Published on July 29th, 2020 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: F1 2020
REVIEWED BY: Christo Phero
F1 2020: Codemasters’s new F1 game is here. With a host of new in-game add-ons, does this latest edition warrant an upgrade over F1 2019?
Story: The ‘story mode’ aspect of Codemasters’s Formula 1 games has evolved considerably since earlier iterations in the series: the 2020 edition being by far the most comprehensive/immersive so far. ‘Driver Career’ has grown to include the full Formula 2 season, wherein your performance in the lower tier series will dictate where you slot into the Formula One hierarchy upon graduation. However, the biggest difference/improvement this edition has over previous games is ‘My Team’. This feature – like its name suggests – allows you to create and manage a Formula 1 team from scratch, you – the player – being both owner and driver. Effectively your goal is to take this new, backmarker, and turn it into a championship winning team. Though livery/logo options are lacking, other areas of input by you make this team feel like your own by season’s end.
Graphics: Driver avatars haven’t improved – they’re still slightly unsettling. Yet despite the soulless animated mannequins jumping around on the podium, the cars look terrific, the races run without issue or lag, and if it rains you’ll know about it! Not much of an improvement on last year’s edition, yet there was little improvement too be made given how good F1 2019 looked. One addition that stood out for me – though only small – was the inclusion of your delta time on the on-screen driver display. Though I’m hard pressed to remember this feature in previous editions, its more prominent inclusion was welcomed. I found it helpful having a constant reminder of my sector/lap times, especially when I was being chased, or when I was chasing a driver.
Gameplay: F1 2020 is a big game. Not only regarding the hours you might spend playing it – those can be countless. But in the ways in which you can play it. I’ve already mentioned two – ‘Driver Career’ and ‘My Team’ – yet these are only the tippy tip of the iceberg. Under the ‘Solo’ banner, there is also ‘Grand Prix’ and ‘Championships’, wherein you can compete in a single race or six-race championship season. And, if you prefer not to race and speed is your thing, there’s the good old ‘Time Trial’.
Many of the selections under ‘Multiplayer’ are online. These include a weekly event in which you race others from around the world on a predetermined track; ‘Leagues’ – join or start one; and ‘Ranked’ or ‘Unranked’ hourly events. As with any online gaming, races can be hit or miss depending on who you’re pitted against. A word of advice ‘ranked’ is always better than ‘unranked’ – you’re less likely to be taken out. Perhaps the biggest edition to ‘Multiplayer’ is ‘Splitscreen’. Like racing games of old, you can now race with a buddy in the same room on the same system and is probably one of the best additions to the F1 racing genre.
How you play F1 2020 is an entirely different story. The level of immersion is totally up to the player. If you’re looking for a quick race against a group of AI’s you can smoke on easy, or just want to race a friend, this is the game for you. If you’re wanting to race against other F1 aficionados from all parts of the world and hopefully not get taken out on the first lap, this is the game for you. If managing ever facet of a team is appealing – from the car’s livery, team expenses, R&D, facility upgrades, or driver contract negotiations – this is the game for you. If you’re particular about lateral field of view, mirror angles, level of camera shake, rear-wing aero, differential adjustment, front toe or rear camber…well, you get the point.
Sound: I challenge anyone to listen to the scream of the 1994 Benetton B194’s V8 engine and not be impressed. All the vehicles sound as you would expect and while some people might be put off by the fact there is no music during races, it’s all about the authenticity of being in that environment and feeling the power come through in the audio mix.
Awesomeness: For those of you like me who have been following the F1 gaming series for the past ten years, this year’s edition is a culmination of sorts. Some of you may have heard of – or even remember – a mobile game called Motorsport Manager. There have been two sequels and a PC version produced by SEGA released since. Yet the first remains my favourite. I don’t know how many hours I poured into that little game, watching coloured dots race around a track, managing my ‘Green Bull Racing’ team – car development, drivers, engineers, headquarters – when I should’ve been studying or writing an essay. I wondered what this game might feel like if it were more ‘realistic’. This doesn’t take anything away from Motorsport Manager, the game was – and still is – brilliant. Yet what makes F1 2020 brilliant today is the fact that it’s everything I wanted in an F1 game then.
Final Word: F1 2020 is a racing game that opens its doors to everyone. You don’t have to be the biggest racing nerd in the world to enjoy it, but if you do want to deep dive into the world of Formula 1, the option’s there. As I’ve done with every F1 game since F1 2010, I have no doubt I’ll be playing this game until F1 2021’s released.
Out of 5 Bugs!