2022 has seen the dawn of a new era in the world of Formula One, with a brand-new set of regulations aimed at providing more excitement and racing on track as well as a budget cap to keep costs from spiralling out of control. But the question you’re asking yourself if you’re reading this is, “Have Codemasters and EA delivered on their promise to overhaul the physics, handling and tyre models to accurately reflect the real-world sport and increase the authenticity and realism?”. Time to strap in and find out.
We’ll start with F1 Life, the feature that seems to have received the most hype pre-release. The way it has been described is as follows: “F1® Life is the new social player hub, allowing players to show off their collection of supercars, fashion, accessories, and trophies. These items can be earned by completing in-game challenges, levelling up in the Podium Pass, as well as from the brand shop and in-game store. F1® Life also serves as a Multiplayer lobby, where players will be able to view their friends’ avatars and hubs”. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t see the point of it. Sure, everyone will set their own showroom up, pick an outfit out and make it look super cool, but I can’t see core players doing this more than once, or until they’ve unlocked all the super cars (which isn’t very hard at all). If I’m being a cynic, F1 Life is just a way for EA and Codemasters to sneak in some extra microtransactions for some customisation options. For the last two years we’ve had the Podium Pass letting you unlock different vehicle skins, helmets etc, which is fine, but this has taken it too far for me. I’d like to stress that if you want to pay £3 for a new pair of shorts from the Brand Shop for your avatar to wear then it’s a completely 100% optional purchase, and if that’s your cup of tea then fine, you do you. The standard Series X/S version is already £69.99 without EA play, so that’s not for me. Sorry. Unfortunately, the first Podium Pass wasn’t active at the time of writing so I’m unsure if you’ll be able to unlock avatar items through there.
The second new feature of the game getting the most hype is the introduction of super cars. There are 10 in total to unlock including the 2 safety cars, the Aston Martin Vantage and the Mercedes AMG GT and take no time at all to unlock. They are fun enough to drive and as you’d expect they handle very differently to the F1 or F2 cars and will take some getting used to for those who haven’t dabbled with game like Forza or Gran Turismo. Despite not being able to race online with the super cars, there is plenty to do with them. You can use them in Time Trial, they will appear as events in career mode to give you a boost of acclaim and cash, and there are 40, yes 40, Pirelli hot laps to complete, which consist of time attack, rival duel, drift challenges and more. Completionists and cheevo hunters will be thrilled to hear that there is an achievement to get a gold medal in all 40!
Regular players of Formula One games will be pleased to know they can stop pestering anyone related to the F1 game on social media as the track updates for Australia, Spain and Abu Dhabi are in the game as well as the new track in Miami.
How about the new car handling then? Well if I’m being honest I couldn’t tell much difference, the cars felt slower for sure but there wasn’t a big difference when comparing the default setups. Having said that, I’ve never driven a real life F1 car (I’m open to offers) so the differences could well be subtle. The cars do sound more realistic then ever though which is a relief as that Ferrari engine was starting to grind the wrong type of gear – Make sure you check out our YouTube channel where we’ve made a video comparing the engine sounds.
After being introduced in 2021, Sprint races make their debut in F1 2022 and slot in nicely in the career modes for more realism, and you can also use them in Grand Prix mode for any track. They are available for use in online modes as well, so any leagues out there that were hoping to implement them into their season can do so.
Also new in this year entry is the introduction of Immersive or broadcast pitstops and formation laps. Formation laps haven’t really added much to previous entries but that changes this year. Stopping at the wrong spot in your grid box could land you a metre or two behind where you’re supposed to be, which in a world where every millimetre counts, could well lose you places off the start. The same goes with the new style pitstops, turn in too late and it’s going to cost you time you can’t afford to lose.
The much loved My Team mode returns for its third year and has a few changes, the main one being you can now select how competitive you want your car to be at the start of your journey. You have ‘newcomer’, that fans of My Team will be aware this is where the hard slog is. In short, you’re a back marker and you’ll have to do some grafting to get your team to the top. Then there is “Midfield Challenger” which does what is says on the tin; you’re in the mid pack, you’ll still have some work to do, but not as much if you’re a newcomer. Then finally we have “Championship Contender”, again does what it says on the tin. If you’re like me and don’t really have the time to sit through 2-3, maybe 4 seasons of building your facilities and improving your car or you just simply want the opportunity for glory in season 1, then this has you covered. The “icons” make their return, but this year you’re able to hire them from the start, so if you fancy having Michael Schumacher or Ayton Senna as your teammate (you’ll have to be able to afford them first of course!) then you can. They’ve also added a few more icons this year with Mark Webber, Nico Hülkenberg and Jacques Villeneuve available to hire.
An F1 game wouldn’t be complete without a vanilla career mode. I didn’t notice anything different whilst playing, so essentially, it’s the same as last year but with updated car designs and performance. If I can be so bold as to make a suggestion, then please, please add Formula 3 next time – the F1 community has been asking for many, many years, and would make the journey to being a Formula One driver that much more rewarding! Two player online career also returns in familiar guise. Team up with a friend and stay in the same team or you can choose “contracts”, where you can be in separate teams.
There are still a few persistent bugbears with the game, not big ones of course, but the race highlights once again fails to impress. It has the potential to be great, but when highlights don’t pick up most of your overtaking moves it can deflate any cool moments you may have had during the race. The graphics/frame drop in the highlights are also very noticeable, which is a shame as the game looks incredible when you’re driving and are the best in the series to date.
I was only able to test the offline modes, but of course multiplayer is there with the same offerings as last year. Weekly events, ranked, social play and leagues are there as well as the returning 2 player split screen mode. Fans of the Braking Point story will be disappointed as Aiden Jackson and the ever-loveable Devon Butler are nowhere to be seen, which is a shame as EA have done well in the past with their story modes in FIFA and Madden.
Once again the accessibility for new or old players of the game are there, they haven’t changed from last year, so instead of writing a big ‘ol piece on it again feel free to read my review from last year, but they are impressive and it’s never been easier to enjoy or play an F1 game.
Despite its flaws and F1 Life feeling like a bit of an excuse for extra microtransactions, F1 2022 is another great entry into the series and will keep new and returning players busy until next year’s game!Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.