Like drivers in real life, I had to relearn how to drive a Formula 1 car.
Typically, creators like an iterative sports title F1 22 would avoid overhauling the basic gameplay. But completely new F1 cars with new aerodynamics and new, larger front tires left Codemasters, a completely authentic racing specialist, no choice. It’s not like the EA Sports Studio completely remapped the controls or changed how the throttle works. But driving a video game car with a really distinctive feeling had me taking corners and chicanes that I’ve taken thousands of times like I’ve never been on the track before.
It’s the best feature of F1 22. New cars are nice to look at – teams’ chassis have never been so distinctive – but without performing in an understandably different, but still accessible way, F1 22 would feel more like an expansion than a brand new game.
So the competitive reset that the FIA was hoping for with its new F1 specs has carried over to video gaming too. For example, early time trial leaderboards are slower than last year across the board at fast circuits like Bahrain and Austria and technical mainstays like Spain and the UK. My best time in Bahrain in F1 2021 would be number 1 on xbox in F1 22. And I was surprised to find that at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where I was nine full seconds off the No. 1 driver in the 2021 rankings, my early best of 1’19.978 was just 3.5 off the number 1 in the world lies this year’s game.
There are understandable reasons for both times. The first is that the new cars’ suspensions now create a ground effect that, somewhat counter-intuitively, makes them more responsive at high speeds and comparatively less responsive at slower speeds. So it feels like there is a lower, yet fairer, benefit cap in places like Spain; Last year, elite gamers, esports stars in particular, were able to tiptoe through the twitching final sector at times that always seemed impossible to me. This year we’ve all struggled with understeer in the final chicane.
On faster tracks, the new tires combined with slower turning create a different traction regime that requires very delicate cornering, especially when accelerating on the exit of the corner. in the F1 2021 and the previous two years I was able to ride (on a gamepad) without traction control by setting brake assist to medium. Traction control is an assist that keeps riders, especially those who don’t use a wheel and pedals, from spinning, but it takes a significant toll on their lap times. But last year’s brake assist, from my understanding, stopped the entire corner – and the dirty secret was that the assisted braking was enough to control my rear wheel spin without the slower, brute force solution of traction control.
All of that is now off the table F1 22the new cars. There is no avoidance; I to have using traction control as well as brake assist to even complete a lap at Bahrain, a notoriously “rear-limited” circuit (meaning drivers really have to watch how they step on the gas). But the oddly welcome consequence of the new cars’ high-speed performance is that sweeping parabolas, like Turn 3 in Spain, are far more manageable and it’s far easier to take and hold your racing line flat out. Again, the Codemasters game has responded to the intent behind the FIA’s new car design – with faster lap times, more frequent overtaking and greater parity in the field.
This tech babble is a colloquial way of saying what’s going on under the hood of F1 22 This is where you’ll find the true replay value, the hundred-hour time sink. Core modes like Driver Career and My Team – which are still compelling, make no mistake – have seen modest feature additions and none that really alter their core gameplay loops. Still, Codemasters has responded to demands from its community with things like liveries for custom liveries; new data presentation that makes career practice programs more meaningful (for those who don’t care about tire temperatures); and new starting points for a created team. Players can now designate their fictional team as front runner, midfield contender, or bottom of the league before entering My-Team mode, affecting how much money they start with and how resilient their factory is.
Again, with the clear-the-deck effect of F1’s new car regulations, it’s at least narratively plausible that an entirely new team could top the chart in its first year. (Alfa Romeo and Haas, after all, reliably make Q3 and score in real life.) And for gamers who enjoy the classic tale of sports video game careers, F1 22 still has many switches and options to set up a long distance.
F1 22 also has a ton of new exposure opportunities – and the sport’s televised exposure is probably the main reason F1 22 has new fans who are curious about the game. Still, the improvements hardly convey the feel of the televised F1 shows that piqued their interest. Alex Jacques is a new English-language announcer for those tired of David Croft, and there’s a new race engineer – Marc Priestly, formerly of McLaren F1 – to replace the obnoxious fictional ‘Jeff’ from F1’s past. But both still read the same lines from previous games. There are “broadcast” options where you watch rather than control parts of the race such as formation laps and pit stops. But the commentary and camerawork don’t really justify relinquishing control, even for those in-between moments.
Less prominent for the overall experience are the new supercars and lifestyle presentation F1 22 Try. Supercars (street legal but very powerful cars from current F1 designers) are a nice change from time trials on a favorite track or in one of the Pirelli Hot Laps mini-games. But the novelty quickly wears off once you realize it’s a PvE-only experience. there is also no standard race with the supercars, not even against a CPU field.
Codemasters’ intention was to mimic the presence of these machines on a normal race weekend – where F1 drivers show up in the paddock behind the wheel of a Ferrari F8 Tributo, or scare a motorsport journalist to death with a ride-along official safety car. But the supercars that are a lot of heavier and slower than F1 or Formula 2 cars, yet fun in their own way, practically begging for their own multiplayer race (with an F1 car as the safety car, of course). After all, the Aston Martin DB11 is in both Gran Turismo 7 and ForzaHorizon 5. If Codemasters is looking to invade their turf with the Supercars, the studio’s initial offering for PlayStation or Xbox is nothing to fear.
Otherwise, there is little point in collecting or repainting them. At the very least, the supercars in each mode are only unlocked through playtime and not through microtransactions. And the kilometers required to unlock it are next to nothing for a dedicated F1 player testing their setups or racing full-length events. After two days of playing the game, I had unlocked seven of the eight. Players can place them in one of six bays of a virtual office/playboy hangout, which can also be decorated with items purchasable via the seasonal Paddock Pass or through in-game currency (purchased with real money). Multiplayer friends can visit and “like” your lifestyle hub, but that’s all it’s for. It is a non-interactive space and is not critical to the role-playing or narrative of the game’s career modes.
Nothing to complain about F1 22 lacks depth or is a reskin from last year’s game. There’s a lot of meat on the bone in the new cars and their handling, so modest inclusions and changes to long game modes can still make it all feel like a fresh experience. The challenge of understanding and setting up a whole new vehicle – knowing that no one on YouTube or the forums is really sure they’re doing it right either – is unique to this sports video game.
So the verdict is F1 22 should appeal to both hardcore fans who expect lifelike fidelity of vehicle performance, and more casually interested newcomers who approach this video game with a viewer’s curiosity. This blend of depth and accessibility is a tough needle for any sports developer to thread, and it rarely results in transformative work. F1 22 isn’t one, but it didn’t have to be one either – the development of new cars and the organic challenge of learning how to drive them at the limit was transformation enough.
F1 22 starts on July 1st PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox Oneand Xbox Series X. The game was verified on Xbox Series X using a download code provided by Electronic Arts. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. you can find For more information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy, click here.
https://www.polygon.com/reviews/23190060/f1-22-review-supercars-microtransactions-codemasters-ea F1 22 Review: New race cars shine, supercars are a dud