F1 2019 is a Formula One simulation racing game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Formula 1 is the absolute pinnacle of motorsports with the first-ever F1 season taking place across seven races for the World Driver’s Championship in 1950 following the formation of rules and standards in 1946 which followed a period in which F1’s premise was shelved due to World War II, while the introduction of the World Constructor’s Championship came in 1958. F1 2019 is the official game based upon the 70th season of the sport, although there have been many F1 games that were not officially licensed to a particular season dating back to the arcade game F-1 that was developed and published by Atari in 1976. The first F1 game on PlayStation was the brilliant Formula 1 by Psygnosis in September 1996, while some F1 games had driver endorsements such as Nigel Mansell’s Grand Prix and Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II, although not every officially licensed F1 game has been set within that year’s season as the PC game Grand Prix Legends was released in 1998 yet is dedicated to the 1967 season. What can Codemasters’ F1 2019 creatively bring to the table in order to elevate it beyond their previous efforts and what has went before it from Psygnosis, MicroProse and EA Sports?

F1 2019 features all of the official licenses for the 2019 F1 season which comprises of 21 tracks situated in various locations around the world including: Melbourne, Australia; Sakhir, Bahrain; Shanghai, China; Baku, Azerbaijan; Barcelona, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Montreal, Canada; Paul Ricard, France; Spielberg, Austria; Silverstone, Britain; Hockenheimring, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Spa, Belgium; Monza, Italy; Marina Bay, Singapore; Sochi, Russia; Suzuka, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; Texas, USA; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, the alternative short circuit track layout situated at Bahrain International Circuit; Silverstone Circuit, Britain; Suzuka International Race Course, Japan; and Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.

F1 cars have been updated in their design to reflect the redesigned front wing aerodynamics, while liveries have been updated to the start of the 2019 season to reflect new sponsorship deals such as Aston Martin’s partnership with Red Bull including Aston Martin’s branding situated on both sides of the front wing and rear wing on Red Bull Racing’s F1 car. A new showroom feature allows the player to pan, zoom and rotate the camera around any F1, F2 or classic era car included in F1 2019, alongside a specification, history and description of the car and team, while selecting a car produces stunning cinematic panning close-ups of any car in F1 2019.

An exhaustive quantity of driver line-up changes on F1’s grid for the 2019 season in direct comparison to the 2018 season includes Charles Leclerc joining Ferrari from Alfa Romeo with Kimi Raikkonen replacing him at Alfa Romeo; Daniel Ricciardo leaving Red Bull for Renault F1 Team with Pierre Gasly being promoted from Toro Rosso to fill his seat at Red Bull; GP2 2015 champion Stoffel Vandoorne has moved to Formula E and Fernando Alonso has retired from F1 creating an all-new duo at McLaren with Lando Norris moving up a formula from the Carlin F2 team and Carlos Sainz Jr arriving from Renault F1 Team; Lance Stroll drives for Racing Point having moved from Williams were F2 champion George Russell has replaced him, while Antonio Giovinazzi returns to Alfa Romeo; Daniil Kvyat returns to Toro Rosso and Alexander Albon also makes the leap from F2; and Robert Kubica replaces Sergey Sirotkin at Williams.

Driver, pit wall and pit crew likenesses have noticeably took a step up in quality since F1 2018 as such facial features as facial hair, eyes, skin and animations as the body moves when getting out of the car at the end of a race and celebrating on the podium. There are definitely a lot more podium animations with much better animations, while even the liquid particles of the champagne are more realistic; complemented by a continuous scene rather than F1 2018’s multiple cuts. However, in the build-up to a wet race; despite an umbrella being held aloft above a driver, pit crew once again do not wear wet weather clothing during wet race weekends, nor do they attempt to protect electrical components on the grid from heavy rain. Meanwhile, a problem that has continued from F1 2016 through F1 2018 and still resides in F1 2019; as the podium and pit wall animations seem rather similar in the sense of how two team-mates behave towards each other on the podium; therefore if two team-mates collide and one comes out better than the other, they are still going to spray the champagne and celebrate with smiles on their faces as though nothing ever happened which is unrealistic to the emotions of racing in F1 when such circumstances arise on track.

