F1 2015 has arrived for the first time on the current crop of consoles and today we are going to take the PS4 version for a spin!
I’m an avid armchair fan of Formula 1 and I tune in to Sky F1 for every race during the championship season. So the first thing I noticed was commentary (what there is of it) is handled by Sky F1’s own Crofty (David Croft). It’s been a long time since I played an official F1 game. Probably a PS one version was the last one I played and there seemed to be far more commentary during the race from Murray Walker. Crofty, as I far as I could tell, delivers an introduction to the track and conditions before the race but then that’s it. Instead in the interests of realism (or so I choose to believe) you receive messages from your race engineer through the speaker in the joypad. This is more authentic as this is how it would be for the drivers.
I was told to brake harder in the next series of corners as my brakes were running too cold. This was a nice touch. As it had been such a long time since I played an F1 game I invited a friend around to give me his take on the latest addition to the series. Although he liked what was available he also bemoaned what wasn’t. This year’s release on current consoles has been paired back somewhat in the game modes available. Previously you could race classic cars and on classic tracks. There was a career mode where you created your own character and made a name for yourself working your way up the ranks race by race. Having not experienced these modes before I didn’t miss them. Maybe Codemasters are trying to attract a larger mix of gamers. I personally have no interest in creating my own driver; I only wish to race as my favourite driver and win a championship with them. My friend bemoaned this removes the longevity of the game. You previously built your character and his career continued season after season. With F1 2015 you race a season and start again the next season. Fair enough if you’re a fan of previous F1 games, then this omission will probably disappoint you. Maybe Codemasters can release that game mode as DLC before the inevitable F1 2016 comes around.
My concern was still the lack of commentary. I would have preferred more in the game which I know would be straddling be immersed in the game with actually watching it on TV but perhaps the option to turn it on and off as you desired would have been a viable compromise.
After all there is a reason why FIFA games eschew realism to include commentary while you play and it’s a shame F1 2015 doesn’t have the commentary during the race coming through the TV while still sending your race engineers messages through the joypad. The lack of commentary also brings to the front the awful sound of the cars. This isn’t Codemasters fault. This is just the state of current formula 1 cars. There is no getting away from the fact that the turbo engines sound dreadful in real life so therefore they are going to sound dreadful in the game too.
F1 2015 – VETTEL CAREER MODE PART 1: AUSTRALIA – aarava
I was eager to get started so a quick race was selected. All the teams of 2015 season are represented. You can also choose the 2014 season if you prefer where you will find Alonso in the mediocre Ferrari of 2014 rather than the dreadful McLaren he managed to negotiate himself into for 2015. All the drivers are there to choose from in each team and thankfully they are wearing their sponsors caps so we aren’t subjected to Lewis Hamilton’s Morrissey-esque quiff which ends up looking like a throw back to a lady garden from the 70’s after each race.
I’ve mentioned this before I am a distinctly average gamer. The thought of playing an F1 game as a full on simulation leaves me with cold sweats. I don’t have the desire to play racing games with steering wheels as they get in the way when I’m not playing racing games. (I bought a thrustmaster flight stick to play Battlefield 3 with and it’s sat on top of a wardrobe now) So a quick delve into the options before I began the race and I set assists to beginner, ABS on, traction control full, dynamic racing line full, gearbox auto and pit. To ensure the game didn’t become a boring procession I set damage to full. Obviously as I progress I would be inclined to up the difficulty level but the options available allowed me to ease into the game but still provide enough challenge due to the ever peril of damaging my wing or ripping my wheels off. Which I did at first in abundance!
There is a level of detail in the game that F1 fans will appreciate. The heat haze from the rear of yours and your opponents’ cars, the details of the sponsors and the paint work on the cars is all authentic and up to date as the cars can be. When I damaged my wing, the pit crew advised me to head to the pit shortly afterwards, informing me I’d damaged the aerodynamics, but this I already knew. There was a distinct whistle from the air after a collision letting me know something had gone amiss at the front, and then I under steered off the track at the first corner I tried to approach. The pit lane has all the expected team members, including the lollipop man waiting to switch your wing and wheels. Obviously, in auto trim, there was no ploughing through my pit box marking while watching my team dive for cover, but even on full simulation I doubt that sort of scene would be included.
No amount of pit lane features on Sky or the BBC will give you the feeling of being an F1 race driver like playing this game. Being sat in your pit garage during qualifying gives you an insight and a level of immersion you’re unlikely to have seen before. You wave your hand out of the cockpit and someone hands you a tablet. From there, you can set your car up, choosing which type of tyre you want to use in the race primes or options. Again, F1 fans will know what these are. You can choose an aero package that suits the track, or one that suits your driving style, with more or less down force affecting your speed/grip in the corners. You can watch the progress of other drivers, live on the track and decide when you want to enter the circuit so your run isn’t interrupted by other drivers.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game plus conclusions.
F1 2015 – Gameplay: My First Race! – Tiametmarduk
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