F1 22 PS5 Review
Sports videogames release every year with minor tweaks, but F1 22, and F1 racing in general, is the exception. F1 Racing undergoes a constant evolution because of technological changes and safety concerns. So it behooves any game developer that has the official F1 license to do the same. Codemasters certainly did excellent work on the on-track experience, but off track, they leave you with a sour taste. More on that later as we check out the PS5 version.
The main yardstick of any sim racer is how closely does it mimic the real-world experience? The F1 22 rule changes required Codemasters to tweak car handling and physics. The 2022 cars have bigger tires and lower profiles. These changes have made the cars handle significantly different from the 2021 versions.
The 2022 cars are a stiffer and less nimble breed of F1 thoroughbreds. You’ll find low-speed corners more difficult to navigate, plus you’ll have to be more mindful of the curbs. You’ll be prone to bottoming out or, if you really misjudge, end up beached on one. These characteristics make the cars less fun to drive than the previous years, but Codemasters has rightly modeled the current F1 racing state.
All the real-world 2022 teams, drivers, tracks, and car models are in the game. This includes the new Miami track plus circuit changes made to the Spain, Australia, and Abu Dhabi tracks. Also added are an F1 22 soundtrack and trophies and achievements, depending on which platform you play on.
F1 22 Plus Supercars!
A new diversion is the Supercars. In between races or time trials, you can take the Pirelli Hot Lap challenges with 8 cars at launch. So you can choose from Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes, to name a few. The modeling of these cars doesn’t match up with other sims dedicated to GT racing, but their inclusion is an agreeable change of pace. Depending how fanatical you are about recreating the full F1 experience, you can even drive the pace car.
Customization options are deep and vast. You can tweak everything from how realistic the driving experience is, to how long races are, how you run the team, and more, right down to what type of paint finish to use on your car. The game is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of driving skill from novice right up to pro.
Technically, the game is very polished. The cars and tracks look and sound great. You have options for quality and performance modes, as has become standard on current-gen consoles like the PS5. The game supports the DualSense and a range of the most common force feedback steering wheels. While an FFB wheel and pedal set is the preferred way to go, the Dual Sense is not too shabby. The adaptive triggers mimic gas and brake feedback adroitly and the haptic feedback allows you to feel road surfaces and curbs.
In terms of on-track and pit experiences, the game is solid. Things off the track are a different kettle of fish. No doubt inspired by the success of the Netflix series Drive to Survive, the game features an F1 Life feature. Here you take your avatar and pimp him up. It’s all about lifestyle and bling. Set in your apartment, activities range from buying artwork for the walls to having a supercar on display in your living room, to buying clothes from fashionable brands. This may appeal to some, but I found it all pretty shallow and pointless.
Flat Off Track F1 Life
The real sticking point with F1 Life is the introduction of microtransactions called pitcoins. You can grind out earning them or, of course, buy them. While F1 Life has no impact on the core gameplay, it adds an unpleasant vibe to the overall experience. A better use of resources would have been to include a story mode.
The ‘My Team’ mode is much more engaging. Here you take control of a fictional eleventh team as both owner and lead driver. You have to decide where to invest money at the factory, deal with personnel issues, and hire your teammates.
There is also an Entry Status option for your team. You can pick the type of team you want to be. This has a direct impact on grid placement. You can be a poor privateer starting at the back of the grid or relatively well-off brand that can compete in the midfield. Or you can choose to be an immediate title challenger and become the pole sitter.
Further spurred by the Drive to Survive TV series, is a refreshed Broadcast feature. You can recreate TV coverage of a race with remarkable accuracy. There are options to view the safety car, fast forward through the procession, and get to the restart faster.
Across The Platforms Racing
A new, promised feature is Cross-play across all platforms. Not available at launch, players from PC, Xbox, and PlayStation will, for the first time in the series, be able to race against one another. PC Players have an extra mode not available to console players. They can play the game in VR. PS5 players can keep their fingers crossed that an update for VR is in the cards when the PSVR2 launches in Q1 – 2023.
There is a lot to like here and only one questionable feature. The on-track experience is great. Any gripes about how the F1 22 cars lack the nimbleness of the previous generation is based on reality. The F1 Life is a questionable addition, but at least, so far, not an intrusive one.
Given the big changes this year to F1, Codemasters have crafted an impressive technical showcase that is accessible to players of all skill levels.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Great physics
- Awesome on-track experience
- Highly customizable to suit player skill level
- Off track experience is money-driven
- No story mode
- Game is broader yet feels all too familiar