Tag Archives: F1 2017

F1 2017 Review

F1 2017 is the latest instalment of the extremely popular Formula 1 racing game that has been under the steady custodial arm of Codemasters since their first game back in 2010. I’m a keen player of racing games but over the last few years my time has been devoted solely to the Forza series – in my opinion that franchise has nailed the racing genre. Will F1 2017 do enough to prise me away? especially with Forza Motorsport 7 imminently arriving on the Xbox One X – is it even fair to compare the two, seeing as they are quite different beasts?

F1 2017 is a really polished racing game, which looks beautiful on the Xbox One. But it is not just a racing game, it is much more than that. For every lap raced there are a multitude of strategic decisions leading up to it. And a skill tree to rival even the most complicated RPG. It’s a strange mash-up of the two.

My immediate thought when tasked with this review was that F1 games are too long. Too laboured. With a short window of gaming time, how do you complete a Grand Prix weekend, with all the practices and qualifying? Not to mention the incredibly long race. Well Codemasters have thought of everything and created a number of game modes to satisfy both the casual player and the F1 superfan.

The game mode that Codemasters have put the most time into improving is the Career mode, which is where I will spend much of this review. However, there are also game modes where you can race single races, compete in special events and race for the best lap in time trials. There is also an online multiplayer mode, which I have not had the chance to test due to limited players online before the official release dates, so the lobbies were empty. The inclusion of the much publicised classic cars comes into its own here, as they can all be played in these modes, whereas in Career they only pop up in invitational events.

Career mode is where the most hardened racing gamer will spend their time. And rightly so. It has all the features you might expect. At the beginning you will pick your driver (male and female choices are there), choose your helmet and the team you want to drive for. All teams are open at the start, so picking Ferrari will put pressure on you to win races and championships immediately, whilst picking a less successful team will have your objectives set a little lower. I picked Williams, as I have personally been lucky enough to visit their UK headquarters and see the wonderful museum there, so I have a certain affinity for them. My objectives were to finish 7th in the championship, and to finish 5th in each race, whilst also finishing ahead of William’s other driver.

Where Codemasters have added to F1 2017 is the inclusion of cut scenes involving you, your agent and engineer, amongst others, to tell your story within the game. This should have had the effect of making career mode more cinematic and therefore more engaging, but for me it had the opposite effect, as the cut-scenes took me out of the action. Within these cut scene locations was your own desk and laptop, with the latter being your entry to the menus. To be honest I could have done without this, and would have been happier with just a dialogue screen and a menu. The cut-scenes before and after races don’t change much either, the drivers may change but I have seen the same podium cut-scene time and time again.

The main feature of Career mode is the race weekend, and this is highly customisable, with the ability to set session lengths, qualifying type and race length. At all times, the preset felt like the right choice, but you could also choose to complete in a full length race of 50+ laps. One of the most important features is the difficulty slider that allows a choice between 0-100, not just Easy, Medium, Hard, etc. If you’re set at 50 and finding it just a bit too hard, you can knock down to 45, instead of a massive jump from medium to easy, allowing you to find that point where the difficulty is just right for you.

So, if you’re like me, you want to race, I mean, that’s why we play these games right? But personally the thought of first taking part in three practice sessions is a real turn-off. But in F1 2017 it’s not. Codemasters have included objectives within these sessions, which in turn teaches you how to better manage your car. For example, one of these objectives is to manage tyre wear, which requires you to complete laps in a certain time, whilst keeping an on-screen bar away from the red zone. Taking corners too aggressively moves the bar into the red. Completing these objectives earns you research points, and these research points is where the skill tree comes into action. This makes the practice sessions more vital to take seriously, as it’s a main driver in improving your car.

The skill tree is essentially your suite of car upgrades. If you know about car stuff (I don’t) you can pick and choose which elements you want to improve, or you can take recommended upgrades (like me). These will take a few races to be researched and developed and can sometimes fail. Now, I think it would take some kind of genius (maybe you would have to be an F1 engineer) to understand all of this incredibly complicated car stuff, but the choice is there if you want to delve in and get your hands dirty.

