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F1 2022 Review

Verdict

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F1 2022 marks a brilliant effort from EA and Codemasters to grapple with an all-new set of regulations. The driving feels responsive with an all-new physics engine that ekes out every ounce of realism in an incredibly detailed package. While Braking Point may be absent, F1 2022 is still jam-packed with a great set of modes and features that beginners and pros are sure to enjoy.

Pros

  • Incredibly detailed graphics
  • New handling model feels excellent
  • F1 Life is a fun new feature

Cons

  • Career mode has seen little changes
  • No story mode

Availability

  • UKRRP: £79.99

Key Features

  • Platforms:Avaialble for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC
  • Release Date:1st July 2022 (full release)
  • GenreRacing, simulation

Introduction

F1 2022 is the latest instalment in Codemasters’ yearly series of challenging racing games that put you in the driving seat of some of your favourite F1 drivers.

This year’s entry brings with it a whole raft of new features and improvements that seek to provide the most faithful recreation of an F1 season, packed with new regulations to deal with.

Keep reading on to see what I made of F1 2022.

Features and gameplay

  • New 2022 regulations offer a redesigned physics engine
  • F1 Life acts as a fun social hub
  • Addition of supercars provides even more content

Unlike the humble jump from F1 2020 to F1 2021, the move to F1 2022 brings with it changes both on and off the track. It’s the first game to feature the all-new regulations which seek to shake up the racing pack and bring runaway teams back into line. 

You now have the option to do manual race starts, including fine-tuning your car’s position and angle if you wish to get an edge going into turn one at a certain circuit. Pit stops have also been somewhat manualised too, with drive-ins now determined by how well you can time your button input to a countdown clock. If you’re too early or too late, your overall pit stop time is affected. There’s a lot more to think about with F1 2022, but getting it all right can make for an incredibly rewarding experience.

One of the largest scale changes here involves the adjustment of the F1 cars themselves to the all-new 2022 regulations. With it comes larger tyres, the addition of ‘ground effect’ aero and new wings. This, therefore, has changed the handling model and physics engine of F1 2022 compared to previous games. While there is still the traditional understeer on corner entry, for instance, these changes in aero mean that throttle input is a lot more important. Boot it out of corners like I do most of the time and you’ll end up spinning. Chaining together a clean and quick lap is now even more of an art form than it was before.

The notion of not being able to chuck cars into corners as with previous F1 games also extends into the way that the all-new supercars handle in F1 2022. That’s right, you’ll get access to a small but great selection of road cars alongside the full-blown track monsters. Each of them (including the McLaren Artura, Ferrari Roma and the Aston Martin DB11 V12) has their own handling characteristics, although I couldn’t help but feel they were a little too unforgiving with driver aids turned off. Maybe that’s more a reflection of my skill level as opposed to the game itself, though.

The supercars can be driven in either the game’s Time Trial mode or within a new mode called Pirelli Hot Laps. This gives you access to a range of scenarios in which you can drive supercars around the F1 circuits, ranging from Average Speed Zone (where you need to blitz a piece of track as quickly as you can) to my favourite Autocross, in which you drive through a set of gates in the quickest time possible. It’s a refreshing change of pace to an otherwise incredibly serious title, and can provide you with an extra game of skill if you so wish for it.

Career mode is back, and feeling as detailed and excellent as it has in the last few games. There’s the option for either a single or two-player career mode, as well as to play as a real world driver or create your own, alongside the clever My Team option which chucks you in at the deep end as both driver and team owner of a new F1 constructor. 

I spent a fair few hours messing around with My Team, completing a few races of the first season to get a feel for the mode, and it’s the most detailed simulation I’ve played in a game in a long time. For the micromanagers out there, it’s a tricky balancing act between on-track performance and vying to keep all your departments happy and growing your team on and off the track. There is a bit of a learning curve if you haven’t played an F1 game before, but once you’ve learnt the basics, you’ll be up and running in no time at all.

When it comes to career mode, there is a notable absence in the form of Braking Point: the story mode first introduced in F1 2021. EA had tried story modes within sports games before, as FIFA’s The Journey proved. Braking Point is a sore miss for those who like a good story and are looking for the Drive To Survive-style narrative.

