F1 22 Review – Hammer Time
With one of the biggest changes in Formula 1 racing in over a decade taking place this season, it’s not surprising that the recreation in Codemasters F1 22 focuses on the basics. It’s easy to look at this year’s entry into the F1 series and only see incremental improvements, with a clear focus on how the fast cars handle tight turns and translate the authenticity of the new regulations to the players in a tangible way. The focus on small but important adjustments means that the F1 22 as a whole feels a little trimmer than last year’s version, but it is still a worthy successor due to how well it makes every corner feel in this new era of F1 racing.
If you are not aware of how extensive the changes in real-life Formula 1 racing this season have been, there are only a few points that cover the big picture. The cars are heavier this year, with the minimum allowable weight raised to accommodate a number of aerodynamic changes and rules, many of which focus on strengthening tighter racing that is less affected by downforce losses (that is, the amount of grip). you have on a track) experienced when following other cars. Many of these changes are represented on the underside of each car, with a ground effect that now sucks cars closer to the track as they drive at extremely high speeds. This makes fast, swinging turns feel easier to navigate, but also means that more sharply angled turns taken at lower speeds are monumentally more challenging.
Just as the changes have made this Formula 1 season tempting to watch as drivers discover the new boundaries of these cars around familiar circles, the F1 22 is a reset of your own understanding of racing in the game. Tracks with tight harassment, such as the streetcar in Baku or the classic in Monte Carlo, are even more insidious to navigate, with each slow corner feeling as if it requires too much control of the new chassis. Conversely, courses with long, fast turns, such as the sweeping Maggotts and Becketts corners at Silverstone or the long straight courses at Monza, feel much easier to manage. The changes are so powerful that I often found myself adjusting the difficulty of the opponent’s AI between each of these events to compensate for my very varied performances, where I could be a full second ahead on one track and then struggle to get off the field. . first session with qualification on another.
In this way, the F1 22 can feel far more revolutionary than what is visible on the surface. If you return to the series after last year’s entry, this year’s driving model offers more than enough in the form of meaningful changes to make the learning of each track feel like a satisfying challenge again. This is especially true if you are used to racing around circles with many of the game’s assists off, such as traction control. The weight of the new vehicles and the temptation to regain control from the understeer test your patience on the throttle, making even the average auxiliary setting difficult to get comfortable with. F1 22 hits the mark of recreating the challenges that drivers in the real world have faced with these rule changes.
The downside of this new challenging driving model is the return of the many, many settings that allow you to change the F1 22 to an experience you can enjoy regardless of skill level. Numerous assists, such as steering and braking aids, traction control and ABS braking, can drastically reduce the number of items you have to think about as you enter each corner. Having them all offered independently also means you can mix and match to find the perfect balance, while changing the AI difficulty of keeping things authentic. New for this year’s entry is the addition of an adaptive AI setting, which keeps other cars close enough for consistent overtaking if you’re less focused on nailing each lap to keep gaps small.
Additional mechanics for formation rounds and pit stops give you more freedom of action even in these crucial moments. You can angle your car on the grid slightly to one side to give you an edge into the first corner from the start, for example, or turn on a new broadcast mode to give the formation round a more cinematic feel. Pit stops are given a similar treatment, with a button message and your reaction speed that determines the time you get (or lost) in the pits. In the same way, this can also be changed to an automated broadcast-like sequence, which does not require input at all. Given the explosion in popularity that Formula 1 has recently experienced, these auxiliary settings and new mechanics (although not entirely new) are even more important for a new audience that is potentially coming to the beginning of the year.
An omission from last year is an iteration of the story mode, Braking Point. In F1 2021, this mode mapped the emergence of a new driver in the sport, mimicking much of the off-track drama and real-world decision-making that has made TV series like Drive to Survive so compelling. Without it, F1 22 feels as if it has significantly less content than last year’s entry. It still has the two excellent, distinct career modes, one where you only have the tasks of one driver and the other where you have to manage a team, but these feel all too familiar if you are hoping for something fresh. Some small adjustments are welcome, such as being able to start your My Team career with a budget large enough to fight for the championship from the start, but they are at best iterative. There is nothing wrong with any of them, and I still enjoyed balancing budgets for the best technical benefits on the pitch with my own custom team. It’s just that Braking Point was a real step forward for the series last year, which made the omission this year deep.
With Braking Point gone, the only major addition to the F1 22 is the F1 Life, and it pales in comparison in almost every way. F1 Life is a social space, but is almost more of a glorified menu backdrop, showing the first-class lifestyle that so many F1 drivers enjoy by recreating it in a digital showroom with cars, trophies and expensive furniture. Other players you have met online will dynamically jump in and out of this space, while you can manually inspect your friend’s sites by visiting them. The options for decorating these areas are incredibly limited, but only a handful of supercars that you can buy with tokens in the game (earned by completing mileage in races) are available to display. F1 22 has a battle-pass-like system for extra cosmetic items, from F1 Life exhibits to new clothes for your avatar, but many of its best pieces are trapped behind a paid level that feels eerie given how little there is to offer for a full-price game which already feels lacking in content compared to last year.
The same supercars are also replacements for previous classic Formula 1 cars that were available in previous registrations, and the ways you can drive them are also very limited. Supercars can not be used in specially adapted races, but only in special events such as one-off laps or drifting zone events. After experiencing the technically narrow driving model of the Formula 1 cars, these supercars, which include a number of popular alternatives from Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes, never feel as responsive or satisfying to drive. Apart from the occasional special events that have been through each of the game’s career modes, I did not find myself looking for more ways to experience these cars other than showing them in the showroom, which makes the omission of classic Formula 1 cars more apparent.
It makes sense that in a year where Formula 1 has changed so much, most of the focus for F1 22 has gone to recreating the amount of regulatory changes to provide the expected authentic racing experience the series has become known for. In this regard, the F1 delivers 22, and offers a satisfyingly challenging way to break these extreme racing machines around every track on the Formula 1 calendar. It is in the omissions and deficient additions where F1 22 falters somewhat, with less content than last year’s entry and a paid match pass-like system that locks away many cosmetic items behind a payment wall .. There are a few rare missteps for a series that has been consistent great for so long, but luckily it delivers in high-octane action on the track, where it matters most.