Now, I need to talk about how incredibly brutal this game is. It’s an F1 simulation. It follows all the rules and regulations of the sport. If you crash, or you have an engine malfunction, there are no restarts, no “Y” button to press to rewind time so you can avoid taking that corner too fast. I will give you an example.

I’m on race four in Russia. I have won my last two races after finishing 5th in the first. I am buzzing. Race two was won by mere seconds, as I ran out of fuel approaching the finish line. I learnt at that point that I drive aggressively and use too much fuel, so now before the race I increase the amount of fuel in the car when setting my strategy. The practice sessions in Russia were a disaster. I was plagued with engine and gearbox issues. I couldn’t hit my objective times. So before practice session three I changed my engine, as you are allowed five to last the season. I also planned to change the gearbox, but as it’s supposed to last six races I would endure a grid penalty for doing so. I went into session three and again the gearbox was missing gears, so I made the executive decision to do it. With the car fixed up I qualified in pole, but due to the penalty I had to start in sixth.

Not a problem I thought, but when it came to race day it was hammering it down. This dynamic weather is a new feature of F1 2017. It is extremely unpredictable. This meant I needed a whole new strategy. The race started, I had the racing line heading into turn one, and Max Verstappen took me out completely. Now, I want to make it clear that it wasn’t a dodgy AI that caused the crash, as it was the only example of that kind of thing. In fact the AI seemed to be pretty clever, especially on situations where you are braking late, on the inside to overtake on a corner. If you have that racing line they will back off. If you don’t they will take it ahead of you, causing you to crash into them, and you will be penalised for it!

I then had a damaged nose cone, but I could still drive, so I had to drive one lap with virtually no downforce, but I made it to the pits. My crew patched me up and sent me on my way. 30 seconds behind in 19th place. I finished the race in 10th after some quite extraordinary driving.

But that’s F1! That’s what happens week in, week out in the real championship. So this game is realistic, brutal and amazingly tense. I knew at every point during that race that I wasn’t going to win. But it was still a challenge and still fun. I felt as if restarting the session was cheating, so I refused to. Crashing and damaging your car will also have a realistic outcome, with your car being out of action whilst repairs are being made.

I can’t fault F1 2017. Is it as good as Forza? I’m not going there, as it’s not trying to be that kind of game. It’s a simulation of Formula 1. And on that criteria it smashes it out of the park. And I can’t wait to see it running on Xbox One X, where it’s already been confirmed as being enhanced for Microsoft’s new console. It’s beautiful on the Xbox One, so it’ll be even better on the X.

If you like racing games, and if you really like F1 and all its intricacies, then just go and buy this game. You will not regret that decision.

Thanks to Koch Media for supporting TiX

TiX Talks – Interview with Codemasters F1 2017 Creative Director – Lee Mather

F1 2017 from Codemasters is due for release on 25th August 2017. At the launch event last week in London, TiX was lucky enough to interview the franchise’s Creative Director, Lee Mather.

TiX – So Lee, all of us at TiX have day jobs to pay the mortgage, and we run TiX in our free time. If making the F1 2107 game was your hobby, what would your day job be?

Lee Mather – I would love my day job to be a racing driver! When I was at school my only considerations were that I wanted to do something with computers or something with cars. When I left school at 16, I did a very short stint training as a mechanic. I also did a very short stint looking after IT in a garage so I could tick both boxes!  Then I went straight into Q&A for Elite Systems testing video games, and one of the very first games I worked on was a racing game for the SNES called Dirt Racer, which was my introduction to the industry and straight away it was cars and computers combined! So obviously at this point I would still love to go off and be a racing driver because it’s just the best thing in the world ever!

TiX – So at this point in time F1 2017 is finished, are you already thinking about F1 2018 and where do you start? What’s the process you go through at this point when you’ve put so much effort into the current game?

LM – We started thinking about F1 2018 2 years ago! We’ve always got a plan for the future as you would never put a bunch of new features in one year without a roadmap for the way you want to take them. Even a brand new IP would always have a future plan for where any features will go, because you wouldn’t want to do a pile of work and then have to throw it all away in the next game. Even if its a game that never makes it past it’s very first iteration and there’s only ever one version of it released. you’ve always got a plan thats far further reaching than just one game. Also you can’t expect to get funding for a massive project without an idea of where you can go in the future.

