F1 2019 Review: First Place Finish

F1 2019 Review

For the better part of the past decade, Codemasters has delivered racing hit after racing hit for gamers. From the Dirt Series to Grid to Formula 1, there hasn’t been a racing game that wasn’t a fun play from the studio.

Featuring updates to modes, a new series, and fine-tuned graphics and gameplay, F1 2019 takes everything that the team has been working on over the years, and puts it into a package that it hopes will get everyone from F1 diehards to the casual racing fan on board. But is that, along the two-month earlier release date, enough to get players to not only give the game a chance, but keep them playing long after the launch window?

What We’ve Been Waiting For

The mode offering is similar to last year with multiplayer, championships, grand prix, and more.

Multiplayer has been given a nice lift with the ability to customize the look of your car with custom liveries. The looks can be unlocked using either in-game currency, or, if you are too impatient, spending actual money on the cosmetics. The game’s online leagues let’s players find reliable drivers, and race more competitively than in your standard multiplayer quick races and race weekends. Weekly challenges also give you the opportunity to earn rewards and complete different scenarios each week.

That said, the biggest update comes to F1 2019’s career mode.

The mode starts you out in the newly added F2 series, though you can skip it if you want to just get to the F1 series. But I wouldn’t recommend that at all. You don’t spend that much time in the feeder series, and it helps make you even more invested in the game’s story and your career.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the F2 series is one step below F1 and features a few tweaks to the rules and point systems of the races.

The mode starts with a cutscene at the Spanish Grand Prix where a glitch in your car’s turbo system causes you to fall back. From there you choose whether to let your teammate pass or try and catch Devon Butler — your main rival and the biggest piece of garbage F1 has ever seen.  The decision made will help determine how things move from there.

You play in three races total in the F2 series (two partial and one full) with a few cutscenes between where Butler continues to be a jackass. After the season ends, you will move up to the F1 alongside both Butler and fellow rival/friend Lukas Weber where the mode then starts to feel like what you’d expect from an F1 career.

You have to make the right decisions at the right time…

You’ll unlock your RPG-like upgrade tree that you use to improve your car, partake in more interviews, and race to achieve team goals. On top of that, cutscenes will see you interact with Weber and Butler that truly give you the sense of rivalry building. It adds a nice flair of drama to a mode that needed another way to keep you hooked.

There’s even driver transfers that finally see AI drivers jump to other teams during your career. It’s a small addition, but goes a long way towards adding even more realism to the mode. Lastly, you’ll even see long-time veterans start to fall off as the seasons pass, making way for younger drivers like yourself and your rivals.

Improving on Perfection

When it comes to gameplay, not much has changed from 2018 to 19 as it remains excellent. And you know how the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The game feels almost identical to 2018, but with the amount of settings at your disposal, F1 2019 will play on the course exactly the way you want. If you need assistance with anything at all, the game offers it. If you want to try and be as independent behind the wheel as possible, you can do that too.

But no matter what settings you use, you’ll notice how handling the cars has changed. You have to make the right decisions at the right time on the track otherwise you’re either getting a penalty for making contact with an opponent or worse.

Speaking of opponents, the AI is also improved in F1 2019. No longer will they stay perfectly in their line with no give, and force you to either go off course or hit them. Instead, you’ll find yourself fighting more for the position when going for a pass. If you make even the slightest mistake in a race, you’ll find opponents taking advantage of any chance to overtake you. Even taking the wrong line will see the AI attempt to push past.

Classic cars return with each having their own unique feel making for some fun racing whether it be solo or online with others.

True To Life

Visually, F1 2019 somehow found a way to look better than its predecessor. Night racing looks crisper than ever while driving in heavy downpours can prove to be impossible if you aren’t careful enough. It got so bad in one race, that I couldn’t even see the car directly in front of me through the rain.

The environments look better than ever, and the natural lighting and shadowing has been fine tuned. I know it’s been said with F1 games passed, but this year’s installment really makes you feel, at times, that you’re watching an actual Formula 1 race, especially with the overall presentation of each event. We’ve hit the point where the series is pushing the graphical limitations of the current consoles, and there’s really nowhere else it can go.

If you really want to revel in the graphics of the game, the new Theatre Mode gives you highlights from your races, and automatically saves them for you. The deep photo mode also returns, giving you the best shots possible.

Verdict

F1 2019 is a rare occasion where a game can look and feel the same, but do enough to put it over the top.

The driving feels nearly flawless, the environments are true to life, and there’s enough variety in play that you won’t want to put it down. The career mode finally has that added boost with true rivalries and driver transfers to really make you hooked for more than just a few hours, and the online improvements are sure to lead to some fun leagues forming throughout the year.

At the end of the day, F1 2019 is not only the best Formula 1 game from Codemasters, but it’s the best Formula 1 game ever released and easily one of the best racing games of all-time.


Want to talk sports and/or games with the fastest growing community in gaming? Join the conversation by subscribing to the official SGO subreddit at r/SportsGamersOnline, and check out our Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our growing YouTube Channel!

And If you want to go further to support SGO and help us grow the network, consider becoming a Patron where you’ll get early access to exclusive news and interviews as well your chance to submit video topics, take part in livestreams, enter patron-only giveaways, and more.

For more on how we score our reviews, read the SGO review policy.

  • Gameplay
  • Game Modes
  • Presentation
  • Longevity

Summary

F1 2019 is a rare occasion where a game can look and feel the same, but do enough to put it over the top.

Overall
5