Review of F1 22: In Codemasters and EA Sports’ latest licensed F1 racing game, F1 22, we discover road vehicles and even T-shirts top the bill, but is that enough?
It was around the eighth turn at Canada when the gist of our F1 22 analysis really came home. Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and I are locked in a battle for 13th place in the second season of my racing career. Because every single one of our season-long modifications has failed to mature properly, we lack the necessary speed to compete in Montreal on a cloudy day. I’m trailed by a train of vehicles that can plainly outrun me, but the AI in charge of the train won’t let them pass. While straining for traction on the corner exit, it dawns on me: I’m not having much fun.
Of course, I may be making things simpler for myself. F1 22 allows you to set AI difficulty, change the number of assists, and begin your career with a top team like all prior games in the series. To put it another way: in a Ferrari, I could theoretically be 20 seconds faster than a field of artificial intelligence drivers. In fact, I’ve done just that in the spirit of a fair evaluation, in a series of short races. Simply put, doing so was not enjoyable at all.
However, let us begin with the fundamentals. Also included in F1 22 is the inclusion of driveable road cars, a new Miami circuit, and improved menus for online multiplayer, as well as ray tracing effects for PC users. 3D surroundings, based in your house, allow you to personalize the furniture and show off in any vehicles or outfits you’ve unlocked.
All of the historic automobiles from prior games have been replaced by modern-day equivalents. This means that between races in the career mode, you will be requested to participate in Pirelli Hot Laps challenges using Mercedes AMG-GT or a Ferrari Roma, rather than attending special historic car events. You may earn gold, silver, or bronze medals by beating the time constraints on a variety of different challenges, such as drift events and cone courses.
Although the handling of the vehicles is adequate, there’s not enough substance to keep you interested in these events, which feel curiously constrained. Traction does not cause them to fidget or try to release their backs from your hold, and you don’t feel much of a movement in their weight. F1 vehicles are extremely rigid and have very little weight transfer in bends, thus such a change in the game’s physics model would be a huge departure. So I can understand why F1 22’s Aston Martins, Ferraris, McLarens, and Mercs aren’t as believable as Assetto Corsa Competizione’s in terms of how they behave on the track.
Cockpit cam shows your hands not moving at all, which is less dismissible and more frustrating. The Pirelli Hot Laps events are only a sideshow, so F1 22 doesn’t rely on your appreciation of them to survive and thrive. Even so, it matters since it’s the main feature of a new release in an annualized sports franchise, and fresh features in that series are hard to come by.
Let’s move on to the new menus. In-game, this is referred to as “F1 Life,” and it’s an upsell. I enjoy the notion of the series spreading out into a driver’s life off the track, but this isn’t even a hesitant step in that direction for me. Your avatar is seen sitting about on configurable furniture besides some of the aforementioned road cars that you’ve purchased and arranged around your opulent house in this new main menu revamp instead. It is possible for other players to enter your F1 Life and gawk at the accouterments you have amassed. Even though you may show off your successes in a trophy area, this game seems more concerned with getting you to buy Bitcoins and spend them on Puma tracksuit bottoms than it does with providing you with an authentic F1 driving experience.
That’s all for now. While there are a limited number of wardrobe choices to choose from (t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, the compulsory Beats headphones), the selections that are now available appear to be very simple. After the game’s release, I believe there will be a lot more material. Bitcoins, the in-game currency used to pay for these things, can be obtained through in-game activities, but you can also pay real money for them. F1 Life, on the other hand, is a disappointment for me as a long-time follower of the franchise and a long-standing vision of additional lifestyle components. It resembles nothing more than a 3D menu that may be customized.
In the end, F1 22 performs much better. For years, it’s done an excellent job of imitating TV coverage of the sport while still making you feel like an insider, and that’s still true in this game. Pre-race pictures, such as the new spectator mode warm-up lap and fresh commentary from renowned Sky Sports voices, show a great deal of attention to detail.