Classic cars return including 20 classic cars from F1 2018 comprising 1972 Team Lotus 72D, 1976 Ferrari 312 T2, 1976 McLaren M23-D, 1978 Team Lotus 79, 1979 Ferrari 312 T4, 1982 McLaren MP4/1B, 1988 McLaren MP4/4, 1991 McLaren MP4/6, 1992 Williams FW14B, 1996 Williams FW18, 1998 McLaren MP4-13, 2003 Williams FW25, 2004 Ferrari F2004, 2006 Renault R26, 2007 Ferrari F2007, 2008 McLaren MP4-23, 2009 Brawn GP BGP-001 and 2010 Red Bull Racing RB6, while the 2010 McLaren MP4-25 and 2010 Ferrari F10 are introduced, although the 1995 Ferrari 412 T2 and 2002 Ferrari F2002 that were in F1 2018 and F1 2017 are not available in F1 2019. While the classic cars may be just what excites F1 fans into playing F1 2019; they do fall flat in a couple of the same areas as F1 2018 as none of their legendary drivers are available to race as or compete against; unless the player has the Legends Edition featuring playable models of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost that also includes two unlockable additional classic cars comprising the 1990 McLaren MP4/5B and 1990 Ferrari F1-90. However, for instance having Mika Hakkinen’s world driver’s championship winning car from 1998 without Mika Hakkinen somewhat reduces the quality of the experience for the non-DLC cars below that of the classic cars included in F1 2013 that actually featured the official names and imagery of Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Alain Prost, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher, Gerhard Berger and more besides. Also, the very definition of classic paints a picture of cars from an era when F1 was in its origins such as in the 1950s or at the very least decades ago between the 1960s and 1980s or alternatively teams that were established and well respected that are no longer in F1 within the season the game is based upon such as Brabham; yet having three cars from as recent as the 2010 season seems in total conflict with that very notion of classic cars in F1 2019, regardless of it being a championship winning or front running car.

Before getting into any races; the player must customise their driver. There is a wider range of driver customisation in career mode to choose from in F1 2019 in comparison to F1 2018 including 37 male faces including F1 Esports Series 2018 Champion Brendon Leigh and 8 female faces to choose from with varying preset facial features for your driver’s avatar, alongside playable character models of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost from the Legends Edition. Meanwhile, there are 22 crash helmets that are customisable via a colour palette for the hue, saturation and luminance of the base colour and two sets of detail colours, although there are two further standard crash helmets that can be purchased and five premium crash helmets that can also be purchased including a Senna Classic and Prost Classic from the Legends Edition. Racing suits and gloves can be worn by your playable character model during online multiplayer races featuring three standard racing suits to choose from, a further 20 standard racing suits that can be purchased and five premium racing suits that can also be purchased including a Senna Classic and Prost Classic from the Legends Edition, alongside three pairs of standard racing gloves to choose from, a further 20 pairs of standard racing gloves that can be purchased and four premium racing gloves that can also be purchased including a Senna Classic and Prost Classic from the Legends Edition. There are also 30 standard badges to choose from, a further 20 standard badges that can be purchased and two premium badges that can also be purchased.

In relation to driver customisation; there is also a nationality, first name, surname and an abbreviated name to select for your playable character model. An audio name feature previously introduced in F1 2018 allows the player to choose an audio name from a long list containing dozens of names to choose from accompanied by nicknames such as Flying Finn, Iceman, Mr Monaco, Rainmaster, The Professor and The Scientist, so that the pre and post-session commentary no longer refers to your customised driver as the manufacturer’s name. A personal driver number must also be chosen that cannot be the number of a driver currently on the grid such as not being able to use Lewis Hamilton’s 44 or Vettel’s 5, although in a very noble and sporting gesture by Codemasters, Jules Bianchi’s driver number 17 has been retired from the game in loving memory.

