Formula 1 is one of the most intriguing of sports. I’ve never really taken too much of an interest in watching it, as it just seems very repetitive to me. When it comes to the games though, I’m all over it. I have missed a couple of the past few games, but when given the opportunity to try out the latest instantiation, I couldn’t say no. It’s been a while since I played a decent racing game, even though I do love racing games, and with this being such an enormous sport, I couldn’t wait to play it.
The settings of Formula 1 races are amongst some of the beautiful places in the world. Monaco, Silverstone and Sao Paulo boast some of the most fantastic courses in the F1 calendar, and it would be a challenge for anyone to try to accurately recreate the sense of awe and wonder that surrounds them. Codemasters, however, have had no such trouble with it. They’ve managed to create some of the most incredible and beautiful courses I’ve ever seen in a racing game. In fact, it’s better looking than almost any game I’ve ever played. It’s tough, at times, to be able to finish the course as, if you’re anything like me, you’re looking around in amazement at everything around.
I think the most recent racing game I’d played was when I tried to go back through Gran Turismo 3: A Spec. In that, the ‘career’ mode is fairly mundane. You’re given £20,000 and you have to buy a car, and eventually win enough races and trade up to own the best cars and win the most races. Obviously, in F1 2017, you’re not paying for cars with your own money, but the game excels in areas which I hadn’t even imagined. The Research and Development stuff, in particular, is incredibly deep. With four different sections for Powertrain, Chassis, Aerodynamics and Durability, players can enhance their vehicle exactly as they like it. Although in Gran Turismo I could modify certain parts, the level of control you get in F1 2017 is incredible. It’s almost as if you can have a truly bespoke car to really enhance your racing style.
Although I do like racing games, I’m often pretty terrible at them. Some people have a knack for knowing exactly how to drive and race around in any game, but I’m not one of them. For me, I have to spend a good few hours going around and around, trying to get used to exactly how I can push the car and the best way to navigate courses. Thankfully, with the massive R&D section and the gorgeous courses, racing around to practice is both fun and quick. Being able to tune the car adequately to my style makes the process a lot faster, but just driving around is really solid anyway. It’s really tight, responsive and very easy to play with, even for a novice like me.
Where F1 2017 does fall down is in the multiplayer part of the game. I’m disappointed to say that there isn’t any split screen mode for playing against your buddies. You’d think that, even though we’ve got online play possible, local multiplayer would still be a core function in a racing game, but it seems that it isn’t a priority anymore, which is a great shame. Away from that issue though, is the issue with online lobbies. Online play in general, in fact, is a dire mess. With messy lobbies that seem to break more than they work, and races that end in everyone being disqualified, it’s clear that Codemasters slipped up with this.
The other issue that I, as well as a number of others found, was that the game had some weird bugs. For instance, there is a serious, potentially career-ending bug if you choose to play on the 25% race length setting. If you decide to do that setting, then no matter how many points you put in R&D to reduce wear and tear, your car will deteriorate incredibly fast. This could push you so much that you will be in excess of the maximum allowed parts changes. Once you’re beyond that point, it’s curtains for your racing career. It’s a definitely solvable bug, as is the above issue, so hopefully Codemasters will be able to release a quick patch to fix the issues.
The Final Word
Once F1 2017 is bug-free, it’ll be a fantastic game. If you avoid the above issues, then you won’t find any problem with the game whatsoever, so you’ll just get to enjoy the phenomenal visuals and magnificent recreations of the many courses around the world. The driving is incredible, even if I am terrible at it, it feels realistic and really thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve had a bit of a break from racing games lately, but F1 2017 has really taken over my spare time. It’s a great game, and fans of the sport, once the bugs have been resolved, will be more than happy with what Codemasters have produced.