F1 2018

Taken out by a Fer­rari at turn one? Very authen­tic

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS - @cat­gonecrazy

The ‘drive as fast as you dare’ F1 of yesteryear is now a clip­board-tot­ing ‘drive as fast as the fuel/tyres/bat­tery al­lows’. Re­gard­less of how en­joy­able that is (read ‘isn’t’) for real-world au­di­ences, it makes for a very dif­fer­ent kind of rac­ing game. Tweak­ing last year’s su­perb ef­fort rather than over­haul­ing it, this feels like it’s been op­ti­mised for the hard­core fans of the sport. The su­perb ca­reer mode is largely un­changed, but the small tweaks make a huge dif­fer­ence to how in­volved you feel at ev­ery stage. The re­turn­ing press in­ter­views put your rep­u­ta­tion and even car devel­op­ment firmly in your own hands: gush about the team and your rep goes up. Tell the press that you were an ‘id­iot mag­net’ in that last ses­sion and said id­iot’s team will think less of you. You can even praise your aero­dy­nam­ics de­part­ment and they’ll give you more favourable prices on R&D parts. It’s easy to un­der­stand but, with far-reach­ing con­se­quences, pro­vides greater lever­age to shape the game to your lik­ing.

On the track, the cars feel a lit­tle heav­ier, and less skit­tish over kerbs. The newly-added tyre car­cass heat level doesn’t no­tice­ably do any­thing last year’s game didn’t, as you still have to man­age your tyres. How­ever, this year the En­ergy Re­cov­ery Sys­tem is also man­ual (if you so wish), which sees you man­ag­ing the level of the bat­tery as you drive. That’s on top of the ex­ist­ing fuel rich­ness set­tings that acted as a turbo, which means dou­ble the scope for tac­ti­cal play. Use it well and the game ab­so­lutely shines.


How­ever, such com­plex­ity isn’t for ev­ery­one, and while playa­bil­ity is sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased on more ba­sic dif­fi­culty lev­els, it’s just not an ar­cade racer, es­pe­cially when the dam­age mod­el­ling feels worse than in F1 2010, which is frankly in­ex­cus­able. New track Paul Ri­card is a shadow of its 1990 self, look­ing like some­one went crazy with a paint roller in a car park. And while it does in­clude a trade­mark flat-out right-han­der, it’s yet an­other ster­ilised ver­sion of a on­ce­great cir­cuit.

Vi­su­als have been im­proved, with more re­al­is­tic hu­man like­nesses (just watch Adrian Newey run off the podium with the tro­phy when the cham­pagne starts to fly) and more nat­u­ral­is­tic en­vi­ron­ments. It’s not per­fect, though: the game can stut­ter when the AI pits, and the re­plays have some se­ri­ous fram­er­ate is­sues, which spoil the oth­er­wise ex­cel­lent TV-like pre­sen­ta­tion.

There are 20 themed/clas­sic cham­pi­onships for va­ri­ety, fur­ther clas­sic in­vi­ta­tion­als and ex­tra down­load­able events, but the mod­ern ca­reer mode feels su­per-deluxe next to any of them. Not all of the game feels state-of-the-art, but that mod­ern core is exquisite. Maybe one day Code­mas­ters will make a ded­i­cated, retro F1 game. Un­til then... em­brace moder­nity. Use as much ERS as you dare.


Pass­ing the AI is harder in F1 2018, as it of­ten takes its line, Vet­tel-style.


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