F1 2020 Review
Available July 10th on Xbox One, PS4 and PC
Version tested: Xbox One X
Another year has gone by and the usual yearly releases of sports games like Fifa and F1 are nearly here but is there enough added to this years new F1 2020 to make it worth the purchase?
I will admit straight away I am a massive F1 fan and always loved the games which allow us mere mortals to get some sort of experience of what it may be like to drive some of these amazingly fast race cars. The new F1 2020 standout feature for me is the additions to the career mode. The My Team addition has certainly made this game a must-buy!
The real star of the show My team in F1 2020 now allows the player to make a new team and take control of the 11th team on the grid. You will be the actual driver owner of the team and the amount of customisation Codemasters have added here is fantastic, players have the ability to create a driver, choose sponsors, select engine supplier and also hire a teammate which at the end of the season you will need to decide to offer them a new contract or go for a different teammate altogether.
Once you have your team it will be time to try and work your way up the grid, you will soon be able to build facilities and use R+D to develop the car to compete with the teams at the top including Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. Money is something that will need to really improve your team as with most things in life everything costs money! Money can be won in races and completing challenges set by sponsors but it’s very easy to spend it, new facilities cost big money and then there are all the monthly costs to keep the team running, as well as costs if you manage to damage your car over the race weekend. F1 2020 does a great job putting all this in the game and keeping everything interesting, it’s usually off track stuff that would bore me but here its so well implemented that its actually fun trying to improve your team.
Choosing a teammate is something you will need to do each year and eventually, if you progress enough you might be able to start taking some of the legends that are racing today, Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen racing by your side will really show how far you have progressed with the team but it will take a very long time before you can attract these drivers as they won’t even look twice at your team as you first start out in Formula One.
The career mode also gives the player the option to actually start lower than F1 and actually work your way up from F2. If you really want a challenge then this is the place to start!
Throughout the season the amount of realism is down to the player with the options in the game allowing you to choose things like season length with the number of races, choosing the amount you need to do on the race weekend with full practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.
The practice sessions are important to develop the car and there will be set tests for fuel management, tyre management, ERS etc. Each test if you manage to pass it will great R+D points for you to then use to develop the car from a skill tree selection. Some upgrades will fail but you are made aware of this by the failure percentage on the upgrade itself. If the upgrade fails you will need to try and develop the upgrade again but each thing you do will take time and you can only develop one thing from that section of upgrades so you can have four upgrades developing at a time.
During the races, you will need to manage your engine and as in real life the worry of reliability is a real factor to consider, components won’t last forever and if they are starting to wear you will be told to take it easy and have to back off before real damage happens. There is a set amount of new engines and gearboxes for the whole season so taking care of these components is crucial if you want to do well over the season.
The UI of F1 2020 is very clean and easy to use, this was even easy to navigate will a steering wheel setup and no controller. I would say as I did last year I think a steering wheel is a must for any real racing fan, while a controller will work it really doesn’t compare to a steering wheel setup. The setup process for the wheel is also very simple and takes seconds to get it right, force feedback was great and set up well straight away once I selected the wheel I was using, button mapping is also customisable so feel free to place the DRS or overtake button where best suits you!
Out on the track, the game looks and sounds fantastic, same as last year really but this isn’t a bad thing because in all honesty I really feel Codemasters do a fantastic job when it comes to visuals in their racing games, look at Dirt 2 for example and we honestly can’t wait to get our hands on Dirt 5 when that is released later this year!
The cars all look realistic and performance on the Xbox One X was flawless, no slowdown or anything even when there was a big selection of cars onscreen ploughing into the first corner!
Realistic sounds are also something that F1 2020 has got perfectly right, the new 2020 cars don’t sound as good as cars from the past but they do sound realistic to today and still sound good but the cars in real life not sounding as good is not the games fault at all. As you progress through the season you will sometimes be invited to events and be able to drive cars from the past, these things sound immense and really make you appreciate the amount of work and detail Codemasters has tried to fit into this game.
So visuals and sounds are great but what is the game like when it comes to actually racing? Fantastic! The AI difficulty can be adjusted to your preferred level and for the most part, the AI is really great at giving you a real challenge out on the track, other drivers will sometimes get a little rough or clip you but in most of the races I have done so far, they have pushed me all the way to the finish while being completely fair.
If you do manage to crash there is a rewind button which will please some players as having the option there is a bit of a bonus for the not so hardcore racer. Dirt 2 always got slated for not having one and the game really only appealed to hardcore racers rather than casual racers, F1 2020, however, seems to be tailored for everyone and once you learn the track there isn’t any reason you can’t be flying around with some of the best racers on the planet. Aside from the rewind button, there are options available to help with keeping you on the track, things like traction control, ABS and AI difficulty can all be adjusted to your own preferrence
This is where hardcore racers can be happy as well though because although you can tone things down and make things easier it’s also possible to really ramp things up to a very realistic level, turn all assists off and keep away from the rewind button and this racer is one brutal experience! The handling in the game seems to have improved and just feels fantastic as your setting fast sectors around your favourite tracks, the new Vietnam Hanoi track is particularly exciting to drive with twists and turns throughout leading into some really fast long straights.
Aside from my favourite My Team mode there are plenty of other modes to keep you busy if you do want to have a little break from building your team. Codemasters are clearly still pushing the Esports with F1 2020 and has online modes to pit yourself against others around the world, there is also a split-screen mode to allow couch co-op racing which I feel is another great mode to have included. I really do think Codemasters have done a fantastic job here and seem to have every base covered with even non-F1 fans probably finding something to like here.
Codemasters really have knocked it out of the park this year with F1 2020, the My Team mode is fantastic with plenty of options for you to manage and customise taking your team to the very top of motorsport. The visuals, sounds and performance are perfect and the game on the Xbox One X ran really smooth, the game from launch is clearly very well optimised. The handling out on track is perfect and exciting to drive, there are plenty of assist options to get the handling right for all players and to their own prefference. Aside from the very impressive My Team mode there is plenty of other modes to play including online Esports modes pitting yourself against some of the very best vitual racers out there. Some amazing new tracks including the Hanoi track in Vietnam which after racing there in the game I really can’t wait to watch the real thing later this year! The usual full roster of drivers, cars and teams are all here with extensive amounts of detail that we have come to expect from Codemaster with their F1 games. F1 2020 is a real achievement from Codemasters and just with the My Team addition it really is worth the annual upgrade from F1 2019, there is so much value in the game that I can see myself still playing this by next year and with the Series X coming later this year I can only imagine how well F1 2020 will play with the extra power of the Series X.
9.5 / 10
Code was provided free of charge for my honest unbiased review.
- My team mode is fantastic, new tracks are exciting to drive
- Fully licenced roster with impressive detail gone into the cars and the drivers
- Amazing visuals, sounds and performance
- Impressive and exciting handling
- Lots of replay value and other modes to play