TiX – What input from game features do you get from F1? I assume you have a very close relationship with them.

LM – We go to them with what we think would make a compelling experience. We meet up and present it, then we get feedback and then we’ll take it from there, We have built such great confidence since we started working with them in 2008. We’ve got a great relationship they know how we work and they understand how the game comes about and what’s required. There is a lot of trust between us.

TiX – Have you ever pitched something to them that they’ve refused?

LM – There’s always things that are restricted that are unrealistic in the F1 world but a good example of things that we’ve been allowed to do over the years is F1 Race Stars. Who would have thought years ago that we would have been able to make a cartoon racing game based on F1, with caricatures of the cars and drivers! That was brilliant and just goes to show you how open everyone is to new ideas.

TiX – The UK has got a really great track record of developing brilliant racing games. Which ones have inspired you and which ones have scared you?

LM – I can take inspiration from all racing games as I play a lot of them! I l played Gran Turismo to death and was a huge fan of it in the early PS1 days. Then when we moved on to the 360 generation I really started to gel with Forza and I played a lot of that! I also enjoyed Project Cars and Forza Horizon and people were saying “I can’t believe you play a lot of Forza Horizon because you like F1!” I respond by saying sometimes I want to kick back, put my feet up, listen to the awesome soundtrack and drive around the countryside. And then I’ll go and play Formula 1 for an hour! I love a mixture of all racing games. Codemasters have also just released Micro Machines and I’ll play that in the evening if I don’t feel like anything too intense. There’s such a wide range of racing games out there and the rest of this year is going to be insane.

TiX – Forza Horizon 7 is upcoming and obviously it’s going to be released on the Xbox One X.  How is F1 2017 progressing on the X?

We have already been demo’ing the Xbox One X version of the game. We ran it for the first time in public at E3 and what we’ve been able to achieve is awesome! We’ve made quite a significant improvement across the board for rendering on all of the platforms. Xbox One is already running 1080p 60 fps where it wasn’t full 1080p last year. There’s also HDR support on Xbox One S, Xbox One X, PS4 and PS4 Pro. We’ve also got checkerboard 4K on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, along with improved quality of the visuals. So there’s a better quality to things like shadows, mirrors and reflections. We have really been able to capitalise on the increase in performance and get closer to a PC experience on console.

TiX – Codemasters recently acquired Evolution Studios. What’s the status with that team, because obviously they did Driveclub? Have they been brought into your F1 dev team or are they working on something new that you’re probably not going to tell me about?

LM – They have an entirely new IP.

TiX – When are we going to hear about that?

LM – I’d be surprised if it was this year! I suspect it’ll be sometime in the new year maybe, They’ve got a project and it’s all looking good.

TiX – Moving on to talk about you. In your opinion what’s the best game ever made?

LM – You know what? I can actually categorically give you one!  Maybe it’s rose tinted spectacles and it’s also probably a game I’ll never go back and play again, just in case I taint it!  But it’s Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the N64. It was perfect. It was pure and it was innocent. The gameplay was simple, there were none of the complex mechanics present that have been brought into games in recent years. It was just pure.

TiX – The first game I’ve ever played that opened my eyes to video games was Paperboy on the ZX Spectrum and we’re probably going back 35 years! Which game first opened your eyes to how videogames are special, and made you think that’s what I want to do?

LM – That’s a tough one! When I was younger I had a ColecoVision and it had games such as the perfect arcade conversion of Donkey Kong, but nothing in that area ever grabbed me and made me think “That’s what I want to do”. There were however a lot of games from the Amiga era and I would probably say Batman was really important to me. I could play it almost blindfolded so that was a really special game. I also remember F17 Interceptor which came with the console. I used to play Pinball Dreams competitively with my dad and that was always fun, but probably the biggest influence for me was The Secret of Monkey Island. I just thought it was fantastic. Everything about it was brilliant, especially the characters and the story. Then when Monkey Island 2 came out it was off the scale! So that, oh, and obviously Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix!

