Important before reading this review, I played on a controller I don’t have a race set-up. I am 100% sure that having a neat steering wheel makes F1 2020 even more fun to play but I haven’t tested that and can’t provide feedback about that. If you don’t really follow Formula One racing then you absolutely don’t know that this is actually a team sport. In the news, all you see is Hamilton this, Hamilton that but there is so much more than that, with this year’s F1 version Codemasters really brings an emphasis on that with a new mode called My Team. This is a fantastic racing experience and I am glad that the partnership with Codemasters and FIA Formula One World Championship (F1®) was renewed for 2021 until 2025. There isn’t s single racing studio, not even Turn 10 or Playground games that could deliver a better F1 racing game. Continue to read to find out why!
What we liked!
- Real F1 drivers playing F1 2019 because of Covid was a blessing for the franchise: Obviously Covid has been a disaster for everyone but we have to stay positive and find positives. This is exactly what happened for this franchise, real-life drivers embraced the game to battle it out in virtual races and the feedback from them made F1 2020 a much more realistic game. The handling feels much more real and the behavior from the cars is far less unexpected. I have never played a racing game before with such a great controller feeling. You can make adjustments if you want or for the first time ever use the casual mode. The casual mode makes sure that everyone can enjoy racing laps, it is like playing with a cheat mode on but I appreciate Codemasters for making it as accessible as possible.
- Is this real? Most of the time you think you are looking at the real thing. With Xbox One ending his generation, it is absolutely crazy how fine F1 2020 looks on this old hardware. I don’t dare to imagine how things are going to look on Xbox Series X but Codemasters did some magic here. It is spectacular and every detail is accounted for. From drivers that look like the real thing, crowds that look scary real, perfectly recreated circuits, or even all the camera effects that look like an official F1 race.
- Hearing those engines roar is incredible: Nailing engine sounds might sound easy but many racing games prove that it isn’t so. F1 2020 sounds just as you would expect, talking with your engineers while driving for example is really impressive and every car effect pops realistically. I might not have paid attention before but the crowd reactions seem new too and add in the overall immersion package.
- Circuits: As with everything the real-life F1 has been struck by Covid, eight races have been postponed and popular circuits like Monaco have been canceled. Luckily F1 2020 has all 22 races with two new additions Hanoi and Zandvoort. That last one will be familiar with my Dutch-speaking readers! All of them are recreated with careful attention and as I am from Belgium it is very neat to virtual race in Spa-Francorchamps again!
- New mode My Team: Be a driver AND the team owner. It was a logical step but I never expected that it would be this well designed. It gives players an excellent time consuming and thrilling single-player experience. Driving well on the track is one thing but making a team from scratch and making all the decisions is another. Taking care of your finances, improving your co-driver and team, creating a look for your team, choosing sponsorships and making sure goals are accomplished, investing in your R&D department, Organising the calendar with team activities, and much more … My team is a robust new mode that makes the longevity of this game completely insane. More importantly, don’t like managing? You still have the traditional career mode with F2, regular championship modes, best time modes, and guess what makes a return too … split screen racing with a friend!
- Online play: I have to be honest, I have never played a lot of F1 online in the past for one main reason: idiots. You have them in every racing game but I always had the impression that more than half of the online players didn’t mind crashing or playing it in other ways to annoy the heck out of me. This is a shame because content-wise it delivers a lot, custom lobbies make sure that you can play whatever you want and the esports section provides for enough reason to keep playing.
- Michael Schumacher Edition: It is a shame that they decided to lock Michael Schumacher and his legacy behind an additional paywall, without a doubt Schumacher is the most famous driver of all time. I get it, the regular version is knee-deep in content but I am sure that everyone really wants what the Michael Schumacher Edition provides. It is a great package with Michael as an avatar, his most famous cars and liveries, or helmets that you can use online. It adds more to the game but considering his status and his current real-life situation I would have preferred that everyone could use him, and not being locked behind an extra €10.
What we disliked
- It is a little silly but the same faces AGAIN: I have been seeing the same engineer or interview part faces for over four years now. Maybe a new face might make it feel a little bit more fresh. But seriously Codemasters I just needed something to write here…
F1 2020 is one of the greatest racing experiences that you can play, Codemasters created a masterpiece here. From the new My Team content and regular old-school split-screen racing everything is done with the utmost attention. It looks fantastic, it plays fantastic, F1 2020 is fantastic.