As we're deep in the "dog days of Summer" with Autumn slowly looming its head, gamers are approaching the most wonderful time of the year. I am of course talking about Sports titles and their yearly inclusions as a cash grab to catch up with the current seasons. In recent years, Codemasters has been at the forefront of the games' development, being the official series for the F! championships. Like last year's F1 21, we cover F1 22 and give first impressions all things considered.
This is the first cover in the F1 series to not feature Lewis Hamilton, instead focusing on Mercedes teammate George Russell. Team Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Team McLaren's Lando Norris join Russell, with different covers depending on the console. The changes are subtle, but it ranges from "eSports pose" to "dynamic eSports pose." You know the pose, with their arms crossed looking intently at the camera. That pose. As I've already discussed last year's F1 21 in detail, I'll focus on what's new in comparison. Thus, this will be a shorter "first impression" than most.
The game begins with one of its newest additions, "F1 Life," which is a cute addition for those who like to customize things. In this mode, players can use their earnings to add furniture, and accessories, and edit their pad. The player can even choose a supercar to start with, slowly filling up their garage with Aston Martin Vanquishes and Ferrari F8 Tributo's. Already I feel like this was a wasted opportunity because collecting cars are fine. I wish I could actually drive them.
Before someone tells me "But Nay, this is an F1 game! If you want to drive supercars, play Codemaster's previous game, Grid Legends!" you're right. A couple of things though. I already covered Grid Legends in great detail I may add. I still stand by my statement that it's one of this year's most underrated games. Second, it's not the first time that players could drive cars different from their designated target. If I recall, NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup had the option to drive sports cars in off-sanctioned races as a bonus mode. Codemasters could have done a little something something, like a drag race, but purchasing super cars are good too I guess.
Last year's story mode is replaced with a generic career mode, yet the same attention to detail given to Grid Legends is seen here as well. The commentators are spot on, giving accurate and realistic analysis based on the time of the season and how it's progressing. Players can "create" their driver, picking from several presets, creating a name, a nationality, and finally the team to join. Although I've become educated in F1 and became a fan of Team Mercedes, I went with Williams as they are labeled as the underdog in this game.
One of the major additions to this game is the inclusion of tuning your vehicle. On race day, players can opt to enter drills known as Driving Challenges. These are made to assess the vehicle and add improvements on the fly. If the car is driven rough around hard corners, the pit crew will make comments to adjust the car's suspension. If the car isn't keeping consistent lap times, fuel management is also a suggestion. The relationship between driver and crew is improved in this game and it affects the actual racing itself.
The graphics in F1 22 are a step above 21 with upgrades to the weather system and the way the car feels. This game was made with next-gen in mind, something that can be understood from its lighting and fidelity. Even the player models look up to par with the car and track graphics. The only real negative I have is, of course being an EA Sports title, the game is bloated with "battle passes" and "bonus editions" that add cosmetics, poses, and victory animations.
I won't make this first impression post a long-winded rant about how much I dislike microtransactions but it's something that won't go anywhere of course. It doesn't take away from the fun I had in playing F1 22 and that's the best part about it. Who cares if you play on "casual" difficulty? Obviously, the game is not an arcade game but I will try my best to make it as easier for me as I possibly can. With cross-platform play currently in development, maybe F1 22 can break new ground as the game's lifespan continues through the year.
F1 22 is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S