The exhilaration of getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car has always been a staple of Codemasters F1 series but this year it’s been joined by a fascinating My Team mode that puts you behind the desk of a manager as well.
The recent turmoil that all sports faced at the beginning of 2020 may have been misfortune for many fans but for F1 fans, Esports virtual F1 found itself in a unique position to help provide some comfort during the downtime, using Codemasters 2019 game as a base.
As fortuitous as it may have been for the developer, it also highlighted just how solid the game series has become under the current Codemasters team, which has been going from strength to strength over the last 4 years. F1 2020 is no exception, following the same evolution over revolution approach which has built upon the best parts of the previous game and adds new features that only serve to move the series forward.
Management, via the My Team mode, is the big surprise this year and it’s a wonder that it hadn’t been considered until now. Formula 1 is as much about team management as it is about the superstar drivers, such as Schumacher who becomes the feature star of this year’s special edition and getting to play around at the other end of the table takes the series in to new territory that was only hinted at by last years’ story mode. Putting you in the shoes of the new Frank Williams or Jean Todt, your task is to design a new team, including sponsors, car liveries and drivers. It’s a wonderful time sink that I’ve spent far too many hours playing and, yes, you get the change to play as the driver, too.
Career mode is back and extends last year’s debut of the F2 championship by providing a full season option and ditching the story, while also giving players a full set of D2 teams and drivers. While it may not be as flashy as F1, I’ve always found the Formula 2 races to be pretty adrenaline fuelled and the game succeeds in transferring this action pretty well. The feeling that you’ve then earned your F1 drive off the back of this is certainly satisfying, despite the fact that you know in the back of your mind that it’s inevitable. The only issue with Career Mode is that it’s completely overshadowed by the team mode. That said, it’s still a good way of hanging a season together and it’s a wonderful touch to see that Hubert is included in the driver line-up for F2 after the talented young driver’s untimely death last year.
Various free races and online challenges are available, as in previous games but the developers have also brought in collectables in the form of new helmets and clothing via a system called Podium Pass. This pass comes in both a free and premium version, the latter paid by in-game currency earned through the game or from real world money. Yes, it’s skirting close to microtransactions but there’s a generous amount of credits in the game and the prizes are all cosmetic.
Another new addition (well, more like a throwback) is split screen. This, alongside the ability to really dial down the difficultly to make the F1 cars easy for anyone to drive, gives the game far more appeal to newcomers and those who really want to drive the cars around those famous tracks but don’t have the skills or patience.
With driver and team feedback on handling and tracks fully mapped from their real world counterparts, plus improved environment and graphics, F1 2020 is the ultimate authentic tribute to everything Formula 1.
F1 2020 is a welcome upgrade with new features that really provide a game changing experience. It’s not only a must have for long term fans but provides enough accessibility for those new to racing.