Review: F1 2017 — Simulation racing at its finest

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F1 2017 is a substantial improvement over F1 2016. Not only does the game look better than ever, but the biggest improvement has to be when it comes to the handling. Contrary to popular opinion, I’ve found past Codemasters games incredibly difficult to control. The handling always felt on the heavy side no matter what I did. I didn’t particularly enjoy Dirt 4 but F1 2017 surprised me. Before I began playing the game, I thought that I would have to wait until Forza Motorsport 7 to savor an exceptional simulation racing experience this year. For those who want to play a title which is truly captivating right now, F1 2017 is the way to go. Despite the fact that the career mode is a little strange due to its tenuous plot, the title is well worth the price of admission.

[shunno-quote align=”left”]F1 2017 is an exceptional racing simulator[/shunno-quote]

When you first start F1 2017, you’ll immediately notice the clear 1080p visuals and smooth frame rate. Codemasters invited us out to their London review event where we got a chance to ask the developers many questions. Unlike last year where F1 2016 ran at 900p, this year both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions run at 1080p 60 FPS. During my playthrough, I hardly noticed major frame rate drops as the game maintains 60 FPS almost all the time. This is a testament to the work the developers have put into their game to make sure it’s a joy to play on Xbox One. They even went as far as to alter the rendering technology so that it looks and plays great on Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro at checkerboarded 4K 60 FPS. Visuals on the more powerful consoles—particularly Xbox One X—should rival those available on PC.

Unlike a game like Dirt Rally or Dirt 4, the visuals aren’t muddy at all. I’ve had significant problems with those games on Xbox One because they always looked as though you were seeing the world though dirty classes. If there’s a fine layer of oil covering spectacles, it’ll result in everything you see appearing blurry. That’s how Dirt 4 looked to me in particular. Luckily, we’ve moved past that. F1 2017 could use a little bit more anti-aliasing but other than that you can’t fault the aesthetics. You get over the slight jaggy edges quickly. There’s definitely a photorealistic quality to the game as well. I would compare the visuals to Forza Motorsport 6 because they’re almost on that level. Those hoping for Forza Motorsport 7 or Project CARS 2 level graphics will be disappointed, but you’ll soon forget all about it once you’re behind the wheel of a powerful vehicle.

[shunno-quote align=”right”]The game offers an exhilarating experience every moment[/shunno-quote]

It appears that F1 2017 has a reworked physics system as well. Not only does this present its own unique challenges when you’re cornering, but it also results in an even thrilling experience. When you’re driving, you always feel like you’re on the edge of control. Some racing simulators punish you for making the slightest mistake, but F1 2017 gives you ample opportunity to correct that mistake. This is why no matter what you do, your heart is racing and you’re always focused. It’s been a while since a racing simulator drew me in like that. During every race, I never felt like I was wrestling with the controls. My success was due to my own skill, and so was my failure.

Another significant addition—quite possibly the most significant—has to be the inclusion of female drivers. Many gamers believe that adding female drivers is just about adding a new skin and calling it a day. However, that’s not the case. F1 2017 features commentary and a developed speech system. It took Codemasters almost three games to add the option in because of this complication. However, I’m glad they did because you can make the game your own. Being able to customize the gender of your character may seem trivial, but goes a long way to enhance a title because it’s just that much more personal.

[shunno-quote align=”left”]F1 2017 looks as good as Forza Motorsport 6[/shunno-quote]

F1 2017 also featured an enhanced career mode but I feel that it comes across as a little odd. For example, the voice acting isn’t quite on the level of what we expect and certain cutscenes seem forced, especially your first interaction when signing a contract. As finicky as this sounds, I would’ve preferred a more traditional structure. While the added nuances in the career mode don’t detract from the experience, they could be better.

When I play a racing simulator, I like playing alone. However, we were fortunate enough to test out the multiplayer component and it’s solid. You can race with friends and it’s always a blast. I wish F1 2017 had a feature like Drivatars from the Forza franchise because they can become topics of conversation. Not only that, seeing your friends race alongside you in a manner similar to how they actually race improves engagement. The game needs to adopt the power of cloud computing.

[shunno-quote align=”right”]This is a must-buy for any racing fan[/shunno-quote]

I could go on and on about F1 2017 but the fact is that it’s an amazing racing game. No matter if you’re new to the genre or a seasoned player, there’s something for everyone. I wish features like commentary and added dialogues were part of the Forza franchise because they make you feel like a real race car driver. Despite its slight flaws, everything comes together for a wholesome package. This is definitely a recommended one in my book. Be sure to check it out when it launches for Xbox One on August 25.


Xbox One

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