As we kick off our 2020 Game Of The Year Awards, we will be starting with the racing genre. While 2020 was rough in most cases for most people, the video game racing genre did not disappoint. There was some stiff competition regarding our staff choices, but ultimately it was F1 2020 finding its way to victory lane over the likes of Dirt 5 and Assetto Corsa Competizione.
While I felt that Assetto Corsa Competizione was the best racing game last year, the staff overall went with F1 2020. While I may “disagree” with this, F1 2020 truly delivered an outstanding experience as well. For those of you who have not played F1 2020 and may not be fans of the sport in general, there are many aspects as to why Codemasters took home this award with the delivery of F1 2020.
Before jumping into that, I also want to shout out games like WRC 9, TT Isle of Man 2, and even Project Cars 3 as other titles that made 2020 a strong one for the racing genre.
What Makes F1 2020 So Great?
For starters, the accessibility factor with F1 2020 is extremely high, which is important with a sport that isn’t as popular here in the US as it is in the other parts of the world. That’s not an indictment of the sport itself, but it is important to note as the nuances of the sport are difficult to understand and follow because of unfamiliarity.
The developers did an amazing job of creating quick-hitting tutorials about all aspects of the sport on and off the track, and also created and delivered a difficulty system that allows for one to completely customize their experience and alter it as growth and experience take place.
Another aspect where Codemasters nails it is in the single-player career mode. There may be a few other games that match what F1 delivers regarding career mode, but in my opinion, none outdo it. F1 2020 allows you to start as an unknown and race your way into stardom, or with lack of success, find yourself hoping to catch on with another team.
Not only is it the officially licensed game with all the tracks, cars, and drivers, it also provides a true sense of ownership and involvement by having you help in the development of the team in the garage and pushing the team’s exposure off the track.
Continuing on with the awesome inclusions in F1 2020 is the online suite of options. Options include allowing players to try and one-up each other on global leaderboards (if that’s your thing), race in official races, or grab a few friends and include some AI in an online Grand Prix.
There is plenty to pick from if you’re an online type of person, and the game offers up enough to constantly keep the options fresh. This a trend that fans of the F1 series will see throughout the game, and it is an accomplishment for the developers.
Presentation is on lockdown when it comes to the F1 series as the developers of F1 2020 consistently knock it out of the park. While other game companies employ a similar effort and style, Codemasters is the reigning king in my opinion.
They do just enough to draw you into the world they created but not so much that being a participant becomes stale and mundane. Even the tutorials are quick and on point, and then they move on. The game does a great job also of displaying the difficulties and nuances of the track, showing you the drivers’ grid and weather, and off you go. It’s quick, it’s informative, and the game is always pushing you towards the action.
Finally, probably the most important thing is the fact the game delivers an amazing experience on the track, both in terms of driving and AI interaction. This is where being able to adjust and alter so many options becomes so important. The game allows you to adjust everything from weekend to weekend and session to session, and allows you to adjust the handling and AI difficulty on the fly.
It’s Not Perfect, But It’s Close
Not everything in F1 2020 is perfect as some of the career choices can seem odd and out of place. The developers also removed the story mode that coincided with career mode in previous versions, and the load times on previous-gen consoles can be a bit lengthy.
While the complaints about F1 2020 are minimal, they are worth mentioning.
F1 2020 beat out stout competition from the likes of Dirt 5 and Assetto Corsa Competizione, and in the eyes of many, rightfully so. That doesn’t discount those games, and if you have already had your fill of F1 2020 and haven’t experienced either of the other two, they are highly recommended.
Now, to the community vote…
Community Vote – Best Racing Game In 2020
- F1 2020
- Dirt 5
- Assetto Corsa Competizione
The community vote more or less mirrored the staff vote.
Dirt 5 is an arcade racer at heart but offers some incredible depth and variety, and on the next generation of consoles the graphics and FPS are a pure treat for the eyes.
Assetto Corsa Competizione is more of a simulation, but still offers a deep career mode and a wide array of other modes to keep you going. My only real issue with ACC is on previous console versions where the graphics are less than desirable, but the racing makes up for that.
The bottom line is that the racing genre is still trending upward and here’s to hoping that 2021 treats us racing fans as well as last year did. While the genre was loaded with talent, in the end, Codemasters delivered an incredible experience with F1 2020, and so make sure to add this to the rotation soon if you haven’t done so yet.
F1 2020 is available on PC, Xbox One, Series X, PS4, and PS5. Codemasters did not offer a next-gen upgrade, but having played it on both the Xbox Series X and PS5, F1 2020 performs and looks as good as it did on the previous-gen consoles.