TiX – One of the most impressive places I’ve ever been in my day job was actually the Williams F1 headquarters on work expenses and visiting the museum there. Where’s the most impressive place you’ve ever visited on Codemasters expenses?

I’m not sure about a place, but experience wise there’s been quite a few! But I always go back to SPA (F1 Grand Prix) in 2010, filming with Lewis Hamilton in the hospitality at McLaren. That’s the one that still stands out to me because it was the first one and it was such a big thing when we first got the rights to the game. So that was something special!

TiX – If you wished you’d made any game which game would that be?

LM – Recently it’s probably Forza Horizon! There’s just something special about that game, it’s a good balance between serious driving and fun.

TiX – Is there an established IP that’s out there in the market that you’ve had an idea for, or you think you could improve?

I’d love to answer that but it’s a Codemasters game! So, if I gave you an idea of what it would be it would obviously give someone else my idea that I don’t want them to have!

TiX – Finally, what are you currently playing, when you’re not playing F1 2017?

LM – On the train on the way down today I was playing Sonic, but I had a bit of a gaming drought after Zelda because how do you top it? Then I couldn’t decide what to play so I slipped back into Black Ops 3 online which led me to the campaign on Modern Warfare 2 Remastered on veteran. After that I was craving more of that kind of game, so at the weekend I started the five hour trial of Ghost Recon Wildlands and bought it when I was only four hours in because I was enjoying it so much! I also dipped into Forza Motorsport 6 because I felt like playing some of the Porsche content. So, I do really play a wide range of games!

Many thanks to Lee for taking the time to speak to TiX, given his incredibly busy schedule in promoting F1 2017 ahead of its launch on August 25th. Keep watching TiX for the full review coming later this week!

For more information on the game you can watch the TiX video of the first 15 minutes of the career mode below.

The official website can be found here, and you can find them on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

F1 2017 will perform better on Xbox One X

Today I was very lucky to interview Codemasters Creative Director Lee Mather, and asked him about his thoughts on the performance of F1 2017 on the Xbox One X.

Lee stated that “The Xbox One X version has already been publicly shown at E3 earlier this year, and what weve been able to achieve is awesome. The Xbox One version is running at 1080p 60fps which it wasn’t on F1 2016, there is HDR support on Xbox One S and Xbox One X, and we have checkerboard 4K 60fps on the X with improved visuals on things like shadowing, mirrors and reflections on the car. We have really been able to capitalise on the increase in performance of the Xbox One X and get closer to a PC experience”.

Keep watching This Is Xbox for more from our interview with Lee, plus we will have a video of the first 15 minutes of the career mode and the review itself coming before the release date of August 25th.

A new trailer has also been released with new gameplay footage of what you can expect to be doing in F1 2017. I also had a hands-on today play test and its looking mighty fine indeed! There are a bunch of new features in this years iteration, which are below!

MASSIVELY EXPANDED CAREER:
Players can make history as they hone their skills and develop their car over multiple seasons in the Career. First they create their driver by selecting from a range of avatars, including female drivers for the first time, helmet design (including community created versions), race number and then the team they want to begin their career with. The Research & Development system is heavily expanded, with 115 upgrades now available, while the player also has to manage their engine and gearbox. Earn resource points by taking part in new Practice Programmes including ‘Fuel Management’ and ‘Race Pace’. The classic cars also take centre stage in the enhanced career mode as players are invited to race them in the new Invitational events.

NEW ‘CHAMPIONSHIPS’ MODE AND GAMEPLAY TYPES:
Championship mode allows players to experience unique race events following different rules and structures from the official Championship in both modern and classic cars. For example, the Classic Street Series sees you race the iconic cars around the six streets circuits on the calendar.

NEW CLASSIC F1 CARS:
Get behind the wheel of 12* iconic F1 cars from the history of the sport. The classic cars are also integrated into the career mode, and can be raced in both Single Class and Multi Class Races. Players can race the following cars:
1995 Ferrari 412 T2
2002 Ferrari F2002
2004 Ferrari F2004
2007 Ferrari F2007
1988 McLaren MP4/4* – (DLC car in F1 2017 Special Edition)
1991 McLaren MP4/6
1998 McLaren MP4-13
2008 McLaren MP4 -23
1992 Williams FW14B
1996 Williams FW18
2006 Renault R26
2010 Red Bull Racing RB6

ALTERNATIVE TRACK LAYOUTS:
As well as the 20 official 2017 circuits, there are four additional shortened track layouts in the game for the first time: Britain, Bahrain, USA and Japan. Players can also race the stunning Monaco circuit at night.

