F1 22 Review
The F1 22 season is in full swing, and with it, new regulation changes that have shifted the balance of the grid to surprising results over the course of the last 9 races. Or 10, if you’re reading this after Silverstone.
From a more casual point of view, the audience will continue to appreciate the exciting overtaking maneuvers, the grid shake-up, and even the occasional crashes here and there. F1-heads, on the other hand, would look to the new car models, the spec changes, and the technical jargon that would make your head spin off the Parabolica at Monza.
We could say the same for this latest installment from EA and Codemasters, putting out another stellar, yet overly familiar effort that’s accessible enough for newcomers but also deep and engaging enough for longtime fans of the series.
But, as with any annual sports release, one has to question though – is it worth the money to buy the game again after last year?
Just to get things out of the way – F1 22 won’t feel too different from last year’s installment. There are some obvious changes, like the removal of Braking Point, but overall, if you place both games side by side, casual enjoyers of the sport such as myself would have a hard time figuring out the differences.
As mentioned, the story mode of the game, called Braking Point last year, is now gone. Players looking forward to a story-based single-player campaign in F1 22 will mourn the loss of this feature, as did I, especially when the replacement is a lackluster customization hub called F1 Life.
F1 Life basically sets the player up in a hub where you can customize decorations, display your trophies and supercars, and even dress your player up. I understand where the feature is coming from, with these drivers becoming social media icons, but the implementation feels a bit raw thanks to the paltry selection of items and options that can be unlocked via the Podium Pass (think battle pass) and does nothing to enhance the overall experience of the game.
Speaking of supercars, these provide a bit of variety to the driving experience in F1 22. They can be driven on-track or during Pirelli Hot Lap challenges, which will test your skill a la license tests from Gran Turismo. They’re a good distraction for a few hours, but won’t really take over the main thrust of the game.
Visiting other players is possible if only to see how they decorated their crib and what supercars they have, but it doesn’t seem enough to merit replacing Braking Point.
Despite the loss of Braking Point, F1 22 still offers players a meaty career mode that will quench your thirst for single-player gameplay, whether it be through racing or managing the team. There are a ton of options that really showcase the various approaches you want to take – Skip or automate a practice session? Play only 5 laps per track? Take to the pits? The willingness of F1 22 to open up to newcomers is laudable, something that’s to be expected as the sport hits the mainstream wave thanks to Drive to Survive from Netflix.
F1 22 will feel very familiar for those that have played last year’s outing. A casual run through the tracks will appear to be very identical, but players versed in the ins and outs of the sport will feel the car changes reflected in the game.
There’s a certain level of added grip to the cars when turning, allowing players to push on the throttle with more confidence than normal. Straights feel faster than usual, so tracks like Jeddah will fill players with a rush of adrenaline as it becomes a huge push to the finish.
While these changes in F1 22 aim to replicate the real-life conditions, the gameplay doesn’t drastically change. In fact, going back to my point from earlier, casual players will hardly notice the difference. That’s not a fault of the game, which has almost perfected the core mechanics of racing an F1 car, so there will come a point that the devs may have to contend with diminishing returns when figuring out what to actually update on a yearly basis.
While the crowd and some track elements could use a little more love in the visual department, especially with the drivers looking like emotionless boards, the cars are absolutely stunning. The details of these machines are captured perfectly, down to the shade of deep red of the F1-75’s, and they look equally as good during gameplay as they do during the replays.
What We Liked:
- Fantastic and solid gameplay
- Visually impressive
- Slick and steady controls
- Depth of features is astounding
What We Didn’t Like:
- Braking Point replaced with Lackluster F1 Life offering
- Nothing radically different from the previous installment
Verdict: Wait for it.
F1 22 is in a bit of a strange situation because while it doesn’t add drastic changes or updates to the game, it still is the best F1 game out there that’s as easily accessible to newcomers as well as F1-heads looking for a deep experience.
One thing it adds is F1 Life, a lackluster experience when compared to Braking Point, which I would expect to make a return next year. Other than this, F1 22 will feel overly similar to last year, especially for casual players that won’t pay too much attention to the finer details and will simply enjoy the game for what it is – a fun and exciting racing experience.
F1 22 is far from a bad game, but its current offering this year features a laundry list of changes that don’t do too much to change the overall experience unless you know what to look for. Some will like the consistency while others will rue the lack of updates, and it will really depend on how much these mean to you when thinking of that eventual purchase.
*F1 22 was reviewed on a PS5 via a review code provided by the publisher.