For example, the cars can handle bumpy curbs without losing ground effect downforce and spinning out (which is odd given that the 2022 regulations mandate that the new cars get so much of their downforce from underfloor parts) and their twitchiness at high revs or low gears on corner exits are noticeable changes in the cars’ performance.
There are a lot of transferrable abilities that can be applied from past F1 iterations, but you can’t rely only on old muscle memory to establish purple sectors. It’s simpler to get your teeth into these new twitchy vehicles with a wheel’s smoother input modulation, babying them out of corners with a soft foot and silky hands. Despite the lack of a visible porpoise effect, this story is captivating because it seems odd enough. Experimenting with the track limitations as a want-to-be sim racer again, knowing that the smell of Rumblestrip won’t turn you around 180 degrees, feels freeing. It’s painful to have to stop spinning after getting too adventurous with worn-out hards coming out of a hairpin.
Driver AI has yet to make an impression on me, to be honest. They need more time on the track. My first few races in F2 were marked by a number of high-quality crashes and blunders that occurred in front of me regardless of where I was positioned. When three vehicles are spread out in close proximity in a stop zone, GRID performs an excellent job at simulating these kinds of collisions. It’s striking how few occurrences involving artificial intelligence (AI) I’ve seen in F1 compared to other motorsports.
Because of this, I was less than impressed with AI drivers’ unwillingness to overtake.
The fact that you can make up 11 positions on the first lap because the other drivers are driving like they’re on the ice and risk the death penalty for overtaking has been a long-standing issue. When they regained their true speed on lap two, the Mercedes and McLarens were unable to keep up with you since you had slipped your Williams in front of them a lap earlier. You can almost always outbreak them during extended DRS zones, and it’s practically unheard of for them to send a single one under braking. You end up creating a traffic jam of vehicles and then losing severely in pit stops as a result of this. As a result of their extremely rapid throttle and brake inputs – as you can see in benchmark mode – these cars are impeccably smooth when exiting corners, but they always require extra stopping distance. The effect is that in most corner exits, you’ll lose time to them, but you’ll get it back on the brakes.
Going all-in on P12 this weekend in Montreal with a guy who encouraged a fellow racer to live-stream him sucking his balls on air. As much as I’m focused on the vehicle and the championship points, it dawns on me that I’m not actually having a lot of fun.
It comes down to two main aspects, notwithstanding F1 22’s other previously discussed flaws, the lackluster new features, and unusual AI oddities. Only one of them is directly attributable to the game.
The gamepad is the primary means of controlling the game. In this year’s handling model, it’s critical to modulate the throttle and brakes, and doing so on a device with a small range of modulation is tough. If I put on traction control, I’ll waste a lot of time due to an excessive assist, or I can try to moderate it with a gamepad trigger where 25% and 50% are roughly 2mm apart. When driving with a controller, steering is tight and slow, and the kinds of steering inputs you prefer to make require even greater throttle control to maintain traction and momentum than when driving with an actual wheel.
As a result of the 11 prior games and the current state of the gaming business, F1 22 suffers from the cumulative tiredness of having gone through this experience so many times before in previous incarnations and having so little substantial new material to alleviate it. I still think it’s wonderful that there are so many different vehicles to choose from as well as so many different circuits to race on. Even so, they’ve been shown to us several times, and we’ve logged countless hours in them. It’s inevitable that we’ll get tired of their seductions.
As a result, it’s a challenge to give a fair assessment of this title. Because it’s a member of a series that comprises some of the greatest racing games on the market, which only two entries ago I adored and made some quite amazing annual improvements. It retains some of the original features, such as an in-depth car construction system, a full team building and administration mode with plenty of aesthetic customization possibilities, and the whole F2 grid to race in fast events or to begin career mode in.
Braking Point’s cinematic narrative mode and antique automobiles have also been removed. Even if they aren’t in the game, their absence might have an impact on my mood as I play. What annoys me is the lack of forwarding momentum, the sense of playing a game that I already own and have spent hundreds of hours on in previous years, with just minor updates to the vehicles and circuits.