The Road To Review: Getting Behind The Wheel Of F1 2015

Formula 1 has finally arrived on the current generation of console, with Codemasters ending the wait for one of their biggest and most lucrative game series to make the jump. Of course, the question on every racing fan’s lips will be whether or not it has been worth the wait.

At the heart of F1 2015 is a whole new game engine, which has been a long time coming, but delivers the goods graphically. As our tour of the game’s features and racing above demonstrates – albeit via YouTube’s compression algorithms – it’s a good looking game. Though the driver models look like odd waxworks in motion, the cars themselves look great, as do the tracks, with some of the best grass run-offs I can think of. There are certainly elements of motion blurring in play alongside anti-aliasing which means that, while jagged edges are kept to a minimum, you are left with a rather soft image.

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On the other hand, that plays into the hands of the game’s presentation, which aims to capture the feel of live TV broadcasts wherever possible. The main menu features floating screens, of a sort, which either display a game mode’s iconography or can be turned to play back a video introduction for a specific track, while the brief interstitial stings during loading screens have a touch of the Sky Sports/BBC/FOM look to them. It even extends to being able to view other cars when they’re on track during qualifying, switching between drivers and camera angles as you see fit.

Of course, it really all comes down to the cars and the racing on show, which does give a pretty good first impression. Racing with a gamepad and assists like traction control and ABS turned on, it feels easy to pick up and play. These are cars which feature tons of downforce, so their tight handling and the way that they react to your inputs are to be expected, and with the modern V6 turbo powered engines that are currently in use, so too is the tendency to spin up the rear wheels and squirm if you’re too happy on the throttle.

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However, I must say that there doesn’t feel like there’s too much difference between a Williams and a McLaren until the AI starts to breeze past you down the straights in the latter car. There’s an element of artistic license at play with each car’s respective performance level, so that it’s not quite as stacked in Mercedes’ favour or against the likes of Sauber and McLaren as it is in real life. Though it depends on the difficulty settings, I could bottle up or re-pass mid-level AI in a McLaren much better than I’d expected, while deft and fluid cornering around Silverstone let Bottas’ Williams catch and pass Hamilton’s Merc with relative ease.

And it’s playing as these real world drivers that will dominate your time with the game. Championship Season lets you pick a driver and race for either the 2014 or 2015 title, while Pro Season lets you do the same but without assists, full length races and from the cockpit. However, compared to recent years, you’re missing the career mode where you work your way through the ranks as well as the themed challenges.

Pro Season will also have you relying more on the game’s race engineer, as even the HUD is stripped away from you. While the D-pad menu returns, to let you alter tyres, engine mode and the like, you can also interact and talk with the race engineer to ask about another driver, when your pit window is and so on. Thankfully, that’s not absolutely reliant on voice commands, but you can instead hold the button to bring up the menu and then use the D-pad to pick the relevant option.

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While there are fewer ways of spinning the same races offline, the 16 player online multiplayer has a myriad array of options available to you. Split into different difficulties and with varying race lengths, assists, track rotations and more, it’s easy to find something to your tastes and importantly, as players might start to ignore certain hoppers, the game will search for an online match in the background while you do other things in the game. Alternatively, there’s still the custom races, which put all of the options in your hands.

We’ll be playing more over the weekend before giving our final verdict, but it gives quite a good first impression from the graphics to the car handling and the overall presentation. There’s a couple of notable omissions in terms of game modes, but after a few years of disappointment, Codemasters’ decision to start from scratch for the new generation of consoles seems to be paying dividends.

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18 Comments

  1. Looking forward to loading the game so I can see for myself how good the new ‘engine’ is.

  2. Thank you for a great video – really excited as getting it on pc and ps4 – interested that it shows 20 cars in the race? I didn’t think Manor Marussia were in for day one – please say yes :-)

    • I’m playing now and can confirm Manor Marussia are in,didn’t know they where based at Dinnington litrally a 20 minute drive from me,you learn something new everyday.

      • They weren’t going to be, but with the month delay, Codies were able to add them in and get the updated liveries on the disc/first day patch that would have been set for the first update.

      • thanks peeps!

  3. The handling and the graphics are good, but I’m really disappointed that there’s no career mode, no splitscreen, no safety car and no online stats or XP system.
    What have they been doing for two years?

    • I did wonder about that, as there seems to be less features now more than ever.

      I get they’ve been working on the new EGO engine, and physics, but I think at the very least a career mode would have been nice. Maybe they’ll patch one in.

      • Seen an official statement that there will be no career mode patched in this game and will be in for 2016

      • Good to know. There’s comfort in knowing they made the base, and will likely expand the features in future releases.

  4. I managed to squeeze in enough time to do the practice session @ Melbourne yesterday and was pleasantly impressed with the handling and changes to the format. You absolutely cannot just floor the bugger or it’s doughnuts/donuts all round filled with jam :P

    Really liked the fact that you can recover from some over exuberance in the throttle department with quick flick reflex wheel action rather than the inevitable pirouette sequence.

    Not bad ;)

    • Yeah, on some previous iterations, there were many times were a spin was just lost and you couldn’t get it back. It always felt wrong that way, now it’s much better and less annoying.

      Having zero traction control will not be for the faint-hearted though. Wheelspin in 4th!

      • Absolutely dude, wearing slippers or just socks for the throttle to lighten the load on said pedal with zero TC….maybe even just a bare toe doing the work!

      • I know in 2012 one wrong move and the car would irretrievably slip away, but in 2013 they did change it so you could catch any slips in traction. But then in 2014 there was so much torque in the new hybrid power units that it was easy for the car to slip away into a wall. I can’t say that in any of the games the car could be floored with traction control off, but now it’s even more difficult. I do love that challenge of getting to grips with the car’s handling, it’s half the fun, and now you’re all making me want to go and play the game, cheers for that :P

      • Ok Avenger, the last one I bought before 2015 was 2011! So I would have missed the handling upgrades of 2013.

        Even with traction control on full I still get a slight bit of slippage at medium-speed corners, actually quite helpful, if bad for the tyres.

        Speaking of tyres, I did not see a wear indicator anywhere, or a fuel usage indicator (in quick race weekend). I haven’t noticed a setting for fuel usage and tyre wear either.

      • It’s possible they’ve ditched it for short races such as 3 or 5 lap races, as usage never applies that much. I know they moved some of the car damage/wear monitoring to the small circle HUD, but the brakes/fuel settings are in the usual place from what I’ve seen on the videos.

        There was a forced traction assist in 2014 for controller users, and it gave a nice balance between controlling the torque and letting you feel some slip. I’m guessing TC in 2015 is similar. For me Hungary and Singapore are the ones to test traction limits.

  5. Does it have any kind of mode to play just with friends?

  6. This game is a good base game. The new cutscenes are nice and the graphics are good. The handling is an improvement and the AI are way better than project crap and the even the lenient penalty system. Addition of career mode, online sprint mode and coop mode will certainly make it a lot better. The menus are refreshing but I still preferred f1 2010s menu in the paddock but a way better game than all the previous f1 games by codices and pretty good considering they have a small budget limited development time and team and the layoffs earlier this year

  7. Who watches the cutscenes though after the first few times? Might as well have not paid David croft as I always skip him now

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