For the last few years, the F1 series from Codemasters has been the pinnacle of racing games so it’s understandable to feel like F1 22 would be more of the same from the now EA-owned studio. Unfortunately for many, F1 22 may feel like a bit too much of the same without any major changes to entice the casual players to jump on board.
The new big feature to the series is the F1 Life which is a bit akin to the old “Crib” features from past 2K sports titles. This mode has you buy pieces of furniture and various items for your home to showcase your progress – or the money you’ve spent via microtransactions. There’s also the ability to purchase and drive supercars.
The mode, if you want to call it that, may interest some, but it’s not for me. In fact, it pretty much falls flat in every way and its inclusion feels much more like an EA decision than a Codemasters one.
Aside from F1 Life, there’s really nothing new in terms of modes in F1 22. There’s no follow up to last year’s Braking Point story mode as the team focused on gameplay this year instead. Career and MyTeam remain largely untouched, but that doesn’t make them bad. They’re still as deep and enjoyable as they’ve been with some tweaks like different budgets to start at different stages. It can just start to feel stale for those that have played the game yearly for the last few years.
When it comes to the racing, you’ll be able to quickly tell that this is where most of the effort went with development. F1 introduced new rules and car changes that Codemasters introduced into F1 22, including the heavier cars and larger wheels. While it doesn’t sound like much, the difference in the cars is felt as you turn the various assists off. It’s a new physics model that changes the way you’ll drive on each track.
Cars feel tougher to turn than past years, and, if you are playing on the PlayStation 5 with the DualSense controller, you’ll actually feel the pulling and pushing of the cars in the controller itself.
Added to the race experience are formation laps and pit stops which improves the overall immersion on the circuit. Simple things like timing your pit box entrance to even setting an angle at the starting grid just helps add intrigue and possible consequences to your decisions on the track.
In every racing game, I always like to compare how a game feels when using a controller vs. using a wheel. F1 2022 continues to be a great experience on the wheel, but the controller shouldn’t be overlooked. It does feel a bit more finicky than in the past, but that, to me, is attributed to the changes to the cars. Once you get the hang of the new models, you’ll be in more control in no time.
Luckily, F1 22 keeps the large number of accessibility settings that the series has had for years. You can make the game as easy or as difficult as you’d like and adjust accordingly as you spend more time playing. It’s something that a series like F1 nails every year where other racing titles just can’t seem to figure out. You want to be accessible for new players, not make it near impossible for them to get a hang of the game.
Visually, the game is starting to feel like it’s at its peak with the current engine. That’s not saying it doesn’t look great because F1 22 is absolutely beautiful, including the new Miami circuit. Just don’t expect to spot anything new or breathtaking in the area.
Speaking of nothing new or breathtaking, the game’s creation suite is once again limited. From your driver’s look to the liveries of your cars in MyTeam, it’s all pretty simple with very few areas to be unique. It’s a turnoff for the creative types, especially when so many other games do better in that area.
Other areas of the game’s presentation have been changed with new camera angles and animations during various pre- and post-race moments. Also changed is having Alex Jacques in for David Croft as a commentator, providing a nice breath of fresh air.
F1 22 Review Verdict
For what F1 22 lacks off the track in newness, it makes up for behind the wheel. The racing feels authentic and the changes to the physics model makes for a challenging yet rewarding experience. MyTeam and Career are deep and fun, but there’s just something that doesn’t sit right about the F1 Life. It’s a menu-filled cluster that just feels completely unnecessary aside for pushing microtransactions in your face.
If you can look past F1 Life being pushed every time you return to menus, F1 22 is another great racing game from Codemasters. If not, you’ll just want to stick with last year’s game.
Did you pick up F1 22 or are you holding off? Let us know in the comment section below, and take the conversation further at the official SGO Discord server.