Annual titles are always a discussion of love and hatred. On one hand many look forward to a new Formula 1, FIFA, PES, NBA, COD, and its updates while others would like these games to only receive an update with new teams, players, weapons, maps and so on.
That said, I can start this analysis of Formula 1 2019 saying that the game adds a lot of content justifying the purchase. In a sense, F1 2019 is exactly what we saw in Formula 1 2018 (I considered it as the best game ever made on the sport) and adds more content and improvements. That in mind, we have a new best sports game.
First impressions do matter!
Right away two things drew my attention when I started F1 2019 and its campaign. The first is that the menu has been completely redone and it is beautiful. I never thought I’d enjoy a menu so much, but everything is clean, well placed and easily accessible. The second highlight goes to the number of scenes that have been added in campaign mode.
With the inclusion of Formula 2, you start out as a new driver who drives alongside Lucas Weber and has Devon Butler as a rival (this aspect of the game even recalls to the great stories and interactions of NBA 2K). Soon, in the first race, you will receive an order to let Lucas pass because your car is having a mechanical issue with the turbo (you can decide to let him or not let him pass). Then you’ll have to do a recovery race because Devon hit you and got penalized for it. The last race is a quick 6-lap race which will decide the World Championship against Devon. After each race, a backstage cinematic will roll. This cinematics shows the main characters interacting and how their actions and dialogue will lead to the progress of the game.
This first impression is absolutely incredible! Add this to the addition of many scenes in the paddock, new camera angles and more. This brings the player into a whole weekend experience of Formula 1. But it’s not all flowers in the prairie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a problem, but it starts so well that you expect it to hold the quality level up to the end of the career mode. This incredible initial interaction does not exist when you choose a Formula 1 team. What happens is that eventually you will be interviewed and asked about a situation with your opponent of Formula 2. Afterward, you’ll be able to see what they’ve said about you in a little newspaper.
I believe this is a first step to doing something bigger as we see today in NBA 2K and how, most recently, we see in FIFA. A career mode with super immersive characters.
An even greater challenge in career mode
Whenever I play a new game of Formula 1, I adjust the difficulty to 80, which is the expert level. After the first races, I was already like a madman fighting for pole position and almost always leading the championship. When I was at E3 this year at Deep Silver, I talked to the director of the game Lee Mather about everything that was possible and one of the things he mentioned is how the IA is more aggressive and difficult and that he also played with the difficulty 80 and he had to lower it.
Already aware of the danger I went on to face the difficulty set at 80 and, as it is difficult it is also fun. It is very common before making the first tire exchange to participate in tense moments of dispute. Whoever accompanies Formula 1 knows that the last GP had a fierce dispute between Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in Austria.
There were 2 or 3 intense disputes. Interestingly, I went through the same situation at the British Grand Prix where I drove a Renault and Leclerc drove his Ferrari and played each lap back to back. It was normal for me to be attacked in curves that I didn’t expect to be attacked on. It was also possible to see him locking wheel and burning tire to try to overtake me giving an opportunity to make an X on it. In other words, get ready for a real fight and a much more aggressive AI.
It is interesting to say that the car fulfills its current condition, for example, it is no use to use a McLaren as I did in F1 2018 and try to fight for the podium, this will no longer happen. Then choose wisely your initial team and do the best within your capabilities. It’s normal for me to get between seventh and fifth in the races with my Renault.
Moreover, the Career mode maintains what has been built in recent years. It is very worthwhile to do the training modes (I always do all of them with the exception of the one you need to keep your tires) because the points earned can be invested in the development of your car. The reporter keeps asking you questions after the practice sessions and races and your response may influence each of the development departments, as well as your style as a runner and your reputation (not a jerk basically).
Of course, from time to time it will be possible to try to go to a new team, as it will be possible to improve your contract and gain more advantages. All these possibilities add a lot to the game!
Introduction to Formula 2
A great novelty that Codemasters brought to Formula 1 2019 was the inclusion of Formula 2, the division to access Formula 1. Initially, we only have available the 2018 season, but the developers have already promised that they will add the 2019 season for free.
As expected, Formula 2 cars are rather inferior to Formula 1, i.e. there is a need to adapt to their rhythm with a lower speed, lower braking capacity, and a different physics system. In addition, they are simpler cars, that will not have so many customization options available to them. Something to point out is that the Formula 2 championship differs greatly from that of Formula 1.
