Just as the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship is about to enter its finishing laps, F1 fans receive the next trailblazing instalment of the Codemasters’ annual F1 racing games, F1 2017.
I have a confession to make. I’ve never been a fan of F1, let alone played any of its virtual counterparts on any platform. I booted up F1 2017 blind, without knowing or understanding much of the mechanics of the sport. Considering all that, after playing the game, even I have to admit it’s apparent that Codemasters have developed a game that is lovingly tailored to fans of Formula 1.
Let me make it clear that I had to experience F1 2017 with fully assists and that includes Traction Control, ABS, Braking Assist, Auto Gearbox, Dynamic Racing Line and more (I honestly don’t even know what some of these are or what they do). I’m aware that the game is a racing sim first and foremost, but that is also why I am glad that Codemasters have included fully assisted gameplay to those who prefer to just pick up and play. Even with this option, I had a difficult time adjusting to F1 2017 as I’m used to more arcade-y racing games like the Need For Speed or Burnout franchises.
But F1 2017 has tutorials galore for players who really want to immerse themselves in the meat of the game, like how to make the most of the car setups and what to do at pit stops amongst others. These authentic mechanics make players feel like they’re really at the pit stop, getting repairs mid-race to change damaged tyres or even to serve penalties like cutting corners to avoid disqualification (I received lots of those!), which makes F1 2017 appeal to the most dedicated fans of Formula One, as well roping in the more casual racing gamers (like me).
Another aspect that everyone, regardless of veterans or newcomers to F1, can appreciate is the stunning graphics. The weather effects are one of the most impressive I’ve ever feasted my eyes on, as F1 2017 offers dynamic weather options as well as settings for various times of the day, including sunrise, noon, sunset and even night. Since I live in Malaysia, I tested the Sepang International Circuit track in various situations to see how they compare. I’m blown away by how great the shadow and lighting effects when racing at noon with the hot Malaysian sun blazing its rays onto the track and terrain or racing during a gloomy sunset with Malaysia’s tropical and torrential rain spattering on my windshield. The few flaws I noticed were the backdrop and circuits which were a bit blurry but you’ll be too mesmerised looking at the intricately rendered cars anyway.
Long-time F1 fans may remember Codemasters introducing classic Formula 1 cars way back in F1 2013, almost half a decade ago. Now they’re back, with the selection of classic F1 cars drawn from as far back as 1988, spanning almost 30 years ago! They’re also incorporated into Career Mode and not just a tacked-on feature. However, I discovered during multiplayer sessions that some were only available as paid DLCs, much to my disappointment.
Competitive eSports fans should be hyped to know that Formula 1 recently announced their foray into eSports for the first time ever, in collaboration with Codemasters and Gfinity. The Formula 1 Esports Series will be an annual event starting in 2017. It started recently in September 2017 and the Qualification Stage is now over. The 40 best players will now advance to the Live Semi-Finals at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10th and 11th. The best 20 out of 40 will then compete at the F1 Esports Series Grand Final at Yas Marina as part of the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 24th and 25th.
The first Formula 1 Esports World Champion will be crowned on the same weekend as the final 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix as well as gaining the prestige of being the Formula 1 Esports Champion Expert for 2018 and will automatically qualify for the semi-finals of next year’s Formula 1 Esports Series. The first winner will also be given the opportunity to attend one of the 2018 Grand Prix and become an actual character in F1 2018.
The F1 Esports Series 2017 is open to residents of all countries wherever the F1 2017 is available and whoever owns an Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, PS4, PS4 Pro or suitable Windows PC. For more information or if anyone is interested in competing in F1 Esports Series 2018, please visit their official website here.
My fellow Malaysians may be heartbroken due to the fact that 2017 will be the last time the Malaysian Grand Prix will be held at Sepang International Circuit and probably the last time we’ll be seeing it in an F1 game as well. It was apt of Codemasters to organize a special story event in-game recently to coincide with the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix. Malaysia was historically the second Asian nation after Japan to ever host the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Released in late August, the game is now available on the PS4, Xbox One, PC and macOS.
– Stunning graphics (Dynamic weather effects)
– Feature-packed (Classic cars, authentic mechanics)
– Officially entering eSports
– Steep learning curve and geared towards the most dedicated F1 fans
– Some environmental details look blurry
– Some classic cars are only available as DLC
Major gaming websites are touting F1 2017 to be the best F1 game ever made. I’m inclined to agree with them but this is my very first F1 game so I’ll just say it’s a great game. It’s more geared towards dedicated Formula 1 fans instead of casual arcade racing fans but it’s a nice effort on Codemasters’ part that they’ve added certain features for beginners to enjoy the game too. With Formula 1 finally officially entering the eSports market, F1 2017 looks like it’s here to stay with a future brimming in potential, which is surely to satisfy many Formula 1 fans.
F12017 was reviewed on the PlayStation 4, via review copy courtesy of Ubisoft Singapore.