F1 2016: When I realised that this game was distributed and published by Codemasters, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia cruise through my body. Codemasters are the guys who had me playing Micro Machines on the Sega Megadrive with 3 friends for an absolute age. I mean, Micro Machines was the reason why I missed so many SNES and Megadrive classics. Then I looked further into it and realised that this game was specifically published and distributed by Codemasters Birmingham, who are solely responsible for the official F1 games over the last decade.
Bit of Background: I don’t watch the Grand Prix. I’m not particularly keen on nice cars and speed and I hate not being in control. I’ve recently returned from my Honeymoon in Dubai and Mauritius, and a number of times on the long haul of a flight I was close to asking for a steering wheel so I could take control. However, even though you must be wondering why I chose to review this game, it is solely due to memories. I remember playing F1 World Grand Prix on the N64 and absolutely loving it, I even bought myself a steering wheel (well, I am sure my Mum and Dad bought it for me). You will find that during this review, I will talk about stuff I don’t massively understand. This does not change my opinion on the game at all as I would expect to be confused a number of times – luckily, I have one friend who has been a great help throughout my process of playing the game.
Initial Reactions: Firstly, I must add that this game was super quick to install (slightly raised alarm bells) and I was so grateful for that because I really hate having to wait to play a game, and the wait has been becoming increasingly longer as we have moved onto the PS4 and Xbox One. I know a little bit about the life of Formula one drivers and I was hoping this game was going to embody me within that world and make me feel rich and famous. It started off promisingly, with pictures of known races emanating in the background as you get to look through the variety of different game modes. This was a good start, and it was time to slip into first gear and get the race off.
Gameplay: It wouldn’t be right to write a review about a series game like F1 2016 and not read a few reviews about the previous year’s addition. There were two massive gripes with the previous game in all of the reviews I read.
Firstly, it was slow. This was a big problem because as you can imagine F1 games are pretty much about speed and if they can’t simulate said speed then you may as well be racing on a pushbike in Grand Theft Auto. Secondly, the multiplayer was really dysfunctional. This wouldn’t have been as much as a problem for everyone, but games rely on a strong online mode in the current market and with a ‘laggy’ experience, the youth of the day slate the game completely. So, I started playing this game with all of those aspects in mind.
I decided to start off with the Career Mode. There were a number of choices such as: time trial, multiplayer, championship season, quick race, and so on, but I thought a career is the way forward. You see, I was dying to be rich and famous. I set up my character including his face (was a shame you couldn’t edit the preset faces) and my helmet, then I got to put in my name and nickname. I got to choose my team (went for Red Bull as I thought they would make a flying start) and off I went. I choose medium for the setting out of the 5 different options, starting at very easy and going to some form of Legendary mode. Then, I was given a choice of how I wanted to play the game suggesting it could be short weekends, long weekends or full seasons. I chose the latter as I thought that would be the most lifelike one. I will warn you now, it is very lifelike, but also time consuming (lucky it is the summer holidays and my wife is back at work).
At the start of a career and inbetween races, you begin with your character sitting in the team’s lobby. This seems pretty cool and, as you look around, you can see some recognisable faces (I’m sure one of them is from Sky Sports). In front of you, is your laptop, which is your gateway to all things rac-eday. I have to be honest and say that most of the things from which you can choose were far too technical for me, and I kept on having to phone a friend who hadn’t bought the game yet and ask him what most of the bits meant. Choose from of a number of different tyres, change your fuel consumption, your braking power, your downward speed… you can literally change everything. I decided that I was still being a normal F1 star and fed myself the lie that the driver would never have to deal with things like this in real life.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on this game…
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.