Codemasters are back with the newest game in the F1 franchise with F1 2018 and it’s bigger and better than ever. As soon as I booted up F1 2018 I knew this game would be great the intro sequence with the official F1 theme made me so excited. Instead of jumping straight into Career mode I went into Grand Prix mode and had a look at the new classic cars that have been added including the Brawn GP from 2009 and the beautiful Willams BMW from 2003, not just them but the Lotus 72d and Niki Lauda’s 1976 Ferrari and some more cars from the 70’s and 80’s have also been added for everyone to have fun with.
The Classics are extremely fun to drive although the game doesn’t feature any classic circuits or classic drivers which is a slight disappointment. Championships mode makes a return from F1 2017 and this mode is particularly fun if you want to take a break from Career you can race in championships that feature reverse grids, sprint races, spec races and events that have 2 races a weekend. Championships feature both classic and 2018 cars and it’s a great mode.
Moving on to the meat of the game which is Career mode and it’s better than ever as soon as you load up Career and see the opening cutscene of walking into the paddock and meeting your agent Emma and the news reporter Claire you feel immersed and feel like you are a real F1 driver. Claire will come up to you after a session and ask you some questions which you have to answer pretty quickly it’s a good feature and depending on how you answer questions your sportsmanship or showmanship rating goes up. This is crucial as every team is different and some teams like Red Bull for example prefer a showmanship driver, a driver that is fun and entertaining whereas Mercedes want a sportsmanship driver who won’t say anything out of line and answer in a very calm manner.
Another new feature in Career mode is contract negotiations if you perform well and beat your rivals you can negotiate a better deal with your current team, or a different team if you are performing well you can negotiate a deal to become the number 1 driver in the team and earn more resource points which help with development of the car. Which brings me onto the R&D system you’ll meet Carl who helps you out with car development it’s quite unique this year in that each team has a different R&D tree for example Red Bull have a good chassis so they have more chassis upgrades and McLaren have more powertrain upgrades.
Also new with the R&D system is regulation changes which can happen at the end of a season where a certain part of the R&D tree becomes under threat from a rule change and you have to decide what you want to protect. This can really shake up the order of the following season as some teams may get it wrong in deciding which parts to save, a cool new feature that will keep Career mode fresh for the whole 10 seasons.
Moving to online there is a new super license system just like in real F1 you have a license where if you perform well and race cleanly you’ll rank up and be matched against people of your skill level and if you don’t race so clean you’ll be matched against not so good drivers this is a great system and helps filter out the bad drivers who like to deliberately wipe people out. In terms of the racing itself online a lot of work has been put in this year by Codies to ensure there are little to no issues with racing wheel to wheel with someone online this is good news for all the leagues out there and also of course for the e sports event that will be run on this game later this year.
The AI has also been improved and they really put up a fight they are aggressive and aren’t afraid to dive down the inside they also defend very well and you’ll have to work hard if you want to pass the car ahead. ERS is a new feature added where you have to manage your battery this can spice up the racing as you have to decide the best time to use it or save it up and go for an attack a few laps later.
The weather system has also been worked on the clouds in particular look stunning and the visual effects of the rain are amazing, in a full wet condition race you’ll see the mist and spray of the other cars, when you get close up behind another car in the rain it can be tricky to see which is good because that’s realistic. The cars also sound beautiful the classics and the 2018 cars, the graphics and sounds overall are a big step up from last years game.
Overall Codemasters have produced one of the best if not the best F1 game I’ve ever played.