F1 2019

For­mula One, For­mula 2 and Senna vs Prost Le­gends con­tent? Yes please

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Justin Tow­ell

“There’s plenty of close rac­ing to be done thanks to the ex­cel­lent AI”

PUB­LISHER CODEMASTER­S DE­VEL­OPER CODEMASTER­S BIRM­ING­HAM ETA 28 JUNE

It’s amaz­ing how time flies – it’s al­ready been ten years since Codemaster­s took over the of­fi­cial For­mula One li­cence. But there’s much less of an ‘in­cre­men­tal up­grade’ feel­ing for F1 2019; this year’s of­fer­ing is a game of firsts. For starters, it now also in­cludes For­mula 2, act­ing as a feeder series for the ca­reer mode, al­low­ing you to race along­side the four F1 new­com­ers who raced in last year’s F2 sea­son, grad­u­at­ing along­side them and even tak­ing or re­ject­ing team or­ders in the process.

There’s also an em­pha­sis on ri­val­ries this year, even go­ing so far as to hav­ing TOCA Race Driver- style story scenes be­tween ses­sions, with one driver taunt­ing you and an­other, more friendly racer, of­fer­ing ad­vice.

The dif­fer­ence in car han­dling be­tween F2 and F1 cars is stark, with the lower for­mula no­tice­ably heav­ier and un­der­pow­ered, but that does make for bril­liantly close rac­ing. You can com­pete in mul­ti­player with these cars, too, and with an even greater em­pha­sis on es­ports, you can now set up your own rac­ing league, vote on changes to the sched­ule, and view stats in the re­vamped Su­per Li­cense area. Bet­ter still, on­line races will fea­ture one-minute high­light reels, as the game gen­er­ates a video show­ing the best mo­ments from the ses­sion. You’ll be rewind­ing the ac­tion to see who caused the col­li­sion, just like the world did with Senna and Prost back in 1989 and 1990.

Stuff of le­gends

And yes, those two icons re­ally are in the game, at long last. Codemaster­s has some­how man­aged to wan­gle li­cences for both Ayr­ton Senna and Alain Prost in the same game, ap­pear­ing as they did in the in­fa­mous 1990 World Cham­pi­onship. You will need to buy the ‘ Le­gends’ edi­tion of the game if you want to ex­pe­ri­ence this ri­valry and their two ut­terly beau­ti­ful 1990 F1 cars, but fans will al­ready be pre­order­ing just at the men­tion of their in­clu­sion.

Do be warned, how­ever, that the ac­tual game­play is likely to stop well short of recre­at­ing en­tire clas­sic races. The only playable chal­lenge at the pre­view event saw Prost or Senna at­tempt­ing to over­take nine other cars (Lo­tus 78s by the looks of things), be­fore catch­ing and pass­ing the other driver. That never hap­pened in real life, and the Monza on show was def­i­nitely mod­ern Monza, com­plete with DRS signs. That feels like a mas­sive wasted op­por­tu­nity, but there’s still hope some­thing spe­cial will be lurk­ing in the other, so-far-un­seen chal­lenges.

Fun­da­men­tally, though, the game is play­ing very nicely, and there’s plenty of close rac­ing to be done thanks to the ex­cel­lent AI. Max Ver­stap­pen even moved across us, un­der-brak­ing dur­ing one close race at Sil­ver­stone, hav­ing al­ready moved across to cover the in­side: in­cred­i­ble re­al­ism. Speak­ing of which, the HUD now uses real TV broad­cast graph­ics, and there’s even the F2 com­men­tary team on-hand to in­tro­duce those por­tions of the game, for even more au­then­tic­ity.

The game will be avail­able ear­lier in the year than usual, which means more of the real-world sea­son will be play­ing out while the game is pop­u­lat­ing your Xbox One’s disc drive. That’s great news for any­one who is want­ing to try their hand at beat­ing the real driv­ers’ qual­i­fy­ing times.

It’s look­ing like yet an­other su­perb sim, and well worth check­ing out if you al­ready own the 2018 ver­sion. Let’s just hope the Senna vs Prost con­tent turns out to be wor­thy of those leg­endary names.

Above There are new lighting ef­fects for night­time races, as well as evening skies, for sweeter eye candy.

right The clas­sic McLaren MP4/5B, driven by Ayr­ton Senna, mi­nus cig­a­rette ad­ver­tis­ing, of course.

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