There are two things which one can take for certain in life. One is the impending doom and creeping death, and the other, is the fact that each and every year Codemasters will serve the public with a solid iteration of the F1 franchise. And just like the year before, this year you’ll all have a chance to play yet another, high quality racing game centred around the multi-billion dollar F1 franchise.
This year’s iteration, F1 2017, follows up on last year’s innovations and continues to improve upon the core formula of the franchise. And all hardcore fans of this particular motorsport will be happy to hear that Codemasters added yet another layer of complexity, as this time around one can edit every single component of the car, as well as all the camera angles which are available in game. First person camera is too close to the wheel? Pull it up. You’d like to move the third person camera a little to the left to always be able to see vehicles approaching on your right? No problem.
The extent to which Codemasters has gone in order to ensure that F1 2017 is the racing game to have, is truly unbelievable. As even titles as hardcore as Assetto Corsa and Forza can be jealous of all the options and settings which can be found in F1 2017. In fact, F1 2017 is the only title to have customisable mirror angles – at least to my knowledge. And I’m sure that a vast majority of F1 2017 players will spend at least an hour going through all the available settings, just like I did when I turned it on for the first time.
At first, F1 2017 can come across as slightly intimidating as people who are new to the sport, or racing simulators as a whole, will feel overwhelmed by all the choices which are laid out in front of them. However, unlike other titles of this particular sub-genre, F1 2017 is a game which can be enjoyed by pros and amateurs alike. And this is because F1 2017 can be a hard-core simulator for those who are seasoned veterans of the franchise, but it can also be an arcade-like racer for those who favour light-hearted fun over nerve-racking, anxiety filled competitions.
The fact that F1 2017 can be enjoyed equally by all types of gamers is simply astounding, and it gets even better once one realises that exhibition is not the only mode which can be altered to one’s liking. As even the career mode can be adjusted to one’s skill and expectations.
Just like last year, the career is the most important portion of F1 2017. And to ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of both hard-core gamers and Sunday drivers, Codemasters has transferred all the features into this particular mode. But fortunately, the developer of the title hasn’t stopped there, as this time around, the career mode of F1 is bigger and better than anything that came before it.
In addition to your standard weekend-to-weekend proceedings, a brand-new form of competition has been added to the fray, in the form of invitational races. And throughout your career, depending on your performance, you’ll be invited to compete in a series of races, time trials and other challenges across a plethora of alternate tracks, which are otherwise not a part of the standard career. All the invitational events also allow you to try out all the classic cars, which are another new addition to this year’s iteration of the F1 franchise.
The inclusion of invitational events is quite literally ‘game changing’ as it allows one to take a break from the standard practice, qualifiers, and races, in favour of much more exciting exhibitions. However, invitational events are not the only new addition to this year’s F1 title, as the core campaign also features a reworked upgrades system. A system which allows you to upgrade your vehicle and fix it whenever necessary, as all major parts of the car of your choice degrade over time and need to be replaced in order to ensure that it is performing on the highest possible level.
The addition of the overhauled upgrade system allows one to connect with the title on a much more personal level. As one no longer only has to take care of his/her rank, but also the vehicle. And with each and every upgrade and fix, he/she will develop a relationship of sorts, which could only be ever experienced in Gran Turismo before. However, despite that fact, F1 2017 is still not a perfect title, as besides the personal vehicle maintenance it feels sterile and soulless.
Within the campaign, one will encounter numerous cutscenes, but they are nothing more than tutorials disguised as ‘plot devices’. One cutscene will explain to you how to maintain your car, and another will ensure that you are aware of the ins and outs of your career, but besides that, they do very little to add to the story. In fact, F1 2017, despite featuring a ‘campaign’ mode, does very little to keep one invested. Yes, you can participate in a rivalry with other drivers, but said rivalries are only ever presented with progress bars, and feel incredibly non-existent. You can be neck a neck in a rivalry with another driver, and never feel the importance of it. As ultimately, all rivalries are meaningless.
On a mechanical level, the campaign of F1 2017 is a work of art, in the same way that Nissan GTR’s engine is a
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masterpiece. However, when compared to FIFA’s story mode, F1 2017 compares very poorly, as it has no factual story. You’ll never see a cutscene showing you one of your rivals trying to damage your car prior to an event; you’ll never be on the receiving end of hostile behaviour from other drivers during the race; and you’ll certainly never see Sebastian Vettel asking you if you want to ‘’catch these hands’’, and that’s simply because the story of F1 2017 is nothing more than an illusion.
Ultimately, despite all its attempts at becoming a story driven title, F1 2017, just like its predecessor F1 2016, remains nothing more than a racing sim. Yes, it has an immense amount of mechanical depth, and the core driving mechanic, regardless of the setting, is incredibly enjoyable. But the title as a whole is like a fishing rod without a hook. The rod is there, and so is the string, but the bait is simply tied to it, and the second one grabs onto the bait, they’ll swim away. And that’s because there’s nothing to keep one attached to the hypothetical rod once the bait is gone. And unfortunately, the average gamer, despite the early impressions, will most likely abandon F1 2017 within a week, and only the old guard of the franchise will stand by it until the next year’s iteration.
+ A Level of Complexity Never Seen Before
+ Immensely Enjoyable Driving Mechanic
+ Welcoming to Amateurs
+ A reasonable Amount of Unique Content
+ Classic Cars are a Great Addition
- Story Mode Still Feels Underwhelming Despite Improvements
- Only True Fans of the Series Will Get Their Money's Worth