F1 22 Review: Laying the foundation, but failing
F1 22 – out July 1 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X – delivers a high-octane simulation racing experience with updated car and track physics. Codemasters – who have been at the helm of the F1 franchise for over a decade – aren’t letting their hearts drop in F1 22. New car models feel more responsive than last year, tracks have been faithfully adapted, and the cars have a mesmerizing sound that spins around the tracks. Minor adjustments have also been made to My Team mode to make it more appealing to returning players.
But it’s the surrounding package of F1 22 that is a major disappointment. Like all the other EA Sports games that come out with annual sequels, F1 22 also suffers from a lack of polish and any major revisions to its formula.
The absence of last year’s cinematic campaign – “Braking Point” – is definitely felt. Its replacement – “F1 Life” – is a dull addition that only exists to justify the presence of microtransactions in the game.
The addition of supercars to F1 22 adds nothing spectacular to the game and looks poorly executed. Instead, Codemasters could have taken this opportunity to include classic cars and tracks that fans of the franchise have been clamoring for.
F1 22 review: Gameplay and graphics
That said, things on track are sharper than ever. The new cars for the 2022 Formula 1 season are apparently more responsive than last year, offering a new challenge for veteran players without being extremely difficult to master. Still, there’s a steep learning curve – newcomers will have to sink in several hours to get to grips with the basics of F1 22’s driving mechanics. The AI doesn’t make it easy either. I found the AI to be extremely unforgiving in tight turns; recklessly collide with my car if I pinch space.
Do not worry ! The F1 22 developer has included a plethora of driver aids and customization settings giving players the ability to personalize their racing experience. If you are new to the game, you can increase the driving aids without reducing the difficulty of the AI to make it even harder. The trusty Flashback feature is also present, allowing you to go back and resume from an earlier point in the race, in case you manage to crash or lose your position.
In F1 22, players can now also control their car during formation laps, pit stops and safety car periods, greatly improving immersion. The general presentation could also have benefited from such adjustments. In case you end up on the podium, you’ll be treated to the same cutscenes featuring your pre-equipped celebration. As the novelty wore off, I was inclined to mostly ignore those monotonous cutscenes. Perhaps we could have had manual celebrations similar to EA Sports’ FIFA titles.
Codemasters stuck with the Ego Engine 4.0 for F1 22. Now almost seven years old, it has started to show its age. That’s not to say the game looks shabby, but it does lag considerably behind other modern racers like Dirt and Forza. Nothing stands out visually in F1 22 – effects like rain and weather changes are treated the same as its F1 2021 predecessor. Even car crashes look visually similar, with comically suspended tires sliding through the bodywork of the car.
However, the good side of the Ego Engine is that it doesn’t require a high-end PC build to run smoothly at high settings. I was averaging over 60fps with ultra high graphics settings at 1080p resolution on my PC on F1 22.
F1 22 review: new additions
The first time you fire up F1 22, you’re greeted with the new F1 Life feature – a sort of hub area designed to mimic the lavish lifestyle of an F1 driver. Other players can visit your hub area, but I don’t really see F1 Life getting any form of traction with the playerbase.
You can choose from a handful of decorative items and unlock supercars to display. And that’s about it. Unlocking supercars isn’t even a challenge, and there aren’t that many at the moment. I was able to unlock six of the 10 available within the first few hours. You can then take these supercars to the track for time trials or Pirelli Hot Laps. But, compared to the nimble F1 cars, the supercars don’t offer the same sense of speed that the F1 22 otherwise offers. This could have been the perfect opportunity to bring back some classic F1 cars – a much-requested feature from fans.
F1 22 review: career and multiplayer
Career mode is where the meat and bones of F1 22 reside. You can choose to start as a driver in search of the Drivers’ World Championship – starting in F2 and earning your place in Formula 1 , or by being directly part of the Formula 1 starting grid. Here you have the possibility to switch between practice sessions, adjust the duration of the race and even schedule a Sprint race before the last day racing, if you feel like it. There are plenty of options here to tweak your racing experience.
In F1 22’s My Team mode, things get even more interesting when you set up your racing team to compete for the Constructors’ World Championship. This time you get three entry points – Newcomer, Challenger and Front Runner.
The Front Runner entry point allows you to hire the best riders and expand your facilities to instantly become title contenders. This is a great addition for returning players in my opinion who have already taken their mid or bottom teams to champions in previous games. Newcomer and challenger in F1 22 requires a bit more work as you invest in research to improve your car and hire better drivers.
That’s where F1 22 Departmental Events can be your ally – they’re random events that allow you to make critical decisions about your team’s drivers, marketing, development, sponsors, and more. Each decision can give your team a short-term boost or have lasting effects that can even be discussed in in-game interviews. This feature adds more depth to My Team and its potential effects keep you honest while in making these decisions.
All the modes you would expect from a multiplayer racing game are also present in F1 22. There are ranked and unranked races, weekly events and online leagues to keep you coming back. The online racing experience was relatively smooth overall for me. I experienced stuttering and lag in a few runs even with good ping, but there was nothing groundbreaking about it for the most part.
And I’m glad Codemasters didn’t forget split-screen mode in F1 22, allowing two players to play on the same system. Additionally, you can start a racing career with another friend, where both of you can either join the same team or sign individual contracts with any team you choose.
F1 22 has a solid foundation and lots of different modes to keep you coming back to. Whether solo or online, you are not short of choices.
F1 22 review: final verdict
Considering all of this, F1 22 feels more like a pit stop than a podium. “F1 Life” is simply uninteresting and the supercars are out of place. Codemasters is apparently laying the groundwork for future titles with this game. But on its own, the game needed more content.
Despite its flaws, F1 22 still manages to deliver an exhilarating on-track experience that will leave any fan of simulation racing games more than satisfied. More casual gamers might struggle at first as they try to get to grips with the mechanics of the game.
If you already own F1 2021, there aren’t any exciting new additions for you here – even the ‘Braking Point’ story mode is missing. I recommend that you wait for next year’s entry.
But if you insist on checking out how new cars behave or if you’re just hoping to buy an F1 game for the first time, I think you’d be better off waiting for the game to go on sale. (Or get the EA Play Pro subscription on PC). F1 22 is a solid simulation racing game – it just isn’t worth the full price tag.
- Immersive simulation racing
- Positive updates from My Team
- Improved car and track physics
- Does not require high-end hardware
- Always-on co-op and split-screen modes
- Accessible to new players
- F1 Life seems pointless
- Lack of finish in the presentation
- Glitchy car crashes
- Shoehorn Microtransactions
- Supercars a missed opportunity
- No sequel to Braking Point
Score (out of 10): 7
We played F1 22 on a PC with a 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-3470 processor, 8GB AMD RX570, and 8GB of RAM.
On PC, you can buy F1 22 on Steam and Origin from Rs. 2,999. F1 22 starts at Rs. 3,999 on PS4 on PS4 and Xbox One, and Rs. 4,499 on PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. Disc versions cost the same.
F1 22 is available as a limited trial with EA Play subscription across all platforms which costs Rs. 315 per month. EA Play Pro, only on PC, comes in at Rs. 999 per month.
Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, in our CES 2023 hub.
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