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F1 2015 review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Immersive feel
  • Strong handling
  • Great weather effects
  • Fantastic sense of speed

Cons

  • Lack of game modes
  • Aggressive AI

Available on Xbox One, PS4, PC

Is F1 2015 the latest sign of a real racing renaissance? We’d like to think so. With DIRT Rally, GRID Autosports and now this, the Codemasters Racing team seem to have turned their back on the dark days of extreme sports celebrities and novelty game modes to focus all their attention on the thrills, spills and skills of driving really fast around a track. Nor is Codemasters alone. Both Project Cars and Assetto Corsa have shared a similar, racing-focused vibe, and picked up fans who felt disenfranchised by the drifts, stunts and firework finishes of the last-generation racers.

In F1 2015 this movement makes itself felt in a stripped-back structure that has no time for clever historical re-enactments, arcade game modes or snack-sized challenge modes. Instead, it’s all about straight recreations of the 2014 and 2015 Championships, with the only alternatives a quick race mode, online multiplayer and a fiendishly addictive time trial mode.

F1 2015

What’s more, those championships reflect the reality of F1 racing. The most hardcore Pro Championship mode does each race weekend pretty much in full, complete with lengthy practice and qualifying sessions. Even the amateur level of the basic Championship mode expects you to go through a 15 minute practice, a single-lap qualifier and a 14 to 16-lap race, taking roughly one quarter of the time of the real deal. While accessible, enjoying F1 2015 takes a level of commitment.

If you’re used to more arcade-style console racers, this might come as a shock. A race weekend represents a good half hour or more of effort, while the race itself takes a certain level of focus and concentration. Yet the sheer length of the races almost forces you to think about strategy, tyre wear, fuel and the other drivers, which means you’re thinking more like an F1 racing driver. In fact, F1 2015 is one of the most immersive F1 racers we’ve ever played.

See also: PS4 vs Xbox One

F1 2015

Some of this comes down to stuff that’s going on off the track. With no lengthy cut-scenes, create your own driver career modes or other distracting guff, you’re put squarely in the suit and helmet of a real-life F1 driver. And the game does its best to keep you there – even when you’re approving race strategies or tyre selections from a virtual tablet. There are miniature linking cut-scenes to celebrate success or indicate failure, but these are short and to the point, and helped by authentic suits, insignia, car decals and sponsor logos which make them feel like snapshots of pit-lane life.

Best of all, F1 2015 has a fantastic engineer commentary, with your sidekick in the puts giving you genuinely relevant info on the track, what’s happening on it, and what you might what to think about during the next part of the race. He’ll pick up titbits about how your rival contenders are doing, and he’ll even go to the extent of calling team-mates by their first name.

See also: Xbox One vs Xbox 360

F1 2015

Yet there’s equally immersive stuff on the track. The default cockpit view is excellent and puts you right at the heart of the action, with settings and tyre changes for your next pit-stop accessible at a tap of the D-pad. The game’s weather effects don’t just look great; you can feel the effects on grip and traction. Everyone drives a little slower and more cautiously, and becomes more prone to making errors. You learn to think more about when and how you brake, and how you speed out of the corner.

The sound of the cars is fabulous, too, with powerful, gritty engine noises as the cars accelerate, and equally immersive effects for braking and gear changes. Plus, who can resist the roar of the crowd as you speed past a grandstand.

See also: PS4 vs PS3

F1 2015

Yet all this plays second fiddle to the handling. It has the precision you’d expect from an F1 game, but also one of the best feels we’ve come across in an open wheel racer – not as wild or unforgiving as some, but happy to work you hard on each and every corner. Here it’s not just about braking, steering in then speeding out of the corner, but about the way you balance the brake, accelerator and the wheel to maintain grip and shave every second from your lap time.

Even playing on a standard Xbox One controller it’s a really rewarding and satisfying drive, and while there aren’t huge, fundamental differences between the cars and teams while racing – some of the performance deltas have been smoothed over to make the action a little less predictable – moving from Pastor Maldonado in the Lotus to Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari has a genuine effect on how you drive, not to mention your chances of winning.

It doesn’t need to be difficult. While there are default difficulty settings, you can dial the AI up and down and switch assists in and out, with a particularly likable variation of the on-track guide which only shows up on the corners. What’s more, the game is realistic about your goals for the championship. If you race as Maldonado, it doesn’t expect you to win, only come in the top 7. Playing as Vettel? A top 4 position becomes your primary target.

See also: Best PS4 Games 2015

F1 2015

Graphics aren’t the game’s biggest strength. It does well on the modelling and lighting of the cars and on incidental track-side detail, but it’s no match for Project Cars or Forza Motorsports 5, and there’s something oddly fuzzy about the presentation – a least on the Xbox One version. We suspect the team focused on a smooth 60fps frame rate and the sense of speed, which is amazing, and we’d take that over extraneous eye-candy any day. This is still the best-looking F1 yet, even if it’s not the best-looking racer by any means.

