Get ready for excitement on the track.
Formula 1 2018 is shaping up to be a pretty faithful racing simulator, and much like its predecessor, it feels great on the track. But unlike previous years, there’s a new story mode. The developers at Codemasters are trying to spice things up a bit in F1 2018; and though the tracks and cars still feel and run great, they wanted to add a bit of a personal perspective as well, hence the story mode. It’s possible that not all racing fans might be interested in this. Many might even be confused.
For the most part, F1 2018 is just the same as last year’s game. And like in F1 2017, everything still feels great. One of the newer features is an expanded career system. This career system implements a showmanship-style of gameplay, where the character works off of selectable dialogue while speaking to the press, that will partly determine how far they will go, and how successful their career will be. “How do you think you’ll do in your next race?” could be a possible question posed to the player, where then you have the option to answer in various ways, which can either help or hinder your career. “I’ll do my best,” could be your possible answer, in which case sponsors may pick you up and add you to their team, granting you money toward future races. “I’m the best and I’ll always be the best,” could be another example of a possible answer, where sponsors may stay away from you, and avoiding any future conflicts with an arrogant racer. There will be a maximum of four options for any given dialogue, and choosing your persona will be quite important if you want a smooth ride down the road. Some teams may be looking for a leadership role from your character, while others may be looking for a showman who can really heat up the atmosphere of a race.
Negotiation Contracts in the game are interesting. You have to actually value how much you think you’ll be worth based on what you can bring to the game. For example, you can go to your team and negotiate deals for extra money and performance in the game. Going to the team leaders and promising to achieve, say, third place at least if they offer you better deals is just one of the many ways to get up in the rankings in the game. But these deals are negotiable, and the team leaders may actually deny your request.
"Playing racing games from a first-person perspective isn’t my first choice, but that was the only option in F1 2018 on the show floor at this year’s E3. But with the racing simulator seat, it made the experience feel authentic."
Graphics-wise, F1 2018 looks incredible. Just looking at the circuits and at the draw distances, and the side views of what the world looks like beyond the track, seems very impressive. Now, there aren’t a lot of upgrades to the graphics, overhaul-wise, but smaller details try to shine through to make small but significant improvements. Fog has also been added in some tracks as backdrops, for instance, and it looks great as well. Track degradation has also improved quite a bit.
Moving on, let’s get into the layout and design of the tracks and the cars. I got a chance to drive a Formula 1 Ferrari around for a bit on the track to experience the handling. First, this game was played on a PS4, through a racing simulator, where I got to sit back in a race car-style seat, with my hands on a racing wheel, and pedals for breaking and gas. Of course, this setup looked like it cost thousands of dollars, and probably helped improve the fun of the racing substantially; so my experience would have be much different compared to others who will enjoy this game at home with a standard console controller.
Playing racing games from a first-person perspective isn’t my first choice, but that was the only option in F1 2018 on the show floor at this year’s E3. But with the racing simulator seat, it made the experience feel authentic. The car with the steering wheel felt so natural, and smooth. The suspension of the cars have been improved dramatically, so going around curves and understanding the intricacies of each turn becomes bearable, and less of a learning curve. This is definitely one of the games that should define a simulator-style game, and it shows that very much in the look and feel of just how a race car should drive.
"Graphics-wise, F1 2018 looks incredible. Just looking at the circuits and at the draw distances, and the side views of what the world looks like beyond the track, seems very impressive."
Overall, the gameplay of F1 2018 felt the same as always, tight, functional, and very realistic. And as you get into the racing and the straightaways, it becomes immediately apparent that this game was designed with the real race car drivers and/or aficionados in mind. Their valuable input over the years has definitely shaped this game into something excellent. Being an annual game, it becomes important for a series like this to show modest improvements over the years, not major ones; and it feels as though F1 2018 got it just right this year.