F1 2020 Review: A Repeat Champion

To put it bluntly, F1 2019 was an absolute masterpiece. Arguably the best racing game of the current generation, there were so many things about the game that kept your attention and kept you playing. F1 2020 could’ve easily been a case of Codemasters wanting to make subtle changes this year while preparing for the next generation of consoles. But that’s not what happened at all.

From a brand new fully-feature game mode to multiple on-track improvements, F1 2020 is gunning for a repeat championship performance.

Gameplay

On the track, the F1 series has earned a reputation over the years of being a game geared more towards the pure simulation or dedicated racing fans. F1 2020 looks to atone for past instances of exclusivity in regards to entry barriers.

The game features a quick-to-select accessible handling option that allows players to jump between casual and standard settings. With the casual settings selected, you get easier to understand menus, all of the off-track surfaces become more forgiving when driving on, and steering assists become available.

Moving on to the track, the game’s traction control feels easier to adapt to no matter the conditions. It also makes it possibly for those that don’t consider themselves F1 pros — which is pretty much 99% of those who play the game — to play without various assists with either a controller or a wheel.

F1 2020 ReviewWhen entering corners, you immediately notice the improvements made to the game’s breaking system. Overall breaking distances are shorter as well as more responsive. You won’t really notice it too much if you use more assists, but the less you use, the better it actually feels to the point using breaking assists will feel unnatural.

As far as tyre wear is concerned, it feels a bit more natural and realistic than in past games, most notably during longer races. Rarely did it seem like the wear was happening unevenly or unexpectedly in areas where it shouldn’t. If I drove clean and consistent, my tires lasted longer than if I was erratic and sliding all over the place. You know, how it should be with racing games.

Game Modes

The base game modes like Gran    d Prix, Championships, and Time Trial are here with the addition of splitscreen multiplayer for more local racing fun. But while those are well and good, the focal points of the game come in two modes: Career and the brand new My Team mode.

Starting with Career mode, much is brought in from F1 2019, including the inclusion of F2, but everything as been made more in-depth. Starting your career allows you four different options. You can jump right into an F1 car if you want, or start at the lower-level F2 once again. If you choose to go the F2 route, you get the option to be an F2 tester that sees you play out three in-season scenarios; a short season of six races; or a full season of 12 races.

As mentioned, much of the same is here with the career mode, but that doesn’t make it boring. The mode may not have the cutscenes and story that F1 2019 did during your run in F2, but it’s still incredibly deep. You still have your interviews with the media, performance goals to hit, and a full Research and Development tree to make upgrades to your vehicles. To add to the replay value of the mode, as well as My Team, F1 2020 now features driver retirements and driver promotions, both of which have been requested features for some time now. That alone kept things fresh with each passing season.

F1 2020 Review
You can set your season length and circuits in both Career and My Team

As mentioned earlier , My Team is the debuting mode this year, and it’s a home run for Codemasters. Whereas Career mode as you simply worrying about yourself, My Team has you focused on not only racing but building and managing a brand new team in Formula 1.

You start off by creating your team in every aspect. From branding to sponsors to power unit, everything is under your control, including money management. I say that because it’s extremely important, especially in the early going. The last thing you want to do in the game is find yourself struggling financially before even getting your team off the ground.

You kick things off with an interview that can impact your early upgrades as your various departments will notice your answers, affecting things like morale and your starting R&D Tree.

When in the mode, there are plenty of things to keep yourself busy aside from racing. You have to upgrade your staff, technology, and even manage what you and your teammate do on your off days. You can take part in driver training camps, press tours, merchandise sales, and more. Like your interview questions, however, your choices have an impact on various aspects of your team ranging from popularity to team morale.

One nice touch is that matter the main mode you choose — My Team or Career — you can choose the length of your F1 season as well as the circuits you race during a given season, allowing for more customization to how your careers play out.

Presentation

Presentation is where F1 2020 actually disappoints a bit. Not that it’s poor because it’s still one of the best in the racing genre, but it just feels to much of the same. The pre- and post-race presentation is exactly the same as the prior two games, making them instantly skippable for long-time players of the franchise.

The game’s customization options leave a lot to be desired which is disappointing when the My Team mode has you create a logo, paint scheme, and full team brand. Everything just feels too limited for what you’d want, even the audio name selection for your driver is more limited than some games from 10-15 years ago.

Visually, the cars and tracks once again look great. Even debuting circuits like Circuit Zandvoort in The Netherlands and Hanoi Street Circuit in Vietnam both look true-to-life. With the cars, they are exactly what you’d expect: picturesque recreations of the vehicles you see on race day. Even the classic cars remain as aesthetically pleasing as the modern-day marvels.

Verdict

F1 2020 is a game that proves you can still add a lot to a game that seemed to have everything in place already. The control of your car, no matter the settings, feels as crisp as anything produce by Codemasters, and the addition of the My Team mode adds hours of more replay value on top of what’s there with Career and Championship play.

As the final F1 game of the generation, F1 2020 goes out with a bang, making it a must play for anyone, racing fan or not.


*NOTE: A copy of F1 2020 was provided to SGO for the purpose of this review*

  • 10/10
    Gameplay - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Game Modes - 10/10
  • 8/10
    Presentation - 8/10
  • 10/10
    Longevity - 10/10
Overall
9.5/10

Summary

As the final F1 game of the generation, F1 2020 goes out with a bang, making it a must play for anyone, racing fan or not.