The career of a Formula 1 driver hinges on many aspects. Working your way up through the early days of Karting to reach Formula 3 takes some doing, not to mention some serious funding. But to make the step up and catch the eye of a top tier Formula 1 team requires skill, dedication and the utmost attention to detail. Even once a driver reaches the pinnacle of motorsport racing, to sustain that position, to build a career before eventually going on to cement yourself as one of the true greats of the sport, IE Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, and Prost is the biggest test a driver can face in his career and sadly one not many gracing the sport will ever achieve.
With the re-introduction of some many key features and modes, Codemasters has seemingly pulled themselves from the bystander life of a reserve driver to once more race alongside the big boys with F1 2016. The returning features, sadly lacking from predecessor F1 2015 along with the most immersive Career Mode the studio has developed to date firmly places the F1 series back on top of the racing podium and the champagne has never tasted so sweet.
F1 2016: PlayStation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Release Date: 19 August 2016
Price: £54.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
Whilst past games in the series (barring 2015) offered players the chance to take on the mantle of a budding Formula 1 driver with F1‘s Career Mode, all too often the mode has lacked depth, more of an afterthought amidst a flurry of mediocre practice sessions, thrilling qualifying sessions and the grand spectacle of race days. In truth, there is more to a driver’s career than merely stepping into the cockpit and taking to the track to showcase their skills behind the wheel, a Formula 1 driver’s career runs significantly deeper than the streets, the glitz and the glamour of F1. With a team of engineers at a driver’s disposal and an agent ready to handle the all important contract details on your behalf we finally have the backstory previous games deserved.
Upon starting out in Career Mode, players will receive their very own personal agent, a woman who will assist the driver with all their contract needs as well as relay any information from management to the player before each session, including their objectives. These requirements range from finishing above a certain driver to outracing your own teammate and always feel like they are pushing the driver on to become that much better. It is also through the use of your agent that players are offered new contracts from within the team or from other teams looking to steal you away for themselves. Of course, this is all dependent on how players perform throughout each season, with experience not necessary but always helpful.
Beyond the use of a somewhat robotic AI acting as your agent, players can also now work alongside their own development team to obtain better parts for their vehicle. This can be achieved with the use of a skill tree with various areas of performance to improve on. The likes of downforce and engine power all available for upgrade to ensure that you’re more of a prancing horse out on track then a disgruntled donkey. It seems Codemasters has finally listened to fans of the long-standing series and have come back with a most immersive and fleshed out Career experience.
Points mean Prizes
In F1 2016 points quite literally mean prizes, it’s essential to further develop your car in order to withstand the force of other competing teams and stay ahead of the pack. The mundane, chore that is F1’s practice sessions now have new meaning, with objectives strung out across a race weekend that will offer players the points needed to better develop their own car, provided of course that they can pass each test. With performance tests that will have players attempting to stay on the racing line in order to hit combo gates while making sure that DRS (Drag Reduction Speed) is activated through the correct zones to managing the heat of the tyres to ensure that optimal temperature is reached throughout a lap, the once arduous and quite frankly boring sessions now feel reinvigorated and exciting to participate in for once, with emphasis on gaining points a must, they are now unavoidable but for all the right reasons.
With a serious lack of depth ultimately bogging down Codemasters previous attempts to portray an enthralling Career Mode, it’s refreshing to see the DiRT developer build a more thorough and filled out mode, one that draws players away from the high octane driving on track to give them a better insight into the daily routine of a Formula 1 driver. With its development skill tree, Career Mode finally feels like something you have to earn rather than something simply handed to you on a silver plate, a mode where players will have to strive to master all of its objectives. Every session now takes on greater significance and meaning, with attention to detail key to surviving the harsh environments of Formula 1 life.
The Formula 1 Sky Sports commentary team of David Croft and Anthony Davidson minus Martin Brundle return to add further authenticity to what is an already a well-reflected series. Sadly, like your much-beelined agent, the real-life duo feel far too robotic and scripted, often regurgitating the same lines which will gradually grain on players after the first few occasions. Out on track players now have full access a variety of driver communication options, which can be readily accessed with the flick of a shoulder button bringing up a menu. As inventive as it is to have full access to an array of information direct from your race engineer, paying attention to a visibly small menu while careering around the tight corners of Montecarlo can see you wind up in a tyre wall or spinning into another car on a wet track. On the other hand, players have the option to inform their engineer to politely shut if you can locate the page that particular prompt is on without leaving the track at high speed.
F1 2016 offers players a range of different modes to experience away from Career Mode. In terms of single player additions, Time Trial is available once more, enticing players to race around any one of the twenty-one amazing tracks on offer in a mode where time is of the essence and speed and precision is fundamental, Quick Race does exactly what it says on the tin, allowing players to jump straight into a race while forgoing the trials and tribulations of practice or qualifying sessions. From the breathtaking streets of Montecarlo to the desert of Abu Dabhi, Championship Mode sees players able to race as established F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and the like through a gruelling and physically demanding full calendar race season. Single player aside, those looking to step outside the comfort of single play can venture online with its usual no-nonsense thrills,
Single player aside, those looking to step outside the comfort of single play can venture online with its usual no-nonsense thrills, spills and obligatory carnage as players compete against one another to be the best driver online across single races and online championships.
Undoubtedly the best title in the series, F1 2016 is as visually gorgeous as it has ever been, with attentive detail put into every aspect of the sport. For all fans of motorsport and Formula 1 in general, F1 2016 is a real joy to experience, with an immersive Career Mode that allows players to truly feel that they are building a promising career as a Formula 1 driver along with a new points system to assist with the development of the driver’s car, Career Mode finally has some depth to it and will be a major selling point upon release. Combining both Career Mode with returning modes leaves F1 2016 feeling more like a game worthy of such a prestigious sport, even if you have to look past the arbitrary characters such as your agent and poor old Crofty.
- The most immersive Career Mode in the series
- Beautiful depth of detail for almost every aspect
- Differing single player and online modes offer something new outside Career Mode
- A truly authentic gameplay experience
- Skill Tree points system and Career objectives are great
- Characters feel too robotic
- Lack op Co-Op Play or Classic Mode