F1 24 Review – Career Driver

Codemasters' flagship racing sim delivers an enjoyable new Career experience, even if its handling changes leave something to be desired.

Posted By | On 28th, May. 2024

F1 24 Review – Career Driver

It’s always impressive to me that for as much money goes into Formula One racing, from R&D and PR teams to pit crews and an expensive presentation, the on-road experience can come off as abjectly frightening. You’re behind the wheel of a vehicle capable of up to 1,000 horsepower, which can glide around corners and achieve absurd speeds, but brake too early, and you could face a pile-up. Slightly misjudge the distance from a corner, and your front wheel could pop clean off.

Codemasters’ F1 24 embodies that, but also captures the main appeal of the sport – the exhilaration and feeling of nearly unstoppable power when things do go in your favor.

While a new title is inevitable at this time of year, the development team’s ability to keep iterating on last year’s formula is always impressive. However, F1 24 significantly changes the driving, from the handling to the aerodynamics and tyre model. They’re easy to embrace on a controller – perhaps somewhat too easy.

"When I first started, F1 24’s handling felt very responsive. Considering my last trip with the series was with F1 22, it was a significant step up. However, with more time, it felt off…"

When I first started, F1 24’s handling felt very responsive. Considering my last trip with the series was with F1 22, it was a significant step up. However, with more time, it felt off – like more of an arcade racer than a sim, especially when hitting curbs or braking before corners and accelerating. After heading into the assists and turning off multiple settings, I tried again and still had that vague arcade-like feeling. This led to a custom setup that reduced the anti-roll bars to as low as possible, increased the front ride height to near maximum and the rear to the minimum and messed with the camber.

The result is something weightier but with far better performance. I struggled in the new Driver Career, hitting 17th place on laps with the default High-Speed setup. Upon switching to this custom tuning, I managed to get sixth place. Sure, I was still behind my teammate and rival George Russell – I’m still ahead in the Driver Ratings, so chew on that, George – but it marked a massive improvement over my previous performance.

With a controller, the default setup isn’t the worst thing in the world and might be appreciated for its responsiveness. Nevertheless, the custom tuning felt weightier and more realistic without taking away that sheer sense of terror and exhilaration described earlier. Regardless, how Codemasters addresses this at launch and after will be interesting.

Another thing to note is the AI. Setting it to 50, still within the Medium range, saw my opposing drivers making little to no mistakes while I was struggling to keep pace in Driver Career. The custom setup improved things, more handily beating the majority and providing more competitive races. However, one issue seemingly kept occurring when receiving the new engineer objectives.

F1 24_02

"Of course, there is plenty else to like about the new Driver Career. Instead of a story mode like Braking Point, you can now select a real-life Formula One driver and progress through Career Mode with them."

These objectives range from keeping your fuel consumption below a specified amount when you’re burning through it too fast, reaching the next position if you’re stuck in the current for an extended time, or avoiding damage to the front wing if you already nicked it.

It’s the last one that really grinds my gears – the few times this objective appeared, the AI suddenly shot ahead, almost like they wanted me to damage my front wing now that they were conveniently upfront. Once is a coincidence, twice is a pattern – anything else, and they’re out to get me. Otherwise, I enjoyed the engineer objectives as they spiced up a race in ways that directly correlated to my performance.

Of course, there is plenty else to like about the new Driver Career. Instead of a story mode like Braking Point, you can now select a real-life Formula One driver and progress through Career Mode with them. This refreshes the usual experience of accumulating resources each week, commissioning parts from R&D, hiring Specialists and completing their goals (like taking no damage in a Race Weekend or completing five laps), and so on. Each driver has a unique rating, while their team specializes in different R&D departments from the start.

They also have unique Accolades to work towards that tie into their careers since they can enhance stats, EXP earned, etc. Not that the custom drivers are left out – they can earn Accolades and partake in new secret meetings with other teams. Tension can build if your current team finds out, yet the danger of it all – and the chance for a potentially better offer – is enticing.