ENHANCED MULTIPLAYER:
Race either the modern or classic cars online with a full grid of 20 players in both public and private sessions. The game now offers two dedicated “spectator” spots as well as improved multiplayer matchmaking, new online stats and levelling system, and all multiplayer session types.

 

F1 2017 releases new trailer featuring McLaren young driver Lando Norris

McLaren Young Driver Lando Norris recently test drove a host of his team’s classic F1 cars, as well as the striking MCL32 from this year’s championship, in F1 2017, the official videogame of the 2017 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™. Codemasters® and Koch Media have today released a new trailer which showcases Norris taking on the new Japan Short circuit and talking about how each of the cars feels to drive.

The exciting young driver, just 17, recently took part in the official FORMULA ONE testing at the Hungaroring, setting the second fastest time behind World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.

“Getting behind the wheel for the first time was a really great feeling – after my test in the 2017 car in Hungary, I’m happy to confirm that these cars are much faster and more intense to drive, and that really comes across in the new game,” commented Norris. “I think people are going to have a lot of fun driving the new breed of Grand Prix car in F1 2017.”

He continued: “It was also a really nice experience to get to re-live several chapters of McLaren’s past by driving classic cars from 1988, 1991, ’98 and 2008, each representing a world championship success for the team. The 2008 title-winning car has tons of downforce, and is a lot of fun to throw about. The heritage cars are really the icing on the cake.”

In addition to all the official teams, cars, drivers and circuits from the current scintillating season, F1 2017 features 12* classic cars from McLaren, Ferrari, Williams, Renault and Red Bull Racing. There are also four brand new shortened circuits in Britain, Bahrain, USA and Japan as well as the chance to race around the famous Monaco street circuit at night. F1 2017 releases onto PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC (DVD and via Steam) worldwide on August 25th.

 

Final classic cars revealed in F1 2017

The final classic cars have been announced for F1 2017, more details about them can be found below.

1988 McLaren MP4/4 – as driven by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna during the 1988 Formula 1™ season. The Honda-powered MP4/4 is one of the most iconic and dominant Formula One cars ever built, winning all but one race (15 out of 16) and claiming all but one pole position in the 1988 season. It was the car that powered Senna to his first world championship title.

1991 McLaren MP4/6 – During the 1991 season, this was driven by the then reigning World Champion Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger, and was considered by some to be the most competitive car ever at the time, taking eight wins and ten pole positions, and scored 148 points, with Senna winning his third and final world championship title.

1998 McLaren MP4-13 – In the 1998 F1™ season the MP4-13 was driven by Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard and again proved to be the dominant car of the season, with Häkkinen winning his first Drivers’ Championship, and McLaren’s securing their first constructor’s title since 1991.

2008 McLaren MP4-23 – the MP4-23 was driven by Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in the 2008 season, and is notable for being the car in which Hamilton won his first World Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion at the Brazilian Grand Prix by overtaking Toyota’s Timo Glock on the final corner of the final lap of the final grand prix of the season, to claim the required 5th-place finish and win the Drivers’ title by a single point from Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, and become at the time the youngest driver ever to win the title.

F1 2017 races onto the Xbox on August 25.

F1 2017 New Trailer featuring F1 driver Max Verstappen

Codemasters and Koch Media have released a new trailer for F1 2017. The trailer showcases Max Verstappen playing F1 2017 in the stunning ‘Hall of Fame’ at Red Bull Racing Headquarters in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, ahead of the 2017 F1 Rolex British Grand Prix at the iconic Silverstone circuit.

In a first for the Codemasters F1 videogame series, in addition to all of the twenty official 2017 circuits being present in the new game, F1 2017 will also include four shortened circuit variations, including ‘Silverstone Short’, on which Max Verstappen drove the 2017 Red Bull Racing RB13 and also the classic 2010 Red Bull Racing RB6 during his time with the new game recently.

