Thursday 8 September 2016

F1 2016

There's a real sense of intimidating authenticity that follows the F1 games whenever it's brought up. A depth that requires constant focus and strategies as you monitor the status meters while also blistering around a race track. You've got to watch how you handle the car so you don't cause damage to it as the race goes on and a real test of endurance kicks in as gets closer to the finish. While that is present in F1 2016, the game offers a wide range of options that accommodates all players. What's most impressive is whether you are the type that plays the full weekend including practice sessions and full race length or you want a simple one-shot qualifying and 5 laps around the track, the game is equally as enjoyable and it's easily the best F1 game to date.

Developed by Codemasters and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, F1 2016 features a series of additions and improvements over F1 2015 which was the first F1 game to release on this generation of consoles. As it remains pure to the sport, there isn't a ton on content but includes everything you expect. The modes to be found here are your standard Career and Championship as well as Time Trials and Multiplayer.

The place you will most likely spend your time in is the Career Mode. You can pick any team you want and take on ten consecutive seasons to become the greatest there ever was. You can play this mode any way you like from length and number of sessions, and a myriad of assists to cater to your style and ability.

To keep things from getting stale, there are a number of additions to this mode. During the practice sessions, there are three challenges for you to compete in while you are also getting acquainted with the track or trying out different car setups. All of these challenges help you to improve at not only at racing in general but on the exact track too. You can do laps while a series of gates are displayed on the track to allow you to see the best race line to take. There is also a tyre management challenge to teach you how to be cleaner using the brake.

There are incentives to this as well as racing in general. Every positive thing you do will earn you resource points. These points will then be used to research new technology to improve your vehicle. Progressing up the ranks utilising these newly researched technologies is satisfying but should you pick the best teams, this mechanic's impact feels minimal to the extent where it can be entirely ignored. Gameplay is better than it has ever been. Vehicles feel smooth and fast and braking feels great. Driving your F1 vehicle in different weather conditions and even equipping different tyres all feel different. Driving on the wrong tyres in the wrong conditions will always be a recipe for disaster.

F1 2016 is also a really good looking game. Real-time reflections can be seen on the paintwork of the cars as well as the driver's helmet and there's some excellent texture work on the vehicle and roads. It's crisp, vibrant, and aims for a smooth 60 frames a second although it never really reaches those numbers. F1 2016 can also be a tense experience. You are going at speeds over 200 km/hr and one wrong turn, one delayed brake, or a simple miscalculation can result in the end of the race. This can be felt most though in multiplayer as there are no flashbacks that allow you to rewind time. Here is where you'll find the most satisfying mode but possibly also the most frustrating because other players can be complete jerks that run you off the road.

F1 games are usually for the purists and while that still is the case, the options available also make it one of the most accessible racing titles out there. Whether you want a leisurely stroll around the Australian circuit or perfectly feel every corner at full speed at Monaco, F1 2016 is the best the series has ever been.

A fantastic racing title for all players. 4/5

Jason Redmond

F1 2016 at CeX

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