How many things don’t look cool at 150-plus mph!?!
What would Codemasters be up to if it wasn’t creating smashing race games? We have an idea: let’s never find out! This year it’s given us F1 2015, the latest pair of slicks to hit the raceway. As you’d expect from the title, your means of conveyance is the internationally popular Formula 1 racer variant, so expect to adjust your downforce and prepare for some high, high speeds.
We’ve historically had troubles in games that featured these types of cars, but F1 2015 is chock full of assists that don’t feel too overbearing. So if you’re coming in too hot on a corner, the game will pump your brakes just enough to send you only midway into sand, but working in tandem with the assist will let you positively glide through the various cuts on the tracks. Steering, braking, gas and everything else is superbly responsive and very easy to pick up for even the most casual of race fans.
On the other hand, mid-race menu navigation in the pit stops could certainly use a little bit of work, as there are so many options (by no fault of Codemasters) applicable to your car that it’s very easy to get lost at sea (or lost at pit, rather).
The cars look absolutely fantastic, and even the drivers feature a good amount of detail and look very close to their real life counterparts (every driver featured in the game is real). All of the courses look great with their appropriately clean or worn tracks, depending on where you decide to race and how old the venue is.
Although most of the identifiable scenery is hidden in the backgrounds, it’s very easy to tell the difference between racing in Bahrain and getting to pole position in Texas. The cockpits of the cars themselves are littered with buttons, dials and various readouts as well.
While it all looks nice and moves very well (usually 60fps with the occasional screen-tearing during some of the slower, meandering curves), there seems to be sort of a washed-out sheen over everything. It makes every object and detail a little too bright — enough so that it negates some of the authenticity.
The cars all sound great as well, and the familiar roaring whine of an F1 engine is rampant. Tires screech and squeal around tight bends and the engineer of your pit crew does a great job informing you (via the DualShock 4 speaker) when you need to replace tires or get your suspension adjusted. He’ll also keep you posted on the weather, which can drastically change the experience of a race.
No matter what mode you decide to dip into, be it Championship Mode, Pro Season, Quick Race or Multiplayer, getting strapped in takes only moments. Then, before you know it, you are hitting breakneck speeds and negotiating intimidating curves.
Championship is the main “campaign” in which you fine tune the details of your vehicle, plot weekend races (sometimes up to 50 laps), hire and train drivers, and basically just compete in an entire race season all over the world. Pro Season is the same thing as Championship Mode, but it’s much more difficult — you’ll face only the most ruthless of drivers here.
Quick Race lets you tune the difficulty, track location and weather dynamics of your race as well. Anywhere you decide to start, however, is a friendly and fun experience. To a casual race fan, the differences between the selectable cars may be negligible, but a seasoned trackhead will quickly find a favourite car to spin around in and tinker with.
Damage aficionados will be pleased to know that there is indeed in-game car damage, and even the slightest mishap can send you veering off in seriously unwanted directions. With a quick trip to the pit area, you can fix most things wrong with your car, but it’s a lot better to just be careful and avoid those damaging collisions.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been looking forward to this game since last year or are just now dipping your toes into the world of Formula 1 — F1 2015 is easy to get into and makes for a very good racing game.