First of all, forget about the various training and grading sessions. It will be possible to make simple sessions with fewer tires available. And on the run, well, following the rules of Formula 2, are two races per track. The first is the classic race and the longest. The second has the random messy grid and is a shorter race (yes, that’s the rule of the category, I’m not inventing anything).
And in regards to the difficulty, it is very competitive, but it is a little easier than the Formula 1 mode. Something I could tell is that cars break a lot during the races. On a single race I was with Sergio Sette Camara (Brazilian driver of the category) and my teammate, Lando Norris’, car broke twice in a row.
A feast to the eye, an impeccable audio and an amazing photo mode
Little has changed here in relation to what we saw in Formula 1 2018, but I will speak quickly of each of these wonderful qualities.
Graphics are still amazing. It was possible to see a slight improvement in the tracks, however, what ends up surprising even is in the quality of all the “extras” around the track. The scenarios are more detailed, the lakes, buildings, trees, etc. are more realistic. Something cool is that the time effectively progresses while playing, the position of the sun will change and depending on the track the flare of the sun will bother you in places that were previously OK.
About the audio, applauses are deserved. The work is impeccable for both the current cars and for the F2 and the dozens of classic cars. Each has its characteristic engine roar.
Lastly, I will briefly speak of the photograph mode. It was made literally for professionals. During a race, there are hundreds of situations, disputes, curves, angles and more. Consequently, you will have several endless opportunities to take a picture. There is focus, shutter speed, ISO, sun position according to the time of day, weather and so on. If you like taking pictures, prepare to spend endless hours searching for the perfect frame.
More classic cars and Ayrton Senna from Brazil
Something that could not be left out is classic cars. In addition to all the cars present in the previous edition, we have the addition of Ferrari and McLaren of 2010, as well as the Ferrari and McLaren of 1991, piloted by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. For this particular case, the two legendary riders have been completely modeled and have a mode of their own. In this mode, you will be placed in various scenarios where you should always beat your rival. It could be a pursuit, overtake, and more. Logically I only played with Senna, because I am a fan.
It’s really fun to be able to drive all these cars that are divided into three eras to try to balance their stats, however, there may be the only problem in the game. In Formula 1 2018 I complained that the balance of the cars was far from ideal. While some were a rocket, others were a slug. And it looks like Codemasters just made a copy paste in Formula 1 2019. I remember that during a race I drove a Ferrari 2002 or 2004 and I started absurdly well reaching the first spot, however, soon after I was left behind by several cars.
I understand that balancing so many cars can’t be the easiest thing. But, already knowing this problem since last year, they should have focused on improvements. Fortunately, this breaks neither the game nor the gameplay with the classic cars. Be very wise when you choose which cars will use to compete.
So far I have spoken of a massive campaign, Formula 2 and even focused on the rivalry between Senna and Prost. So, what if I told you that this scratches only part of what’s available in the game? And I’m serious.
Among these modes, the most important is certainly the online mode that’s crowded with many options. It is possible to play a casual, ranked track and even create custom track lists with various rules settings. With the evolution of the franchise, Codemasters learned very well to make a robust online and with several options.
For those who do not enjoy playing online, the game has more than 30 championships. Those mix the current cars of Formula 1, Formula 2 and the classic cars. Each with its own style, tracks and rules. It is possible to stay hours and more hours being challenged by the championships that the developers have bolted.
And of course, there are weekly and monthly challenges that you can complete online for those who want new experiences.
And to close with a golden seal, the cherry of the cake, and so on, there is a museum option. Here you will be able to observe every detail of the car. Alongside, you can also look at its technical data, its pilot, power, speed and more.
The conclusion is short and coarse: Do you like speed? Do you like cars? Do you enjoy running at more than 300 km/h with the most modern and powerful machines in the world? If so, go and buy Formula 1 2019 now. It is the biggest and best title of the franchise made until today.
It keeps everything good that F1 2018 had. In addition, it also makes punctual improvements in addition to bringing even more content, including Formula 2! The only micro criticism is that its stats balancing for classic cars is far from perfect. However, this understandable because we are talking about more than 30 years of completely different cars.
Want something different from racing, we recommend you give Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night a shot! Here’s our review!
Courtesy of Última Ficha – Original review by Leonardo Coimbra, adapted and translated by Cristian Aguilar.