Formula 1 has entered a new era for the 2022 season. The sport introduced a new car specification this year, complete with a new set of regulations governing how it can be used. There is a new track in the United States and a continuation of the sprint race format that is still in its infancy. Major changes for teams at the start of the season led to EA-owned Codemasters being redesigned the latest entry in the F1 game series to match the real-life updates on the track.
As studios typically do for these types of games, Codemasters advertises F1 22 as the “biggest overhaul” of the title in years. And with the debut of a new-generation car, it’s no exaggeration. Specifically, the company says handling is “better than ever” with upgrades to the aerodynamics and suspension simulation, plus changes to real-world tires. Codemasters says it has been in touch with both F1 and teams about how the new generation of cars would drive so it could completely overhaul the game’s mechanics and physics to reflect IRL racing.
In an effort to increase the realism of the game, Codemasters has traded the voice of the race engineer on your team for Marc Preistley, a former member of the McLaren Racing F1 crew. The studio went so far as to record Preistley’s accompaniment through a Formula 1 spec headset so that the audio is as authentic as possible. Further race day changes include Formation Lap and AR guided grid setup. Pit stops have been updated for real life speed and there is a timed pit box entry mechanism that affects the efficiency of your stop.
Practice sessions now include an AR projection on the track to help experienced drivers refine their lines as well as rookies to learn tracks. Additionally, both Formation Lap and safety car sequences allow you to actively participate or watch a more broadcast-style cinematic version of the process. Codemasters says this gives users craving authenticity the ability to work through every move of a race, but it also gives more casual gamers the option of something a little more relaxed. Pit stops are another area where things can be as active as you want them to be. You can hit your pit box manually with the timing mechanic or watch it from a TV-like perspective.
For beginners, there is a new Adaptive AI feature. Codemasters says this is built for users who are fans of F1 but may not be proficient in racing games yet. Essentially, the game’s AI interacts more closely with the user, allowing even a novice driver to participate in the race instead of struggling to keep up with the pack. Adaptive AI has two levels: standard and a more aggressive mode that slows down the game even more.
F1 22 will also add the sprint race format that Formula 1 adopted for certain weekends in 2021 and has continued this season. A short dash determines the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix at these circuits instead of traditional qualifying (quali is used to determine the grid grid for the sprint). Sprint races are part of the season in Imola, Austria and Brazil and they are also part of the game in those locations. F1 added a second race in the US in Miami this year, and that track will also be in the game. Codemasters has made changes in Australia, Spain and Abu Dhabi in line with updates to the actual tracks better suited to the new cars.
There are also changes for career or My Team mode. First, you can choose between three entry levels: newcomer, midfielder or title contender. You can start with a team that already has an established operation and a great driver, or you can make things more challenging. There are things like the possibility of skipping a job interview or not addressing a facilities issue, issues real team bosses deal with, that can affect how your season goes if you don’t handle them properly.
In My Squad you’ve had the option to customize your livery before, but Codemasters has expanded this area. There are more finishes for the car (gloss, metallic, matte, satin) and more places on the car that can be changed. Interface updates here allow you to copy and paste livery color schemes to places like your tech facility so you have a cohesive identity for your team.
F1 Life, the game’s new central hub, lets you see the supercars you unlock during gameplay (which can be controlled in secondary game modes), browse your trophy cabinet, and customize your driver’s driving style. There is a closet here where you can update both casual and racing clothes, right down to the helmet and gloves. F1 Life also serves as a lobby for multiplayer races, where your driver and their personal style will be visible to all. You even have the option to customize your “space” or living space where furniture, lighting, art and more can all be swapped out as you see fit.
Finally, there is a VR component for PC. This game mode allows you to race from the driver’s perspective, taking in the entire race from the cockpit. If you’ve ever seen a driver’s camera at a race, that should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect here. You can still race against friends even if they don’t have a VR headset as online play is still available for players who opt for the more immersive virtual reality option.
F1 22 will be available on June 28 as a digital Champions Edition on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC (Epic, Origin and Steam). The “regular” version will follow on July 1.
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