The wait is over race fans! Formula 1 speeds onto the next generation of console nearly 2 years since the launch of the Xbox One.
Given a complete overhaul from graphics to the career mode (or lack of) and everything in between.
GO GO GO, it’s lights out
So where do you start when you have everything new to discover? Its obvious isn’t it, straight into a quick race, get on the grid and as our old friend Murray would say “GO GO GO, it’s lights out”
and immediately you’re looking around thinking wow, this looks great, sharp car graphics, good looking scenery it’s a true beauty to look at but then you approach a corner rapidly and remember that braking is an integral part of F1 and WOW my controller started rumbling, I had a lock up in my first corner. Most would be thinking s*** i’ve lost time but I thought wow amazing feel through the controllers rumble triggers to enhance my experience, At this point I threw my race and explored the braking and acceleration dynamics.
Some of you lucky enough to have put many hours into Forza 5 with the setting correctly marked will have experienced this rumble and the enhancement to your driving it offers, real time feedback through acceleration and braking helping you determine when you’re squeezing too hard or if the wall is approaching too fast and you’re going off course too soft. Now I’ll admit this setting might not be for everyone but medium traction and abs off was it for me, enough to make it challenging but enjoyable when I got my lap right all the way around. (You can customise the controls to suit your driving style and skills)
Straight away this was a more enjoyable and responsive game than the previous ones.
There seems to have been a lot of focus gone into the player’s aspects of the game, what you can do, what you can see and some things removed. A couple of examples are the pit comms, press the LB button and a list of instructions/requests come up for you to talk to your pit crew and get weather, race updates or tell them you are coming in, check on drivers in front and behind to check your distance, and all without having to look at your screen. If you’re really brave you might even turn off your HUD. (no i’m not that brave either)
Add to this the existing systems from the d-pad to change brake bias, tyres, fuel mix and wing and you’re laughing, the race is under your control. One of my favourite new features is the Live TV feed, this can be found in the garage along with the lap times and track maps and is another nice feature to help bring the feel of a race driver onto the console and to you the gamer.
For my first few races I was pretty cautious whilst I got to grips with the feel of the cars, reminding myself of the various tracks and making sure I could manage my gear changes to manage my fuel (believe me it can make a huge difference)
Well this year it can’t really be called a career
And now onto the real core of the game for so many, the career. Well this year it can’t really be called a career, its championships and you can choose this year or even last years racing as the old drivers in the old cars, some have called this a vain attempt at making the game bigger but I think it’s a nice addition for those who missed out last year and want Alonso in a partially competitive car and not a snail stuck in glue.
It’s basically just 1 season win as many as you can and hold the trophy above your head. Simple. Select between short medium and long race distances with comparable preparation and your off. I like slightly longer races as it gives me time to learn the tracks and really get pits to play a part in the race, whereas the really short ones do offer a pit stop but it’s more of a formality than a need (although the rules tell us otherwise)
let me tell you they attack
The big one for many though is how the AI react to you in defence and attack and let me tell you they attack! Even in the early stages they will go on the inside and lobby for the position, I tried all the difficulties and there is no doubt the earlier ones seems a little more stupid in their approach i,e they wouldn’t overtake even if you made a mistake for fear of hitting you. But i certainly found in the higher difficulties that you had to have your wits about you as they were more aggressive and sometimes this did have catastrophic consequences, but that’s racing right?
I have to be honest though this is about it, practice, qualifying, race and win. Thats it, no development, progressions, changing cars or sorting out contracts. I appreciate why this has been done and personally it makes me look forward to next years game already as I’m intrigued about how they will build on this and expand the game second time out on the next generation.
So far I hope you’re thinking well its F1, it’s got some nice features and brilliant racing and bringing next generation graphics along too In a nutshell that’s exactly what it had delivered. There are some annoying bits, like the pit crews pixelated shirt sponsors, drivers faces on the screens are recognisable but certainly not next-gen, career mode is lacking, no champions mode, and I’m sure there are racers out there that will also find other reasons to put the game down, however this is the first outing for F1 on the Xbox One, it’s a better engine than before, with some nice new features and for me gives me a 1 year fix of racing until they have time to develop the platform they have started with and get us excited going forwards.
This year also sees a first in Mexico, and what a track, playable months before the real drivers get hold of it, (you have to wonder if they will practice on this) for the other tracks though there isn’t much to say they are just as beautiful as earlier ones, all be it a little more polished and detailed.
But then came the multiplayer!
Straight into the hoppers (yeah I know great name) I thought given i’d made my controls more difficult I’d “hop” into the beginner races, and clearly some people need to understand the meaning of beginner. I consider myself a solid driver but far from expert but to be 4 seconds behind each lap was just embarrassing. After a few races though it was quite clear that some just want to take advantage and beat up the smaller drivers (jog on guys find a suitable lobby)
I tried a few though and it was actually great to race with similar skill sets and more challenging ones, it pushes you harder and certainly for me just gave me some good old-fashioned stolen corner lines to follow to help improve my driving.
Many have mentioned issues surrounding the multiplayer and it had me very worried, however having done a good few hours and various lobbies I am yet to experience more than 1 issue which was only a lap time being 417 seconds when it was under 2 minutes.
The lobbies are split into beginner, Standard, and Hardcore, each lowering the available assists which might explain why some drivers were just too good in the beginner lobby as they haven’t got the guts to step it up a notch.
The other 2 multiplayer lobbies are Feature race where there is a set race, 1 shot qualifying, realistic performance, collisions on, weather dynamic, damage on and 25% race distance (at least that’s this weeks race settings) Becoming a great feature on driving games as it drives for future gaming. Hopefully we see the upcoming race weekends on the features.
And finally and possibly the most important the custom race.
It’s always nice to set up some races with your friends, much as we do every Sunday (check the forum to join BTW) and everything you could want is customisable, great for all you and your friends needs.