Refusing is also viable if you don’t want to risk losing Recognition with your team. Determined by how well you perform, especially compared to your teammate, the latter influences who gets the first pick of secret R&D upgrades (while lowering the chances of upgrades failing). Otherwise, you still have the Practice Sessions to learn the track and gain Development Boosts upon fulfilling specific goals. The option to quickly practice the remaining sessions and unlock these without having to race at the risk of failing the objectives is still as welcome. From there, it’s Qualifying, and off to the Grand Prix, where you battle for supremacy.

F1 24_04

"You also unlock Goals, where completing specific long-term objectives provides rewards. There’s also the Fanzone, where you can pledge to a team and a driver alongside other players."

If you seek a different type of campaign, there’s Challenge Career, offering separate episodes of a real-world driver based on their life. These are available on multiple difficulties for a chance at the leaderboards. It’s a quicker take on Driver Career, so while you have more resources for commissioning additional parts at R&D, the reduced length of the career makes those choices all the more vital.

F1 World also returns this year, delivering multiple new series of races, solo events – from Arcade and Time Trial to more demanding challenges – and multiplayer. Think of it as a Car-PG-style mode, where completing races earns cash, Insight and “loot” like improved brakes, wings, etc.

You can then upgrade these to improve performance or scrap them for resources. Various Specialists and sponsors can also be discovered and contracted to provide unique passive effects (like reduced upgrade costs or more money earned from races). However, you can only bring on a limited number. Dismissing a Specialist’s contract also means you lose their benefits for all future events.

You also unlock Goals, where completing specific long-term objectives provides rewards. There’s also the Fanzone, where you can pledge to a team and a driver alongside other players. All your activities in F1 World go towards completing its objectives, earning you Fan Points and other rewards like cash for upgrades. Nothing too complex at the moment, but it’s an optional way to support your favorites and receive rewards.

The objective of F1 World, like any action RPG looter, is to grind events, increase your level (i.e. Tech Level) by earning better items, partake in tougher races, and rinse repeat. It’s still possible to out-level some events, thus negating their challenge, but the mode still provides a fun distraction and contributes to your Podium Pass progression. Like last year, you can acquire cosmetics for your avatar with PitCoin, like shirts, pants, hats, and Podium emotes.

F1 24_03

"As an overall package, F1 24 is worth checking out for many of the previously stated reasons. However, if you’re skeptical or still devoted to last year’s game, waiting for further iteration is advised."

Despite some odd screen-tearing in cutscenes and odd dithering shadows in the grid reveal for Driver Career, the visuals and presentation in F1 24 are pretty good. The broadcast angles, especially when taking a Formation Lap in the rain, highlight the realistic weather effects and animations while offering solid performance during races.

Even the drivers look much better than last year, approaching ever closer to resembling their real-world counterparts. Your enjoyment of the music and Elena, your agent, may vary. The voice acting comes across well for the latter – it’s the dialogue that feels a bit too cheesy sometimes. The commentary and radio chatter from the crew are spot-on, though engine noises can vary.

F1 24 is an interesting predicament for Codemasters. On the one hand, it delivers some compelling new Driver Career and Challenge Career modes with fresh wrinkles. F1 World may not be for everyone, but dipping in for some time trials and whatnot can be fun if you don’t want to commit to the grind. The tracks, presentation and AI (for the most part) are also pretty solid.

However, the handling changes aren’t quite there, even if you’re playing on a controller. It also needs more polish when considering the visual issues and some engine sound effects. As an overall package, F1 24 is worth checking out for many of the previously stated reasons. However, if you’re skeptical or still devoted to last year’s game, waiting for further iteration is advised.

This game was reviewed on PS5.


THE GOOD

Excellent presentation and visuals, from the car models and weather effects to the driver models. Commentary and crew chatter is on point, as always. Various new features and the ability to play as F1 drivers offer a fresh new Career experience. F1 World can be involving for those seeking an RPG-style progression system.

THE BAD

Handling changes are odd and take getting used to. Screen-tearing and dithering shadows in certain cutscenes. Specific conversations can have cheesy dialogue. AI can be a little iffy on certain engineer objectives.

Final Verdict:
GREAT
F1 24 could have been the ideal follow-up to last year had its handling not been radically revamped. However, as it stands, it's still a compelling racing sim with fun Career Modes and a strong presentation.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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