In addition to those on-track changes, the interface and menus of F1 2022 have received a shakeup, with this new title centred around the new F1 Life section. This is more of a customisable home for your avatar where you can choose everything from the supercar you have on display to all the trophies you’ve won.

It’s a fun little addition, and more customisation is always welcome, even if it has no real impact on the overall playing experience. If you want, you can even customise the clothes of your avatar with branded threads from the likes of Puma, Sparco and Beats. These items are unlocked via the Pitcoins in-game currency, of which you get a little bit when you boot up the game for the first time. 

Racing games usually have an in-game currency to deal with. However, much like with the in-game currency in Gran Turismo 7, you can buy Pitcoins with actual money – it’s £7.99 for 11,000, which is the same rate as F1 2021. 

Microtransactions haven’t gone down well in racing games before, as GT7 demonstrated earlier this year, and I just hope that these new EA-backed F1 titles don’t go the way that FIFA has. Of course, the Pitcoins are used to purchase cosmetic upgrades and don’t necessarily alter gameplay, but the precedent is there. 

Alongside the large UI overhaul of F1 Life, F1 2022 has also brought with it some smaller quality of life improvements that offer an even more realistic experience. For instance, Sprint Races are now present as an option when structuring a race weekend, designed to mimic the inclusion of the format at three circuits as in real life: Imola, Interlagos and the Red Bull Ring in Austria. 

Graphics

  • Great overall detail
  • Each track has its own nuances with great rendering
  • Supercar interiors feel a little rushed

F1 2022 is an excellent-looking game. While it is the second entry in the title to bridge the gap between console generations, it looks incredibly polished. The different weather options act as an immense showcase of the game’s graphical prowess with sunny days looking incredibly bright and pleasing, while wet weather racing takes on a noticeably darker quality. 

Each track features its own clever details, whether it’s Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium or the yachts docked in Monaco, and they’re all rendered in marvellous detail. Roadside scenery such as the crowds and medical trucks and tents add an extra layer to the simulation, and they too look detailed.

Interiors of the F1 and F2 look rather detailed with all the little knobs and buttons mapped out in impressive style, alongside vibrant liveries on the outside, too. In the case of the supercars however, I can’t help but feel they look a little cartoony at times, with the cockpits lacking some substance and detail. The exteriors look especially shiny, even in heavy rain, and feel more like they were designed for the first Test Drive Unlimited than F1 2022.

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Should you buy it?

You want an incredibly realistic experience: F1 2022 is arguably the most realistic title in the F1 series so far with its revamped physics engine and new regulations, so if it’s a true simulation you’re after, this is fantastic.

You want to experience a story mode: While F1 2022 is jam-packed with features, the lack of a story mode is a sore miss, and may leave some fans wanting more.

Final Thoughts

F1 2022 has arrived with both a lot of fanfare and a shedload of new and exciting features. It has delivered, offering a captivating experience that’s sure to please both beginners and hardcore sim racers alike.

There’s definitely a lot to love about F1 2022, whether it’s the revamped physics engine and clever AI, or the incredible levels of detail on tracks and in the cockpit. The inclusion of F1 Life as a main social hub is an interesting move and adds a new arcade-type dynamic to what is traditionally more of a sim title, while the addition of supercars adds a fun element alongside staples such as race weekends and a practically unchanged career mode.

It’s really the little things that make F1 2022 such a great game with little flecks of extra realism added to a tried-and-tested formula and while it isn’t perfect, it’s definitely a shining entry.

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How we test

We play every game we review through to the end, outside of certain exceptions where getting 100% completion, like Skyrim, is close to impossible to do. When we don’t fully finish a game before reviewing it we will always alert the reader.

Played on Xbox Series X

Played for over 20 hours

FAQs

Is F1 2022 coming to EA Play?

Yes. F1 2022, much like other new EA games, will be subject to the same 10-hour trial, with early access beginning on the 28th June 2022.

Will F1 2022 have VR?

F1 2022 does have VR support, and is the first game in the series to offer this functionality. It works with Oculus Quest, HTC Vive and Valve Index, although it’s unknown at the moment whether PSVR 2 will support it.

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