Read our review of F1 2020 on the PlayStation 4. Does it sit on the front row of the grid or is it stuck behind the safety car?
I am a massive F1 fan but I rarely play F1 games and I am not sure why. I was addicted to Formula 1 ’97 on a PlayStation demo disc I had back in the day but have not played a massive amount since. I have played bits and bobs here and there but driving games are few and far between for me. They have to have something slightly distinctive or special to entice me away from my normal video game genres.
What enticed me to review F1 2020 was the ‘My Team’ mode I saw in the trailer. You get to manage your F1 team from the very top to the extreme bottom, it has a slight RPG feeling to it with your upgrade trees and performance upgrades and it really took my fancy. Everything from finances and contracts to car setup and development is yours to command.
You are the team owner and the main driver and I really enjoyed watching my team rise up the ranks, improve incrementally and eventually, take on the top teams of the sport. You start by creating your own driver, which there are not enough customisation options for my liking but hey, you can’t have everything. Then you move on to design your car livery, badge and name your team that you will hopefully nurture towards the F1 title.
From there you can customize what kind of season you want and how difficult you want your experience to be. There is a vast range of assists, options and tweaks you can make which is excellent. It means every F1 fan, no matter their skill level can take part and be successful. I altered my settings over a couple of race weekends to get the AI and difficulty to a level that was challenging but not punishing and it was both entertaining and satisfying.
I really loved the flow of the race weekends. You have 3 practice sessions, which are mostly used to adjust your car setup and get used to the track but, in order to keep things fresh, there are various programs you can complete for your team. The programs vary from fuel setups to qualifying practice and they all award you with research points. These programs make the practice sessions fly by and make sure you really acclimatize to each track layout.
Your research points can be used to both upgrade your various sub-teams and research new parts for your car. While playing My Team you must balance many things, you must constantly make sure your team is happy and make sure you are researching the latest car upgrades. The last thing you want is to be left at the back of the grid. Even things like your interviews factor into this, your answers while in these interviews affect your team morale, your acclaim and it’s nice for these little events to mean something.
Right, let’s get down to the racing; it’s brilliant and very rewarding. It is so thrilling to execute a race weekend to perfection or, on the other hand, recover from a mistake and win a race. I remember qualifying on pole, leading for a while then getting stuck behind a safety car. Everyone else pitted but I stupidly did not. After my pit stop, I was at the back of the field and it was so much fun scything back through the field to take the win. I have not gripped a Dual Shock 4 that hard for a while. It was so intense, a single mistake and you lost everything.
There were the normal racing incidents along the way, I mean, if Lance Stroll gets in my way once more I am going to walk down the pit lane and lamp him! There were many sessions where I lost money due to quite a few front wing replacements but what can I say? It’s racing and I like to race and what are a few front wings between friends? Oh, and while I am on the subject, how did Kevin Magnusson get the drive of the day when I drove a blinder? It’s media bias, I tell you. I think I may have got into this team management stuff a bit too much.
It was also funny hearing my name, or not my name as the case may be. You can pick and audio name that the commentators call you and there was not a Sebastian in the list, which is weird because one of the drivers is actually called Sebastian. So I picked ‘the Scientist’, it was brilliant hearing the commentators say “The running order is Bottas, The Scientist and then Hamilton.” It made me chuckle every time. I am a big child but I entertain myself so leave me be.
Along with the My team mode, which I adored, you have your normal stable of modes. Career, Grand Prix, Championships and Time Trials make up the bulk of the single-player stuff. The game also comes with a plethora of multiplayer modes, which includes Split Screen, which I am eternally grateful for. In an era of online multiplayer, it seems split-screen modes are fading away. There is something really fun about sitting next to a friend and racing together. It’s old-school and I like it. More game should have local multiplayer modes, I miss them.
I played a little multiplayer, with it being a review not many people were playing but I did get a few races in. It was fun but as I said above, not as fun as locally playing with a friend. Also included with F1 2020 is a massive Esports section, which is something I would never get into but it is a nice touch for those who are interested. There are leagues, weekly events and an all manner of online goodies and I would be here all day if I talk about all of them. All can say is that F1 2020 is a complete package, with a mode to suit every type of driver.
Graphically F1 2020 is good but it did not wow me in any way. I have a PlayStation 4 Pro and play on a 4K monitor and while the game looked good. I did not get the wow factor that I have had with some other games. At the end of the day though, graphics are far down my list of important things when playing a game and F1 2020 is a blast to play, so it matters very little. The music and sound design are great with real ex-F1 drivers and commentators lending their vocal talents to the game. I also thought all the sound effects were bang on and really hammered home the authenticity of the title.
Performance-wise, I had zero issues. Not a single frame-skip or crash and I was left to get stuck into managing my new F1 team. Even when the on-screen action was chaotic, the game kept pace and ran very well. All in all, I had a great time with F1 2020 and will keep playing far into the future. I still need Hawden F1 to dominate the sport and dominate the sport they will. I want to beat Schumacher’s title record, I won’t do that sat here lollygagging with you lot, will I?
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