Review: F1 2016 (PS4).
During the current F1 season, we cannot complain about boredom – surprises, intra-team plays, changes in the position of the championship leader – in a word, it’s good. Good enough that probably not one fan wants to play the role of one of the top drivers and curb the championship of their “favorites”. I will throw a spoiler at the very beginning of the text – you will not be disappointed. F1 2016 (PS4) is the first installment of the series in many years, which is simply worth playing.
What can I say – in the case of the last installments, we were dealing with the easiness of Codemasters. F1 2015). Fortunately, the Codies have gone to their senses, and voila – F1 2016 (PS4) has pretty much everything we’ve asked for over the years.
First, a full career mode. We create our player from scratch and sign a contract with one of the current teams. If we want to land in one of the fastest and richest ones right away, we must take into account very high performance requirements and a much more expensive development path for the car. This is! During your career, you can earn points, which we later translate into developing aerodynamics or mechanical parts of the cars. Points are earned for performance during the season, but also for taking part in vehicle development sessions. We practice such scenarios during training sessions – we can choose from acclimatization on the track, tire management and qualifying pace. Great thing – it makes sense to have a full race weekend together with a practice session after all.
After all, the game itself has much more to do with what we watch on TV screens during the F1 weekend. For example, we see teasers every weekend with commentary from former F1 driver and Sky F1 commentator Anthony Davidson. We will see the shots from the grid just like in real life, just like the ceremony of presenting the cups to the winners. There are even animated versions of the most recognizable drivers! It’s not something that should sell a game that is mechanically and fun to drive, but it certainly doesn’t bother you. Definitely a positive change!
We’ve finally got two of the three most anticipated F1 features. The first is the formation lap, during which we warm up the tires and brakes for the race. The second element is the safety car, which appears in serious accidents on the track, and the virtual safety car. VSC (Virtual Safety Car) is a rule that entered F1 after Jules Bianchi’s accident in Japan and is intended to inform drivers that something happened on the track without the participation of a regular Safety Car. The third element that, unfortunately, we will not experience is the car control in the pitstop. I was hoping that something in this matter would change, but nothing of that – the game takes control of us when we pass the line marking the service area. Still not good with that.
But let’s move on to meat. It drives great! The current F1 cars are aerodynamically neutered compared to what we saw good years ago. Apart from the turbocharged “vacuum cleaners”, driving without assists and at the skill limit is a very demanding, continuous struggle with the car. Constant counterattacks and gentle handling of gas and brake are essential. But believe me, after a while you get used to it, you won’t want to turn on traction control or ABS. The fun is too much to let the game help us. The start of each race is also great. Let’s forget about launch control – now it all depends on the player. We have to “manually” maintain the speed at the right level and release the clutch button at the right moment – whether we do it too early or too late will largely define the final position, because at higher levels of difficulty, breaking through half the stake up is no mean feat . Fortunately, AI is no longer as idiotic as in previous editions. We can still expect, so to speak, “ shots”, while virtual drivers are much more prudent and follow the rules of fair play.
Visually, it is very good and, above all, smooth. Rain is the most impressive – both in terms of aesthetics and the challenge of driving. If I have to pick on something, there is definitely no need for a racing “office” in career mode – the animations are very clunky and I’m sure the frames drop below 20. The whole thing is an unnecessary clog. I’ll stick to the annoying race engineer who’s chattering non-stop on the radio. Because in fact, several times the information about the lack of rain in Bahrain is crucial. Additionally, he intrusively wants to change his strategy during the race – obeying the gentleman usually results in getting stuck between slower drivers after leaving the pitstop. Fortunately, we can quickly silence our friend – there is even a trophy for taking such a step. Whoever plays for a while will understand what’s going on.
For those who for some reason do not want to play in a career, there is an option to play the classic season of the world championship, fast race and multiplayer games. The latter also allows us to play the championship season. I recommend setting up with friends, because what can I say – the driving culture with “random” is zero. Pity the nerves.
Is this a fan-only game? Probably yes. Overall, F1 is a niche even among racing games. Fans will be delighted, and people looking for a looser racing can easily reach for games such as NFS or Driveclub (PS4). Of course, nobody forbids anyone anything, everyone will be able to play with the assistants … but for what?
F1 2016 (PS4) introduces changes that should appear in the series much earlier. Getting closer to the TV broadcast, introducing the career mode, forming lap or safety car are cosmetic issues for the uninitiated – while for us, fans of the queen of motorsport, fundamental changes that completely change the perception of this type of game. Codies, give back control of the car in the service area and we’ll like each other even more!