That’s not necessarily a problem. What might be is the AI. Set to Easy it’s rather bland. Qualify in the top four and you’ll race ahead of the rest of the pack on the first lap and only need to worry about the opposition after pit-stops. Set it to Medium or above, though, and it’s surprisingly savage, rear-ending you, clipping you on corners and generally sending you spinning off the track. A day one patch appears to fix the worst offences, but not all of them, and there’s nothing more annoying than delivering a perfect performance through, say, the first ten laps, only to get whacked by Valtteri Bottas in the eleventh and sent spinning off the track. What’s more, the game has a nasty habit of penalising you for collisions even when you’re not to blame.

See also: Best Xbox One Games 2015

F1 2015

This might be a disaster, but F1’s saviour is its flashback feature – still one of the smartest ideas Codemasters ever put into a racing game. While disabled in the Pro Championship mode, it allows you to rewind time and kick back in before the accident occurred, sometimes losing you a little speed and a second of lap time, but saving you from having to repeat the last fifteen minutes of racing.

And what price you do pay is a small one for an F1 racer as exciting and fiercely addictive as this one. Even once you’ve worked your way through both championships – and we suspect you’ll want to do so more than once – you’ll find yourself putting hours into the time trials, working your way up the online leaderboard. It’s a slightly Spartan feature, with none of the social bits we’ve come to expect from next-gen racers, but weirdly compulsive all the same.

See also: Best Games 2015

F1 2015

In case you’re wondering about Multiplayer, the feature was locked off on our console at the time of writing, but we’ll update this review as soon as we’ve had a chance to spend a decent amount of time online.

Some will look at F1 2015 and attack the paucity of content, but we’d rather see a game that got the core right than one that spread itself too thin and blew the fundamentals. Perhaps next year we could have the extra modes and options back, but if so this year’s model is a great chassis to bolt them onto.

Verdict

Short on modes, but big on racing, F1 2015 gives fans their most immersive F1 game to date. It could be stronger visually and the AI needs some work, but the first F1 to hit the next-gen consoles delivers both a thrilling drive and a strong core for future F1 games.

Overall Score

8

Dead Words

July 6, 2015, 6:10 pm

You have the release date wrong at the top. You said it was June 10th when it is July 10th.

Tom

July 10, 2015, 12:04 pm

As a massive fan (and previous owner of all the earlier F1) im slightly torn by this review and F1 2015, I was very excited by the idea of the shift to

The next generation consoles and its great to hear some of the issues are being corrected (for example the point that expectations are better controlled now, just because I pull a blinder and get a Marussia in the top ten one race due to a lot of luck doesn’t mean it should automatically become their standard expectation from that point onwards! Also the AI getting more agrreessive), however from this review it seems that the same issues that have plagued F1 for the last few versions still remain, for example

The odd removal of the historical racers – This was a genius addition to 2013 as it mixed up the offering and kept the game fresh, it was mad of Codemasters to take it out for F1 2014 and even more mental it is still missing (I don’t buy the argument of keeping the game stripped back, it just seems like the game was rushed to market so this was cut)

The removal of a Career mode – I think especially now that Project Cars has made such a good job of the route up to becoming an F1 driver, F1 2015 looks to suffer with a complete lack of Career mode in that way. Personally I like the idea of creating my own character and earning their worth in F1 which would be pretty easy to add in as a test driver for one of the teams, earning respect until offered a contract, again it just seems lazy to not include that option

I still think ill pick up a copy (it is F1 after all) but I think like F1 2014 it looks to be another disappointment, with F1 2013 still being the peak the series has reached so far

Mario Slivka

July 11, 2015, 6:51 am

So disappointed. What happened with the old F1 game features such as careers and interviews? Not recommend at all. Game crash over and over. Bad

Terry

July 13, 2015, 2:31 am

trusted reviews??? clearly your opinion is bought and paid for or you are playing a completely different game to the rest of us..
"The sound of the cars is fabulous" they used the same engine sound for all the cars.
so they all sound like the merc...

"Best of all, F1 2015 has a fantastic engineer commentary" that everyone is complaining they cant hear... pc /xbox and ps4..

the 'new' game engine is the old one with new paint... this is evident of bugs from previous f1 titles still being present in the new one. missing drivers from cars in mirrors.
incorrect positions of cars etc.
codemasters are taking every opportunity to cut corners and kick out the door a stripped fown 2014 with a new paint job.
go look at steam's reviews for 2015... you will not find one single positive review.
go look at the official codemasters f1 forum, and its drowning in negativity.
thank god they are losing the f1 licence after 2016... codemasters used to make ace games.. now they polish turds.

Frank Wiater

July 29, 2015, 3:30 am

F1 Race Stars is a better Formula 1 game than this......
I have been a fan of Codmasters F1 and Dirt series games since the first release. I preordered this game with the information that I read over the internet from reviewers and from the Codies website. I also used my previous experience with CM's F1 games as a basis on what type of quality to expect from a game like this one. I have previously purchased Dirt, Dirt 2, Dirt 3, F1 2010 thru 2014 from Steam and for the most part was happy with my purchase. I am also a fan of other racing titles that are more sim than game such as IRacing, Project cars. I have enjoyed playing Race 07, Asetto Corsa except the game server on AC is a joke. I spent many hours in Papyrus titles like GPL and their Nascar series , and also on Geoff Crammonds World Circuit thru his GP4. I have seen both the good and bad of all these titles at their best and worst. I did not set my expectations for F1 2015 any higher than what I had seen them previously release.

