Review – F1 2018
It’s no secret that Formula 1 isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Between the reduced number of teams and pilots, as well as the lackluster amount of overtakes and preference towards scheduling races in more lucrative but less traditional tracks. You can understand why the entire category is currently undergoing a massive strategy change in order to become relevant once again. Thankfully, F1 games have been pretty good over the years thanks to Codemasters, the team behind games like Micro Machines and Onrush. The 2018 installment is no exception and F1 2018 is a fantastic racing game.
Everything you need from this season of Formula 1 is here: cars, teams, tracks, season rules, DRS gimmicks, Anthony Davidson, and the overpowered Mercedes. They’ve also added several classic F1 cars, such as Senna’s legendary 1991 McLaren, Fittipaldi’s 1972 Lotus and Barrichello’s 2009 Brawn GP model, as well as a ton of retro inspired scenarios designed to enjoy driving those vintage beauties around.
As always, the main draw of the game is its career mode. After a somewhat convoluted mode in the 2017 release, Codemasters decided to keep things simple. The structure is mostly the same: create a driver, choose a team, follow their objectives, do practice mini-games before qualifying, race the grand prix proper, earn points to invest in car upgrades, repeat. The car upgrade mode has been simplified for 2018. Everything is laid out as an RPG-esque skill tree with a team advisor providing suggestions if you don’t want to waste too much time tinkering your ride. You can develop your driver’s personality by attending interviews, as well as choosing one fellow driver to become your rival. Want to become the next arrogant James Hunt? Don’t get fired while you do it!
Everything sounds great on paper, but that won’t matter if the gameplay isn’t equally as good. Thankfully, F1 2018 knows both newcomers and veterans will grab the game, and it freely allows you to tinker the gameplay to your ability and preferences. The F1 cars are a joy to drive, with extremely responsive controls. We’ve come a long way since the incredibly annoying controls in F1 World Grand Prix for Nintendo 64. F1 2018 makes driving those rabid machines look like an easy task.
F1 2018 even puts the Dualshock 4’s speakers to use. Codemasters is still one of the very few developers that still try to take advantage of that feature, using the speakers as a means for your paddock crew to talk to you during the race. The cars sound excellent and the career mode has excellent voice work.
Visually speaking, F1 2018 is great. The cars and tracks are superbly recreated with unbelievable amounts of detail. The frame rate is equally buttery smooth, always clocking at a steady and sexy 60 frames per second while racing. The only time the game’s frame rate slows down considerably is during a few first-person segments in the career mode. Whenever you’re attending an interview or talking to someone at the paddock, the frame rate dips a lot, sometimes even below thirty frames per second. While this is incredibly annoying, without a doubt, it only happens outside of racing segments, making things a bit more forgiving. I’m looking forward to a patch.
F1 2018 is one of the best Formula 1 simulators I’ve played in years, even though it’s based on one of the blandest seasons in recent memory. It overcomes the season’s overall lack of excitement by providing players with a deep career mode and dozens of retro-infused scenarios and challenges. If you’re into Formula 1, you’ve likely pre-ordered it and don’t need me to tell you what to do. But if you’re not and are in dire need of a good racing game F1 2018 is for you.
Runs at a great resolution and a smooth framerate. Cars are well-built and the tracks look just like their counterparts. The game experiences some odd framerate dips during some career mode segments.
Drives like a dream. F1 2018 makes driving those convoluted machines look like an easy task. The career mode menus have been drastically simplified, making the experience a lot more streamlined.
The simple things you would expect from a game like this: realistic engine noises and some menu music. The game impresses by having lots of voice acting in the career mode.
Fun Factor: 8.0
F1 2018 overcomes the limited amount of content from the actual racing season itself with a deep career mode and lots of retro-infused fanservice.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Reviewed on PS4.
F1 2018 is also available on Xbox One and PC.
A copy of F1 2018 was provided by the publisher.