F1 24 Review – In Need of a Pit Stop

F1 24 Review

Pump the brakes on your expectations if you’re looking forward to a radically redefined F1 racing experience this year. F1 24 – while competent enough to remain relatively enjoyable – spins its tires without going anywhere. Its new handling system misses the mark the majority of the time. Only a few minor tweaks headline F1 24’s changes to game modes. The absence of a few features from F1 23 feels like a missed opportunity to expand upon previously laid groundwork. Unfortunately, all of this ultimately prevents F1 24 from being a must-have upgrade.

To its credit, F1 24 looks great. Every track from Bahrain to Suzuka to Las Vegas shines with brilliant authenticity that captures the unique spirit of each location. Weather effects remain hit-or-miss, but overall, F1 24 is excellent on the eyes. Each car is spot on to its real-life counterpart, adding to the immersion of participating in an actual race. And driver likenesses are tremendous. Every driver looks true to life without having that glassy-eyed stare that so many sports game character models suffer from.

Hear That Engine Purr

Of course, the sport of F1 isn’t just about pretty cars and beautiful locales. The sound of these multi-million dollar machines tearing up the track is as vital to the experience as anything else. In that regard, F1 24 also nails the presentation. Engines roar with glorious detail that routinely left me feeling as if I was actually sitting in on a race. Tires spinning, raindrops pelting a surface, splashes of water, and gravel kicking up all sound authentic to the point it’s tough to tell the difference between F1 24 and real life. Chatter over the radio is also fantastic, if not repetitive. As is the case every year, F1 24 delivers the auditory experience I hope to get each time I dive in.

Where F1 24 starts to show its cracks, however, is in its new handling system. Developer Codemasters has wholly altered how cars behave, and it rarely feels like it’s for the better. As a diehard wheel user, there have been moments during my time with F1 24 that I’ve proclaimed it to essentially be undrivable. Cars wobble across the track at the slightest input, and understeering/oversteering doesn’t provide the same feedback as in F1 23. It makes even the most basic corners turn into grueling tests of patience. Couple this with a conglomeration of AI that either crashes into the player without a second thought or dominates without making a single mistake, and it quickly becomes apparent that most races are impossible to win.

It wasn’t long before it became essential to turn the traction control option on. While this does take care of the issue, anyone with racing game experience will tell you that traction control is a pick-your-poison type of setting. Sure, it will prevent you from spinning out. But it also negates the ability to make nuanced manoeuvers, drastically hindering players’ ability to shave valuable seconds off their lap times. Racing games must cater to a broad audience. Yes, as in previous years, F1 24 offers a boatload of sliders to fine-tune the experience. However, none of that matters when you’re forced to use a specific variation of settings.

Tune Up the Band

At least Codemasters seem to be aware of the issue. They’ve gone on record to say that a massive patch is incoming to correct the shortcomings. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this review, F1 24 misses the mark where it matters the most—driving.

It was also disappointing to discover just how little has changed this time around off the track. Career mode has been given a minor overhaul. For the first time, F1 24 offers players the chance to take on the career mode as actual Formula One drivers. And it’s nice to be able to sign multi-year contracts finally. Other than that, F1 24 is identical to its predecessor. In fact, it’s missing some stuff that I found enjoyable in F1 23. For example, you’re no longer able to customize your living quarters. I understand that this sort of stuff probably isn’t too high on the priority list, but I always love it when sports games offer me the chance to live the lifestyle that being an industry professional provides.

If you’ve eagerly anticipated this year’s entry into Codemasters’ popular F1 series, I hate to say that you might be better off sticking to F1 23. Time will tell if the developers can correct the issues plaguing the handling system. I anticipate they’ll have a fix released sooner rather than later, given that even professionals like Lando Norris have admitted that F1 24 feels awkward and unrealistic. If you’re committed to jumping in this year, do so with your expectations in check. Even if Codemasters fixes F1 24’s most glaring issues, the fact still remains that this is an excessively minor update.

***A Steam key was provided for this review***

The Good

  • Tracks look great
  • Real drivers in career mode
  • Authentic sound design

The Bad

  • New handling model feels off
  • Feels too similar to F1 23
  • AI remains rough around the edges