When people typically think of racing games, they may think of series like Forza or Gran Turismo, but one of the longest running and most consistent is the F1 series. Codemasters has has full control of the series since F1 2010 and most recently saw a resurgence in the series with last year’s entry. With many new features added this year, Codemasters is looking to keep that upward trajectory going with F1 2017.
Codemasters has done a fantastic job at recreating the F1 simulation experience in game form in the past and that is no different in F1 2017. The handling feels even better than it did in 2016’s iteration, and while there can be a steep learning curve for those used to other racers, the time spend learning is well worth it.
F1 2017 also performs very well throughout the various game modes, with the fast movement not feeling overwhelming and a lack of frame rate drops throughout as well. The visuals are also very impressive here, though not quite at the level of some other racers, they do a very good job at recreating the different cars, with not only the modern F1 cars in this game, but also classic versions as well.
Career mode is always very important in almost any racing game and last year’s game really built on that, which has been improved upon yet again in F1 2017. Before doing anything in career mode, you will have to create your personal driver avatar. Sadly, the avatar creator is still rather lackluster and plain, with you just getting to choose between 44 preset face types. This is still a solid boost from last year’s 20, but it would have been nice to have more customization.
The good news, however, is that the game has added the ability to select female avatars as well, with there being eight available of the 44 to choose from here. The game has also added additional helmets to choose from, with seven of them being specially designed and chosen from the community, which are actually some of the best options available.
You will once again get to choose which racing team you want to be a part of also. This choice plays a big part in your career growth, as you can go with the a top team like Scuderia Ferrari that expects you to get results right out the gate with only a 1% career score bonus. On the other hand, you could choose a team like McLaren Honda that is looking for forward progress, but not counting on victories quite yet, leading to you getting a 10% career score bonus. It is interesting to see teams that have changed from last year’s game as well, as McLaren Honda specifically was in the middle tier last game with 5% and now has fallen to the bottom at 10%.
You can choose to go with a normal Career for the most straightforward experience, but the game also brings back the Pro Career option as well. By changing to this, it will disable any Weekend Structure, Race Setting, and Vehicle Assists that you manually set up. This is definitely for the more hardcore players that do not want to take it easy, with difficulty options also available separately that can adjust your career score modifier as well.
Career mode has been beefed up just a little this year, giving you more control than ever with in depth vehicle options. While career mode doesn’t have a lot that’s entirely new and groundbreaking, they have built upon the very solid foundation we already got last year and expanded upon it.
New in F1 2017 is what they call Vehicle Management, which allows you to adjust six different components in the game that makes up the vehicle’s Power Unit, as well as the Gearbox. These different components will have different levels of wear and tear over time, with each one have its own vulnerabilities. It will be up to you to try and chance using components longer that are more useful or switch in new ones. This mixes in well with the R&D side of the game that we already had, with the length of usefulness for the different components being able to be improved via upgrades. These are also in addition to the Tyre allocations that we’ve seen before in the series.
On the smaller side, F1 2017 adds a couple more Practice Programmes into the mix as well to help you earn additional resource points. That is not all either, as the game also adds the aforementioned new classics cars to the game through special invitational events that add another level of content to career mode this time around. These new classic cars are also available outside of this mode, but it’s nice they integrated them into career mode.
Arguably the biggest new addition to F1 2017 is Championships mode, which offer alternate race events from the normal championships you’re used to in career and such. You start with only a few of these unlocked from the start, but you can unlock more the more stars you earn in-game. This is a nice addition to the game as a way of providing more longevity in a game that already has a solid number of game modes.
Grand Prix is back, which is essentially your more jump in and play game mode. Grand Prix lets you set up entire weekend races you can tailor to your specific needs. Time Trial can also be put in here as a returning option, with both of these letting your choose between modern F1 or classic F1 cars.
For those that would prefer to play against live players, you can of course take F1 2017 online in multiplayer, as long as you can find enough players to match with in the large 20 player races, which also now have two dedicated spectator spots as well. Events are also available sometimes as downloadable races with specific goals that you are striving to meet, but they are not always there to participate in either.
Codemasters did a fantastic job last year at righting the ship after a downward trend for a few entries and F1 2017 builds upon that. Though some game modes could have used some expansion this year, all of the features you’d expect are present, along with a more behind the scenes in depth career mode and classic cars to boot, keeping the series on track with F1 2017.
Many were starting to get worried about the F1 series, but last year inspired hope yet again and now F1 2017 takes that an improves on it just enough. You certainly won’t find anything overly groundbreaking, but the new vehicle management setup and classic cars do just enough to get you back in that car for a victory lap with F1 2017.
8.0 Clutches Out Of 10
Release Date: August 25th, 2017 (US)
Available Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Disclosure: F1 2017 Was Provided By The Publisher For Coverage Purposes