Common sense would dictate that a company that has been making F1 games for the PC since their September release in 2010 would have a good handle on what it takes to get a game ready to market. Common sense need not apply here. It seems with the release of F1 2015 Codmasters has indeed returned to it's roots......console gaming. This title was written with that customer in mind, once again letting the PC customer know their business was unimportant to Codemasters.The control menus are a bad joke with the PC customer being the punchline. I was never able to get both my CSW V2 wheel and Richmotech real race gear pedals to work at the same time. It is a game that really does not have a target audience and does not know where to fit in. It is neither a Sim for hardcore enthuiasts or an arcade game strictly for fun. It lacks the features needed to entice the player into the simulated world of F1 Racing. This game is like a bad coat of paint aimed squarely at oblivion and doesn't really cover up all the problems underneath. With a shameful lack of content considering what was in previous releases, there is No fuunctional safety car, No TV interviews, No career mode, No co-op mode, No Classic F1 cars, No season challenge, No rival system, No champions mode, No SLI support, No split screen, No motorhome. No paddock and No TV interviews. The sheer scarcity of options and modes means this is yet another year where the "Official F1 tie-in" never even gets to the starting grid. The amount of modes left out of this title is borderline criminal and scandalous. It feels like less than half a game was released at a premium price no less. This title is far inferior to 2014, which was in turn inferior to the 2013 release. I don't believe most buyers will believe this is a "less is more" situation, but rather a trend to charge more and give less. They "throw in" the 2014 season as a bonus, because it's obvious they intend to BONE US with this title and the absense of so much of what should be seen as standard for F1. Codemasters really should kiss you before you buy this game, since it seems their intent is to just screw you, perhaps you would feel less used after. This publisher is so hell bent on hitting it's yearly release schedule that it pulled this one out of the oven half baked, and a easy bake oven they got a at a garage sale at that.

I run a high end system and love to see titles push that hardware for what its worth. My current rig features a core !7-5960, 64 gb ddr4, (2) Titan X video cards in SLI, 2 ASUS G-sync 27" monitors at a res of 5890 x 1080 bezel corrected @144 hz. Aparently I would have had better results on a console system with this title. It crashed the first few times I ran a benchmark test so bad I needed to reload my video drivers and recalibrate the monitors as this game had them stuck in limbo after multiple crashes. This game crashes more than Maldonado and Grosjean combined. The graphics looked bad even when I got them to display, but they were constantly blinking and flashing, seemingly fishing for a proper state of display this catastrophy of a game could not deliver. It looked like it was snowing in Singapore and it nearly caused me to have suffer a seizure from the constant screen blinking. Because I never was ablle to get my wheel and pedals working at the same time, even though they worked fine in all their previous titles, I can not comment on the physics. The track textures have a filtery feeling that left me nausiated as well. This game is so awkwardly stylized it's more like a bad cartoon Anime, than a racing title.

I would have to say that after a few hours of utter frustration spent trying to fix all the problems that run rampant with simple setup of this game, that the quit menu works great and that's about all. But even that suffers from problems as Steam then tries desperately to download some sort of non-existent update and finishes on an error 41. I suggest we all quit buying these type of half baked mess and let Codemasters know it no excuses as it is not their first rodeo, but could be their last. The best thing to do with this game is delete it permantly from your drive. There are plenty of good titles that offer proper racing that works to deal with this junk. Return it and get a refund while you can. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes with idle promises to fix it....baaaahhhh bahhhhh.

In a side note to STEAM, shame on you too. I have been a customer for over 8 years and have never even tried to return a title. I tried multiple times to get a refund on this as I was never able to complete even one lap, but was told that beacause I had more than 2 hours of trying to fix this worthless piece of junk, that they would not refund my money. Instead opting to join their co-conspirator Codmasters in ripping of a loyal customer for short term profit. Shame on you STEAM and Codmasters, I have purchased many of your products and recommended them to my friends, alas my policy is changed on that too. I will NEVER pre purchase a title again with this return policy. I had always believed that STEAM treated their customers fairly and with respect, but I see this was yet another lesson learned from this terible gaming experience.

Your money would be much better spent on the 2012 or 2013 Codemasters F1 games than this abortion of a game. I would recommend Project Cars or IRacing to anyone looking for a Racing Sim.
Had either of those titles offered all the cars or tracks from the current F1 season I would have never bothered with this lackluster castrophy in the first place. Save your money and buy something else.

KRCGaming

July 29, 2015, 10:33 pm

The guys that wrote this article are fucking blind and retarded. Get a grip: F1 2015 sucks balls compared to other titles. Worst F1 game ever. Trusted Reviews? More like "Bullshit Reviews" to me. Only to get money that's what you want. FUck off!!!

Kevin Shah

February 17, 2016, 11:32 am

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