I’m a total novice when it comes to Formula 1. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played my fair share of racing games in my many years of gaming, but Formula 1 has never really been for me. I think the last time I actually sat and played a F1 game was back on the PlayStation 2 all those years ago, and only because my Dad had bought the game for himself. It didn’t really sit with me back then, but these days I’m a little more open towards new experiences.
F1 2019 does a great job at getting newcomers involved, though it’s not strictly through its gameplay. The career mode starts off with you taking part in Formula 2 racing where there’s a bit of drama and story involved. Not much story, mind you, but having a couple of competitors and rivals that make their presence known during the game’s cutscenes certainly adds a bit of flavour to the game. It was this that got me interested and kept me pushing forwards in the hope of seeing a podium bust-up with champagne being poured down someone’s racing overalls. It didn’t happen, unfortunately, but maybe in F1 2020…
You start off as a rookie but soon make your way up to the main stage of Formula 1. Do well in the Formula 2 challenges and you’ll be able to take your pick when it comes to signing a contract with the big manufacturers. The rivalry continues with your fellow F2 drivers, though it does fizzle out. It’s a shame that the drama didn’t continue in the same way it started, but it’s a move in the right direction. I was invested and I wanted to beat that snobby prick who though he was God almighty on the race track. This is how you get newcomers and lapsed players back into F1 – create a bit of rivalry from the off and get us racing for a good reason.
That’s just a small part of the game, though, and the main course is, obviously, the actual racing. It’s tough if you’ve spent years drifting around in arcade racers. This isn’t Driveclub or Need for Speed, and that’s something I had to learn quickly. Precision and timing are everything, and the brakes aren’t just there to pull mad spins on the corners. Well, you can’t really pull mad spins on any of the corners in F1 without getting a bollocking from the pit boss, but that’s beside the point.
These cars are made for pure speed. You’ll be blistering down the straights at near 200 miles-per-hour, where the slightest cock-up can ruin the race. I quickly learned that braking is essential, and timing is everything. Also, you’re not allowed to ram other racers off the track. That’s a big no-no. You actually get punished for doing so. I know. I was surprised, too, but thems are the rules…
It took a bit of time for me to come to appreciate the discipline that comes with F1 racing, but once I shook off the arcade racer shackles, I actually really enjoyed it. The races can be a bit tedious in length, but at the same time I was always competing against myself, trying to get my best lap in before the race ended, or trying to nail a tricky corner that keeps on sending me into the gravel.
F1 2019 is an intense game, and not just on the track. You need to manage your car, which means fine-tuning it and optimising your machine for different seasons, weather, and race tracks. It’s a bit much for an idiot like me, but thankfully the game does include some quick options so you can get back out onto the tarmac without getting hung up on things you don’t really understand. I’m not gonna lie – I didn’t understand half of the technical terms being thrown at me, but I imagine it’s a wet-dream for F1 lovers.
I’m not overly familiar with the other F1 entries over the last few years, so I can’t really say if it’s an incremental upgrade over last year’s release or not. All I know is, I enjoyed it, and I can’t stand watching F1 on the telly.
There’s a full multiplayer suite for those looking for an extra challenge, though I’d argue the A.I is more than enough for me. I didn’t win many races but I didn’t come dead last. Much. I still had a good time zipping around the tracks and I actually felt quite accomplished when I did get a podium finish under my belt. Not first place, but third isn’t too bad, is it?
Graphically, F1 2019 impresses. I played on PS4 Pro, mind you, but I can’t see it being much different on the regular PS4. The game’s got a gorgeously vivid look to it that, at times, fools the eye into thinking you’re watching the Sunday races on BBC 2, even more so during replays.
Will I continue my fledgling F1 career? Maybe. It won’t be my go-to racer, but when I’m in the mood for an intelligent racer that actually challenges me, I can see myself plonking down for an afternoon of F1 2019. I really am an old man now…
Oh, one last thing – you’ve constantly got someone in your ear telling you where you are in the race and giving you updates on your car’s damage etc. Using the circle button you’re able to open up a menu while you race, and one of the options is “Shut up, Jeff.” I loved this. I even got an achievement for using it. That’s a winner in my book.
F1 2019 PS4 Review
F1 2019 is a cracking racer that demands you use your head a little. You can’t just smash your way to first place, as I learned the hard way. There’s a deep career mode with more depth than a racer has any right to have, as well as an online suite to suit every competitive racer.
- Genuinely challenging gameplay that forces you to improve incrementally.
- Great graphics.
- Surprisingly good voice acting and motion capture during cutscenes.
- Plenty of cars, tracks, and general content.
- You can tell Jeff to shut up, and he does.
- The drama could have been hammed up a little more and I wouldn’t have minded in the least.
- Punishingly difficult at times with A.I seemingly being driven by Lewis Hamilton on MDMA.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)