With the F1 season well underway and excitement building for EA and Codemasters, the England-based developer was kind enough to invite me to the premiere F1 22 preview presentation. They spent a good hour delivering information about what is new, what has been improved, and why fans of the sport and series should be extremely excited for the latest iteration in the long-running franchise.
What’s New With F1 2022 (According To The Devs)?
- New Miami circuit, plus layout changes to the likes of Australia and Abu Dhabi.
- F1 Sprint events and the new era of Formula 1 cars with overhauled rules.
- PC VR functionality via Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
- Updated the physics to accommodate the new aero rules and reworked the tire model
- New ‘immersive’ and ‘broadcast’ options
- Adaptive AI lets less-experienced players take on the challenge, with AI racers tailored to match their skill level
As you can see, the F1 22 development team is trying to point out that this version goes way beyond just a simple upgraded driver roster and livery update. As I sat down with the developers of Codemasters, it was easy to see the excitement and feel the confidence with each new upgrade and enhancement for this year’s game.
Although the beta version of F1 22 was limited in what I could partake in, I was allowed to experience five different tracks, run a modified Grand Prix, and participate in Time Trial mode.
So, while I would love to dive deeper into the new feature list from above, the goal here is to relay information from my actual hands-on experience.
What I Like
As with any racing game, it all begins with how the race car performs on the track. The driving model utilized within the F1 franchise has always been exceptionally well done, but that doesn’t stop the developers from trying to refine it and bring it closer to the edge of reality. This was something the developers talked about during the presentation, and in my experience with the preview version of the game, you could feel the difference between the new release and F1 2021.
Those differences were felt primarily through the turns, where now if you find yourself out of the racing groove while cornering, you can feel the car pushing a greater degree than it ever has in the series. Add in the fact that it’s harder to get back into the groove in F1 22, and you have created a scenario in which it’s easy for the AI opponents to take over position maneuvering underneath you.
The one constant throughout my time with a preview version of F1 22 was that if I raced within the car’s ability, the reaction and control of the vehicle were exceptional. If I chose to push the car beyond what it was capable of regarding the track scenario, all bets were off.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot push your car at certain times during the race to take over position or to block, but you need to be smart about what you’re doing on the track and how you attempt it. I would not describe the car’s feeling on the track surface in F1 22 to be drastically different from what I felt in the previous iterations. Still, there is an improvement in both the physics of how the car reacts to the track, the opponent around it, and how the car responded to my choices behind the wheel.
If you have played the F1 franchise before, you know that the no developer does presentation better than those in Southam, England. They excel with quick-hitting and concise cutscenes that deliver a high level of authenticity and immersion, and F1 22 follows that same path but with some improvements. Although there are only five tracks included in the preview version of the game, each track shares the same presentation style. It’s a style that showcased the track, the city, the venue, and the drivers.
The quick-hitting splash screens and videos focused on each venue’s iconic locations. They gave insight and pertinent information about the city’s history, track, and critical areas of interest and concern in a flyover of each racing site. F1 22 offered up a refined visual presentation package that had me wanting more and added incredible depth to race weekend. There is more in store for us at full release, and based on what I witnessed in the preview build, that release day cannot arrive quickly enough.
As we saw this past weekend, the new addition of Miami to the F1 official circuit is well underway and will be part of the official schedule for at least the next decade. There were concerns about the track before the race, and while it required hours of focus by the drivers, race day in Miami turned out to be a winner both in terms of attendance and experience.
That experience translates perfectly into the new F1 game from Codemasters. From the vibrant colors, the replication of the tightly wound turns 11-15, and of course, the inclusion of the Dolphins stadium looming over the track like the forest moon of Endor. The experience for myself wasn’t all visual, of course, as I found ways to get three hours (plus) of track time just on the new Miami circuit itself.
I made it a point to get in multiple laps raced in-game before I watched the official race on television, and soon as the real-life race was over, I was back on its digital counterpart turning more laps. It was essential to compare and match both versions, and consider both the media and real-life drivers’ experiences and how they correlate to the recreation of the track in F1 22.
While I have no real-world experience at the new Miami venue, I can say that racing the track in F1 22 felt exciting, stressful, and above all else, fun. There were areas to pass, accelerate, and curves that required absolute perfection in execution to maintain or gain positions. With the new addition of Miami and the updates to Australia and Abu Dhabi, venue diversity is for the better, and F1 22 offers a wide array of different layouts that require different skill sets and approaches, which is a win in my opinion.
The full release of F1 22 from EA and Codemasters is slated for a July 1, 2022 release and will appear on both PC, Xbox Series X/S/One, and PlayStation 5/4. With the new additions of Miami, and upgrades to Australia and Abu Dhabi, participation in the latest version feels warranted. Lest we forget the new physics, adaptive AI, VR, sprints, and cross-platform capability, it is clear that Codemasters is looking to push the envelope again in terms of quality and depth.