let me pass via a blue flag, they decided to immediately drive straight off the track! On one occasion this happened and they ploughed into the nearest wall only to bounce off it and directly into me, ending my race.
Damage is also another area of concern for long-time fans and this entry doesn’t appear to be any different than any other. Cars still feel bulletproof at times and you feel far too safe flying up the inside of someone going in to a corner.
There are lots of positives though. Graphics have taken a massive leap this year as you might expect with the new hardware available. Textures are mostly rich and resolutions are crisp. While in a dry race it might not outperform games like Project Cars or Driveclub; the game transforms when heavy rain decides to descend on to the track. There are moments when the game will look lifelike, then others where you won’t feel that there is that big a leap, although your mind would probably change if you decided to boot up last year’s F1 2014 on your old console after playing this.
The game also runs comfortably at 60fps although on the Xbox One version, I noticed quite a bit of screen tearing when making quick movements in corners. Not something that ruins the experience but something that I wasn’t expecting to see in such a polished experience.
As for sound, the engines are authentic but the default audio settings seem to be a little odd. Your race engineer’s volume levels are ridiculously low and you’ll find yourself immediately turning everything up. David Croft and Anthony Davidson also have a larger role this year as they build-up each session by giving updates on the season so far.
The handling of the cars in this year’s edition is another massive positive. Cars feel responsive and setups have a lot more impact than previously. You feel that your car has an evolution over the race weekend. If you go with a more aggressive setup to try and gain more straight line speed, you will sacrifice your stability in the corners and will have to compensate by possibly braking a lot sooner or taking a wider line in to certain corners.
If you use the default setups, you will likely use two or three of them during a race weekend trying to find the perfect balance between speed and nimbleness in the corners. Depending on your own driving style you might prefer to fight with the car more to get more pace or you might prefer to have a more stable car at the sacrifice of speed.
There are also a range of driving assists, including; anti-locking brakes, braking assist, dynamic line, traction control, pit assist and gears. Granted, it isn’t as expansive as Project Cars’ options but you should be able to find a level where you feel challenged but still enjoy the experience.
F1 2015 is the most authentic experience yet of a race weekend, whether it’s being able to finally watch other cars on track through a TV feed, switch to other cars during replays, commentary giving you the depth of the sessions or the crowds of engineers in your garage and on the start line getting your car ready to race.
There are podium celebrations as well which include a showering of champagne which is a nice touch but judging from my experiences so far, these will likely get as repetitive as any previous F1 games celebration animations. The overall experience would be more immersive if a career mode existed where you were able to interact with the media like games gone by but at least it’s a step in the right direction for future instalments.
Overall, if you’re an F1 fan then you will find comfort in the new presentation and handling of the cars. It’ll be when you get back to the menus and realise that you have so little to do compared to previous iterations of the game where you’ll be left disappointed. Granted, these modes will probably make their return in next year’s instalment but the lack of modes makes this game feel like it isn’t finished. I suspect most fans would have been forgiving if this version had been released in 2014 but having to wait until 2015 for something with such little variety really does hurt the overall product.
- Great visuals for the most part
- Authentic race weekend experience
- Professional presentation
- Great handling
- Where are those game modes?
- Lack of realistic damage
- Still some bugs which need ironing out
F1 2105 could have been so much more. However, if you look past the flaws and get on the track, you’ll find the most authentic F1 experience yet.