Finally, the F1 22 arrived, again at the head of Codemasters and for the second time under the tutelage of the parent company, Electronic Arts. It is a highly anticipated season, whether because of the new rules or for novelties that boost competitiveness in Formula 1. Changes have been requested for a long time to somehow balance the starting grid and bring the sport back into its most glorious years. This new bet is topical on several levels, whether in terms of visuals, sound design, physics, gameplay and even game modes. Here are elements capable of making it the best F1 that Codemasters has made to date.
With a renewed face, it brings in its luggage, in addition to the obvious new era of Formula 1, the 2021 version of Formula 2 and, as a novelty, Supercars. These are the options in terms of cars and categories, although the most important is obviously F1, leaving the other two options in the shadows and without much interest from the virtual drivers. In addition to the aforementioned categories, we have some new features in terms of organizing the game to another level. After discarding the Breaking Point mode, which was present in F1 2021, an absence that can only be temporary, is added to F1 Life, from where all the structure related to the driver is managed. Here we have the customization options, our cars, our trophies and even the possibility of visiting the facilities of other pilots. Management is made easier by concentrating these options in one place, F1 Life. This year also sees the arrival of the Podium Pass, which as the name suggests is a season pass where you level up as you play F1 22 and receive experience points, so you can get new items.
The introduction of Supercars confused me, not the side dedicated to the automotive world, but its loyalty. It is welcome, the player having the possibility of acquiring magnificent cars, such as the McLaren 720S or even a spectacular Ferrari F8 Tributo, but after having immersed himself in the challenges proposed for these same Supercars, things change. There’s a dedicated mode for them, with challenges on a wide range of tracks, called Pirelli Hot Laps. The challenges vary, ranging from drift, average speed, max, checkpoints and others. But what spoils the experience is really the gameplay of these vehicles, too rudimentary, with cars behaving strangely and the noise of the tires quite annoying, when the cars skid on the asphalt. Note that this looks more like a hasty addition without a deep implementation of car physics and sound.
Back to the icing on the cake, and what thrills us with this new F1 22, to Formula 1 cars. Here the changes are considerable, revealing a decided implementation of improvements that keep the series on an upward trajectory. As mentioned and known to fans, in 2022 we have new cars and a new philosophy in Formula 1. The FIA is looking for a better financial balance, new sustainability, while renewing interest in the sport by introducing changes to balance the starting grid. But we know that even with all the changes the big teams will still have the best cars, just look at what happened in the initial phase of the championship, where the three strongest teams again dominate the field, Ferrari , Red Bull and Mercedes .
Game modes for the first level? The usual ones. Now regarding the multiplayer aspect, the structure of the previous year is maintained, we have options for all tastes. We can create our own races, where everything is customizable, the possibility of joining events created by other players, participating in ranked races and other more social and relaxed ones. Leagues are back and we even have the much-loved split-screen mode for racing with friends on the go. Switching to single player mode, here we have the possibility of performing a Grand Prix with F1 or F2 cars, with a wide range of customizations, the time trial with F1, F2 and even supercars.
Finally, career mode. We then have the possibility of playing alone or with a friend, in cooperation or in different ways, as was the case before. They come in two parts, pilot or manager/pilot of a team. The challenges offered are different, with the My Team option being much more demanding. When we choose to be simply Pilot, we have the basic management tasks, to concentrate more on the piloting of single-seaters. In My Team, the degree of difficulty increases considerably, being practically a management/manager game, which is then supplemented by piloting. The structure is carried over from the predecessor, adapted to the new requirements and rules of the new F1 season.
The new options move the series forward, but more important is how the cars behave on the track, their new physics, the sound, and at the end of it all, their look and performance. The work of Codemasters has been robust in a short period of time which is 12 months, they had to look into the behavior of these new cars, which are completely different, from the point of view of aerodynamics, tires and engines. These are always complex processes and the producer has managed to achieve them to an above average level, with a good representation of this new era of F1. The physics are an evolution compared to the previous year, the control of the single-seaters being more efficient and effective. I found myself mastering the oversteers better, the sensations passing behind the wheel at the right time. We feel the car leaking and we have to make corrections as we accelerate out of corners.
With new engines comes new sound, and I can say I’ve been very happy with what’s been done here, with the cars reproducing the sound of each engine perfectly. The Ferrari with that squeaky sound, the Red Bull with its muffled engine, the Mercedes that doesn’t fool anyone, even the Alpine with the Renault engine that makes its own unique appearance. Always on the path of sound, what has been achieved this year is fantastic, with different sounds in each driving vision, always influenced by what surrounds the single-seater. If we pass in front of a wall, the sound changes on the side where we pass it, there are evidences and careful care to improve the experience. A soundtrack has now been introduced, and it must be said that it is excellent. It breathes new life into the game, whether in replays or even when navigating menus.
In the continuity of the novelties, we now have several options related to the control of the cars in their entirety, whether in the pits, in the formation laps and even during the safety cars. This new experience is called Immersive. All this formatting makes this new title the closest to reality, the whole environment around this very popular sport is taken very seriously. We feel really important and special at every grand prix, like we’re special and one of the lucky ones to be in this world apart.
My experience with F1 22 goes back several months, I played several versions throughout its development, until it reached release ready state. Much has been improved and polished, so it arrives in excellent condition even for fans of the series. It’s now designed with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in mind | S, which is clearly evident in the improvement in image quality on today’s most powerful consoles, compared to the previous year. But there are still aspects that are not understandable, such as certain versions of certain circuits, such as Spa-Francorchamps, which is an old version of the circuit. These are details that do not go unnoticed, Codemasters needs to update some tracks, redo them and give that updated look to the whole game, maybe in F1 23.
F1 22 is indeed a good evolution, we have robust progression and continuity planned. It reveals the work of Codemasters to bring all these changes that have been implemented in the current season. He manages to deliver a game that represents the current state of Formula 1, he brings the emotions of the tracks, the cars, in short, the event itself. Everything is treated in detail as if it were a TV show. We are led to believe that we are truly participating in the biggest event in the automotive industry. Of course, he had already done it in previous years, but with the arrival of a new era in Formula 1, the enthusiasm is different. I recommend this new title, it cannot be put aside by any fan of the sport.