F1 2016 Review – PC
F1 2016 is the latest entry in Codemasters titular formula one racing series, and for many it is an answer to last years entry which received a mediocre response at best. Codemasters have done their best to answer all the questions and complaints people had with the former title, but have they succeeded?
F1 2016 has a number of different modes, including time trials, single races, multiplayer and a career mode. These annual titles have to put a lot of content into the game in order to keep a player interested for a whole year, and I believe they have succeeded this time. The career mode is the main attraction, and it is really well done. Sports game career modes have become something of a parody in recent years, featuring ridiculous taglines and stories that make no sense, and adding features that nobody wants whilst taking away from the core mechanics. Codemasters have done a good job in focusing on what a player would want, giving them lots of control over how they want to play and how they want the season to be laid out. The season is split up into weekends, in which you can perform practice runs on the tracks, qualifiers, races, modify your car, sort out your strategy, look up player rankings and a multitude of other options that just baffle a non-gearhead like myself. It’s clear they have focused on their core demographic, people who are fans of formula one, and they should love the freedom of control found in the game. It’s fun and exciting to try and top the table over a season, but it can be very difficult. There are certain mechanics involved which take away from the experience slightly, such as player rivalries, team expectations and an agent, which although they are an attempt at making the game more realistic by having you feel more like a driver under pressure to perform, it does make it less fun if you aren’t very good at the game. It’s possible to get kicked off your team and have to find another, which nobody really wants. That being said, some players might enjoy this level of challenge, so whether this is a plus or a negative is really down to you as a gamer.
The races itself are where the game shines. They are fast and intense, just like how a formula one race should feel. They are also very hard, as true to life you can’t make any mistakes, and because of the speed of these machines you have to think very quickly. Personally, I suck at racing games and have to use the lines on the road to tell me what to do, without it I can barely make it around the track. There seems to be a lot of variables to how your car performs, the game seems to take into consideration weather effects, condition of tyres, amount of fuel, car damage, and other things to decide how your vehicle will perform, and it is easy to get lost. Luckily, during the races you have a manager that will give you constant feedback on your radio, whilst also giving you suggestions on how to improve your driving or strategy. You can ask him a question too, but doing so is extremely risky purely because you have to take your fingers off of other buttons to press it and it is easy to lose concentration in these moments. I believe it’s possible to use voice commands, which would make the game a lot easier in this one regard.
In terms of graphics overall it’s pretty good but there are a few downsides. The car models and tracks look pretty great, and when there is rain the effects come together very nicely. In addition the cars have dynamic damage which actually changes the playstyle, if you lose your front wing you will in turn lose downforce on the car, and your race manager will suggest a change of strategy to make up for it. It makes each race feel really unique, and means that every action you take actually has consequence, one small slip up could cost you the whole race, as it is extremely hard to get back into a position once you have slid down the rankings. There are some weak areas to the presentation, textures can be of low quality, especially on npc clothing or on the buttons on your steering wheel, but overall the game looks pretty slick. That being said there are a number of bugs still in the game, and I experienced two crashes, both when trying to quit to windows. I also found a rather hilarious bug in which my agents hair tried to become a power ranger villain and take over the world, classic.
F1 2016 is a hard yet enjoyable formula one racer that is clearly aimed at appeasing the fans and putting right what F1 2015 did wrong. It’s a really great entry in the series, and a promising sign that Codemasters are listening to what players want out of a game such as this. I give it an 8/10