Greetings race fans, and welcome to this review of F1 2018 by Codemasters. So what can we expect from this franchise after last years amazing success? Well lets take a look and find out!
So firstly, in essence F1 2018 retains a lot of what made the 2017 version of the game so great, which in my honest opinion, is not a bad thing at all. After all…if it isn’t broken why fix it? So instead of regurgitating all the same information from the previous review, we will concentrate on whats different this year. Well if you scratch under the surface there is quite a lot of difference.
Firstly, rule changes. We saw the biggest change in rules and regulations in the F1 season this year with the inclusion of the halo. Yes, the halo makes an appearance on the game and it does impact your visibility to a degree, but I didnt find that it was overly hindering the enjoyment of F1 2018. If you really dont like it then there is even an option to remove the central column from the halo and allows you to be able to see with only the headband portion on the screen. Obviously if you use one of the other cameras aside from the cockpit camera you probably wont notice any problems at all.
There have been a number of other rule changes that have made their way into the game, but without boring you with technical jargon it seems to have resulted in grippier and overall faster cars in F1 2018.
Tracks wise we are greeted with a couple of new comers to this year, firstly the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet makes a return to the calendar after 10 years out of the racing scene. With it comes a fast and technical track that is bathed in reds and blues throughout. Its easy to get lost on the track but hitting those apex’s perfect will be rewarding. Germany also makes its return after a year, so expect to be racing around the Hockenheimring Circuit through your career mode.
So onto career mode, and the changes that have been made. It is a bit more in depth with contract negotiations being able to take place so that you can try and get the best deal possible when you join a new team. There is also rule changes after seasons to contend with which adds an extra piece of tactical play during the season. Do you keep your resource points gained after races and through the practice programs that can be carried out during the three practice sessions? Doing so will allow you to have a stronger car when the new season starts with it’s changes, but it will also come at the cost of not being able to develop your car through the current season. F1 2018 does a great job at balancing the resource points so that you have to chose wisely when it comes to developing new parts in the R&D department through a season. In my career I took McLaren from being one of the slowest cars on the track in a straight line to almost getting up there with the top teams in terms of pace.
One other addition to career mode is post-race interviews, well you pretty much can get interviewed at any time after a session, but these interviews allow you to give praise to a particular department within the team. You are also expected to behave in a certain way depending on what team you sign for. McLaren wanted me to be a sportsmanship type racer, so giving praise to the team and showing solidarity with my team mate. So out went the “I’m amazing” answers to questions, and more into the “The team did great with the car” responses. It all adds up to a great system where you get to see why Lewis Hamilton always praises the team in his interviews.
Is it any different on the track? Well using my Fanatec CSL Elite wheel F1 2018 feels amazing. It feels like there has been an improvement on the handling and force feedback system in place. The game feels tighter, more responsive, and there seems to be more feedback through the steering wheel. This could be down to the recent partnership that F1 2018 has made with Fanatec for the Esports series. It definitively benefits the standard gamer at home as well though.
The online system has seemed to have an overhaul, unfortunately at the time of writing the online wasn’t working so we couldn’t take part in any races, but it seems that Codemasters have gone for a GT Sport style system with your race rating and sportsmanship rating allowing the clean racers to be sectioned off and hopefully prevented from those racers who forget which pedal is their brake.
As with last years effort, Codemasters have absolutely nailed the visuals on F1 2018, although on some tracks when the sun is shining the McLaren can look a bit cartoony, but with its bright orange paint job for this year it is a nice and bright car at the best of times.
Once again all the tracks are accurately rendered down to the finest of details in the surrounding environments. Stationary safety cars await someone to go diving into the wall, crowds cheering you on as you pass the start finish line. Even character models in the cut scenes as you get introduced to your new paddock team are really good. Although poor Fernando Alonso is showing his age as he sits across from me.
So the audio on a racing game rises and falls with its engine sounds, and F1 2018 once again absolutely champions this part of the game. The car audio when you are hitting those high revs and bouncing off the limiter as you come down the pit straight at Monza is deafening. Playing this game on a headset gives you a great sense of the potential noise the drivers really have to deal with. As well as getting Jeff in your ear telling you how you are doing and the time to your team mate. Once again though you have the option to tell him to “Shut Up Jeff!” and he will gladly reduce radio communications with you to allow you to concentrate on racing.
The vocal work is acceptable, and it is in time with the lip syncing so that’s a pretty successful feat in itself.
With 21 races on the calendar this year F1 2018 can be as short or as long as you want. Decide to take part in each of the practice sessions and then a full qualifying, even with being able to advance time can see an hour come and go, add to that the option to have a 25% race distance and another 25 minutes can fly by. You literally could even go the full race distance and be racing for a good few hours per track. Alternatively shorten your time, have a single shot qualifying and a 3 lap race and each race could take 20 minutes. F1 2018 allows you to customise to your hearts content when it comes to how long you want to spend on each race.
Don’t forget the online racing either, you could spend hours and hours racing online against other similarly skilled racers, alternatively set up a custom championship and race with your friends against the AI.
F1 2018 races into the hearts of race fans and delivers on so many levels. Personally I will be spending many hours in the racing seat going around and around and around the track. I understand that racing probably isn’t everyone’s taste, but for me, as a race fan this has to get the highest accolade for just what Codemasters have achieved with one of the most technical sports in the world.
F1 2018 receives the coveted Thumb Culture Platinum Award!
Disclaimer: we received a game code to carry out this review