Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: F1 2018
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (34.2 GB)
Release Date: August 24, 2018
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), €TBD (EU), £59.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Codemasters has built upon an already fantastic game, just check out the year-old F1 2017 review if you don’t believe me. But, is this latest title worth your hard-earned cash when the last one is so good?

Gameplay:
Seeing as F1 2018 is quite similar to the last one in the series I decided to jump straight into the Time Trials and check out a few of the tracks and cars. At first glance, it all looks and feels exactly the same, and in many ways it is.

However, once I dug into the other modes and spent some more time with it I began to notice a few more things that I didn’t recall from the previous title.

I’m asked questions in what feels like an impromptu interview with multiple choice answers, all of which determine the type of person my created character slowly becomes. Do I include the team in my response or act like the pole position win was my own doing alone? As you would expect the scene is put together very well and it feels like I’m looking down a camera lens while the presenter fires off her questions.

The entire experience feels more immersive and I have a clearer understanding of what I should be doing in the lead up to getting my expensive car on the track. Once I was behind the wheel it felt like slipping into some comfy old slippers (which I don’t own) and sitting in front of a large fireplace (again, I don’t own). Codemasters didn’t mess around with what works and I quickly got into my old habits of controlling the fuel levels and telling Jeff, my digital pit crew chief, what to do.

Review: F1 2018 (PS4) Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

A quick button press and I can ask Jeff a whole host of questions pertaining to the race and vehicle conditions. I can even get him to change things or, for example, to ‘box this lap.’ It works very well and I’ve only had two miscommunications, although, in all fairness, both times occurred when I was using the PlayStation 4 Camera mic and not a more reliable headset.

There is always someone to beat in the Time Trial mode with your closest rival’s ghost automatically appearing once a lap has been completed. This is optional and all the settings can be altered, but I love the addictive nature of it and could easily spend way too much time on this mode alone. Plus, to make things fair I can quickly use my Rival’s Setup.

The difficulty setup has been simplified this time with the option of a Pro Career or adjusting the game how you see fit and then choosing the A.I. Difficulty. When completing downloadable events, for example, you will be able to see if assists are being used by other drivers and their chosen difficulty level but you’re not generally forced into a requirement.

I like that I can play the game how I wish to play it, without the idea of being penalized for not upping my difficulty level. Although, for some reason, last year I felt more of a need to push myself and go for the added realism of fewer assists and better computer-controlled players.

Most things that need explaining, like the safety car or the regulation tire setup, have a nice compact tutorial video in the pause menu. It can help any newcomers to the genre or give a brief refresher to those in the know.

Review: F1 2018 (PS4) Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

I’m very happy to see the classic F1 cars making a return to the game during the Career mode and beyond in the Championship mode. Just like last time around it still helps me to appreciate how different it was in the earlier days of the sport and how far the technology has advanced.

What sets this series apart from all of the other racing games is the fantastic Career Mode that always manages to envelop me in the world of a Formula One driver. I just wish I had the time to continue with it after this review is complete.

Visuals:
F1 2018 has never looked better. It was fantastic last time but even without a fancy HDR TV the lighting is superb and the shadows fall in a natural way across the body of the car and the track.

The trackside detail is the best I have ever seen in a racing game. I haven’t studied any of the real-life tracks but I have no doubt this game mirrors them to a ridiculous degree. The feeling of authenticity is exceptional and that’s all that matters to me.

Now, I should point out I have been playing this solely on my PS4 Pro, which means I get the 4K render downsampled to a crisp and very clear image. There is a tiny amount of screen tearing in the pit area but I should expect that to be cleared up with a patch. Where it counts, on the track, there isn’t any degradation to the image.

Review: F1 2018 (PS4) Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

Just like last year, tapping the touch pad during a race instantly pauses the game and allows you to rewind and fast forward the last section, switch between all of the views, and swivel the camera on a few of them. Using this, I was able to take some stunning pictures.

This playback feature doubles as the flashback functionality, letting you rewind and continue playing from an earlier point in time, hopefully avoiding an earlier mistake or accident.

Instantly switching between the different weather types and changing the time of day in the stunning Photo Mode helps to show off the expertly crafted game engine making it all look so effortless.

As with the older game, I’m still amazed at the realistic lighting and shadows in F1 2018. This is one of the few games that can honestly capture the majesty of a warm dusk evening in Bahrain or a cold and rainy race in Britain. The clouds and trees look much better now and give a better sense of depth as my gaze moves to the horizon, especially when the sky is overcast and the sunlight punches through.

No matter the weather or time of day everything looks superb and really helps to immerse you in the action. This series still has some of the best rain effects I have seen and the still images do not do it justice. Then, there are all of the little touches that many wouldn’t even notice. The tiny blades of grass on the worn wheels when you accidentally come off the track, to the actual grass itself not looking like a boring flat texture.

I’ve seen startled birds take flight in the distance and helicopters flying along or swinging around and then hovering in place to take in the action on the track. I’ve even witnessed a passenger plane slowly descending and making its approach to an unseen airport. All of this, combined with the next section in this review, completes the immersion like never before.

Review: F1 2018 (PS4) Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

Audio:
F1 2018 makes me want to don my headphones again and, just like last year, hear the lovely sounds of the cars, crowd, wind, and Jeff from the pit crew. Although, I also like the normal sounds from my TV and good old Jeffrey warbling on through the DualShock 4 speakers. Both are great options and the sound design is superb across the board.

During the commentary between race sessions, you can either be referred to by a nickname or just the team’s name. I did get my wish of being able to pick a nickname and while there are plenty to choose from I didn’t find one that I liked or suited me. Most are last names, like Adams, Cohen, Hussain, along with a few other monikers like Iceman and The Professor.

With any luck, maybe next year, I’ll see my name in that long list? That’s Harrington, for anyone at Codemasters reading this. Now, if you add Chazz I’ll come down to the studio and give you all a big HR approved hug.

Online/Multiplayer:
I played a few races before the game came out and had a blast. Largely because I took pole position and even lapped another person. I couldn’t see any noticeable issues or problems and thought it a better experience than the last iteration, which was already pretty solid.

From downloading a ghost in the Time Trials to embarking on a Grand Prix with random online players, everything works as expected. I urge you to try the online mode even just for a few races, the quality is great and if you don’t like the serious or crazy Mad Max style of drivers then pick the settings you prefer. The feeling of beating some real people in a friendly race is very enjoyable.

For the hardcore and old-school gamers, there is also a LAN option, that’s Local Area Network for the casual gamers. This is a great inclusion, which I’ll personally never use but I’m sure many will.

Review: F1 2018 (PS4) Review: F1 2018 (PS4)

Conclusion:
F1 2018 is worth every penny. Many aspects feel the same as last year’s game and it plays almost identically, but this one feels more refined, as if has been painstakingly tweaked and polished with loving care and attention.

The talented folks at Codemasters are still at the top of their game and F1 2018 is a testament to that. There aren’t any major changes or additions for this year so a few cash-strapped gamers could possibly hold off but I’m sure the eager racing aficionados are lapping this one up (excuse the pun).

Now it might seem odd that I’m scoring this game slightly lower than the previous game seeing as nothing is worse and all of the little improvements make this version the best so far, but I don’t want them to rest on their laurels.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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