Max said of his experience playing the new F1 2017 game: “I really like the game and it is a lot more fun to drive with the new cars. The graphics are a lot better, they’ve made the cars more realistic, and that’s always good. I like the detail on the classic cars involved and it’s always nice to drive those old legendary cars. I think it’s a great game, it’s definitely a lot of fun to play.”

In the trailer Verstappen also comments on how the two cars feel to him compared to his real life experiences: “The 2017 RB13 feels really good in the game, with the extra grip, from the new 2017 car designs as well as from the wider tyres, resulting in faster cornering speeds which require more precision. In comparison, the classic RB6 is lighter, with a slower top speed, and later braking, and of course the biggest stand out being the sound of the engine.”

In the trailer Verstappen approaches the Silverstone Short circuit in trademark fashion, and sets a new fastest lap! The four shortened circuit variations are available in all game modes, and can be raced with either the 2017 or the classic cars.

F1 2017 will release onto Xbox One on August 25th 2017.

F1 2017 announces Williams Cars as their next Classic Racers

Williams has become the latest racing team to have classic cars replicated in F1 2017 which is coming from Codemasters on August 25th 2017. The two cars announced are:

  • 1992 Williams FW14B – Driven by Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese during the 1992 Formula 1 season, the FW14B was the dominant car in which Mansell won the Drivers’ Championship, with a then record breaking nine wins in the season.
  • 1996 Williams FW18 – The most successful car of the 1996 season, winning 12 of the 16 races, with Damon Hill triumphing eight times to Jacques Villeneuve’s four, winning Hill the Drivers’ Championship title, and Williams the Constructors’ Championship.

This brings the total number of classic cars in F1 2017 up to 8 (as below), with 4 more still to be announced.

  • 1988 McLaren MP4/4
  • 1992 Williams FW14B
  • 1995 Ferrari 412 T2
  • 1996 Williams FW18
  • 2002 Ferrari F2002
  • 2004 Ferrari F2004
  • 2007 Ferrari F2007
  • 2010 Red Bull Racing RB6

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, Williams Racing said: “The FW14B is one of our most iconic cars and one of my personal favourites. With Nigel Mansell behind the wheel, it was a force to be reckoned with and provided one of our greatest eras as a team in Formula One. The FW18 of 1996 is statistically our most successful ever car, winning 12 out of 16 races, six of which were one-two finishes, on our way to securing the Constructors’ title. We are delighted that these cars are being included in this year’s new F1 game for 2017. It is a special year for us as we celebrate our 40th anniversary, so a perfect moment to celebrate two cars that we are so proud of at Williams. We hope that gamers will love driving them as they remember some great moments from the history of our sport.”

Red Bull Racing RB6 revealed as next iconic car in F1 2017

 

Red Bull Racing RB6 revealed as next iconic car in F1 2017

Following the recent announcement by Codemasters® and Koch Media of F1™ 2017, the official videogame of the 2017 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™, that the game will include the return of classic F1 cars to the series, as well as an even deeper career mode, numerous multiplayer enhancements, and a brand new ‘Championships’ game mode, Codemasters today unveiled the 2010 Red Bull Racing RB6 as the fourth classic F1 car that will feature in the game. F1 2017 will release onto Xbox One on August 25th 2017.

The Red Bull Racing RB6 was a dominant car in 2010, with nine wins, fifteen pole positions and six fastest laps. Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing said: “The RB6 is our first Championship winning car, and as such is very special to us. 2010 was a dream year for Red Bull Racing, to achieve our ambition and to do so in such a compelling and dominant fashion was a fitting testament to the car, the drivers and commitment of the team. We are delighted the RB6 is included in the new F1 game as a classic car, it’s certainly a classic to us and I’m sure gamers will love driving it and trying to recreate those golden moments on track.”

Consumers who pre-order or purchase ‘Day One’ copies of F1 2017 will have exclusive access to the iconic 1988 McLaren MP4/4, as part of the ‘F1 2017 Special Edition.’ Alternatively, the McLaren MP4/4 car will be available to be purchased at a later date. The eleven other classic cars are available in all editions of the game.