With a new formula 1 season comes a new F1 game. F1 2017 has pulled out all the stops in its bid to become the best and biggest instalment of the franchise to date.
The first thing to notice with F1 2017 is that the graphics look fantastic. Sunlight gleams off bodywork and grit kicks up as you scrape the edge of the track. The racing experience is so vivid and lifelike that the smell of burning rubber in your living room is almost also part of the game. Multiple camera angles allow for a more immersive experience, and first person makes you feel as though you’re right there on the track. Conversely the player can switch to a third person angle which means you can keep a closer eye on your opponents and avoid minor collisions. The Dual Shock 4 rumbles as you take tight corners and eases up on the straights emphasising your ability at handling of the race car. This makes you pay more attention to the track and makes you play like a professional racer rather than just a gamer.
With six diverse options to choose from gameplay within F1 2017 is never dull. Players who simply want a quick race can select time trail or Grand Prix, whereas those interested in a more in-depth and realistic experience can pick career mode, in which a single player campaign challenges the driver to become the World Champion. This experience feels as interactive and player-led as an episodic game where every pre-race choice (should you modify the brakes or increase your fuel load?) makes a real difference on the track. This requires multiple sessions on the track to perfect your unique racing formula. Career mode sets you challenges and pushes you to constantly beat goals and more importantly, your current rival. These objectives are set based on your previous racing performances with goals slightly out of your reach, encouraging you to become the very best you can be. The relationship between your pit crew also feels authentic as they’ll constantly change strategies based on how worn your tires are or how good your current grip on the road is.
Championship mode is also a brand-new feature which see’s racers drive in unique courses with diverse structures and rules. This feature allows the use of both classic and modern cars and is one of the more enjoyable and addictive modes. Its what sets this apart from the previous instalments in the franchise.
The range of cars in F1 2017 feels targeted at a wide audience with machines ranging from the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 to the Mercedes F1 Wo8 EQ Power +. Racing both these beloved classics and the more modern sleek machinery sets for a crowd-pleasing variety of options for fans of any F1 era. Speed is at the heart of this game and it shows. Even the slowest car is more powerful than any in Forza making F1 2017 feel like a relentless roller-coaster of speed. F1 2017 however has clever tricks up its sleeve to force you to drive more technically – this isn’t Mario Kart. You’ll be penalised for crashes and if unrepaired damage to your car will significantly effect your lap times. Disqualification is an easy punishment to obtain meaning that your driving will have to be more than fast to make it around the track.
Whilst coloured tracks on the floor indicating when are where you should brake are helpful for new players they may be slightly irritating for those who wish to tackle the tracks with only their car radio as a guide. Sports games that are released annually such as Fifa or F1 are at risk of boring repetition of gameplay. However with each race being as unpredictable as the last with DRS occasionally being enabled and the intervention of the safety car, each race will be unique and your strategy will have to alter accordingly. Career mode at times also does tend to drag, especially if you are eager to be let loose on the track however, when the race starts the thrilling F1 experience is enough to make you forget all the negatives.
After collecting game points on the practice/qualifying laps you can modify your car and unlock attributes in Research and Development menu to increase your speed or handling back on the track, and with over one hundred different selections to make you’ll be spoilt for choice.
With over fifteen different race tracks to test you, a range of weather conditions and the unlimited possibilities for modifying the numerous cars available, F1 2017 is anything but repetitive. The tiny details in this game make this the most authentic driving experience yet. One that truly puts you in the driver’s seat.