Career mode returns with more of a natural reflection of a driver’s progression prior to earning their race seat in F1 due to the much requested inclusion of F2. The player is presented with the opportunity to choose your preferred F2 team from the ten teams that participated in the 2018 F2 season. Following the selection of your F2 team; the player must decide upon the driver academy of preference as each driver academy allows your driver to gain a reputation with a view to moving to McLaren within the McLaren Driver Academy; the Renault F1 Team when entering the Renault Driver Academy; Toro Rosso or Red Bull when partnering with the Red Bull Driver Academy; Alfa Romeo, Haas F1 Team or Ferrari in the Ferrari Driver Academy; and Williams, Racing Point or Mercedes when partnering with the Mercedes Driver Academy when making the leap from F2 to F1.

Career mode’s debut F2 season begins with a scenario in the third race weekend as your driver is competing for a victory when a problem occurs with the turbo. Your team gets involved informing you that your team-mate has a fully healthy car and wants you to let the driver through as the team believes that your team-mate has the best chance of progressing further up the field to possible podium contention. There is a scenario situated in the third, sixth and final race weekend in the opening F2 season that rather cinematically emphasises not only team orders, but also inter-team rivalry. However, they are the only three feature races of the F2 season before being forced to select an F1 team to race for.

Before joining an F1 team; you will meet with your personal manager Emma Jenkins situated at her office to discuss F1 contract offers. Teams have varied expectations including Mercedes wanting you to lead the field on a consistent basis with Ferrari expecting to fight for the championship and Red Bull wants you to compete at the front. Meanwhile, Renault F1 Team expects you to develop and compete in order to progress towards competing with the three front running teams, while Haas expects lots of points to be earned; and Racing Point wants to push for podiums. McLaren wants to fight and win, while Toro Rosso expects drivers to mature by scoring points consistently to be at the front of the midfield, alongside Alfa Romeo wanting to score points regularly and Williams desperately want to be consistently outperforming the teams in midfield to push closer to competing at the front as they were during their glory days. When you accept your first F1 contract; your driver will be the team’s second driver and there will be no contract perks such as race bonus, simultaneous development, upgrade speed and pit stop efficiency.

Career mode provides the opportunity to create your own F1 legend throughout a ten season career with your preferred choice of a short weekend consisting of three 30 minute practice sessions, one shot qualifying and a race distance of 5 laps, while the full weekend consists of three practice sessions of two 90 minute sessions on Friday and a 60 minutes session on Saturday before one shot, short or full qualifying takes place followed by a 25%, 50% or 100% race distance on Sunday. In contrast to the customisable lengths of every race weekend in career mode; the returning pro career mode is much harder as everything is turned up quite drastically to the hardest settings across the board even to the point of shifting gears manually with no braking assist, pit assist, strict corner cutting penalties, simulated vehicle damage, no flashbacks and much more besides. If you thought that appeared to be difficult, then be prepared to face the harshest A.I. driver and driver proficiency levels in addition to full length practice sessions, qualifying and races throughout each season of your entire career, while being locked into the first-person perspective from within the cockpit of the car for the most lifelike F1 experience F1 2019 has to offer.

Press interviews are more evenly interspersed in comparison to before as they happen after any session of a race weekend when you have performed brilliantly or after controversy. Answering questions in a diplomatic fashion is the best course of action as your approach to answering interview questions affects the reputation of your driver with your team and driver academy related teams, alongside morale of research and development departments and if your driver’s personality is famous for their sportsmanship or showmanship. It is even important to answer questions within a timely fashion so as not to upset the media as they would respond to that behaviour with asking harder questions.

Practice programmes include track acclimatisation which involves positioning at least part of your car within a small gate on the track to effectively learn the track and gain points in the process towards a green target, although you can also attempt to achieve a purple target which actually requires each gate to be approached at the optimal speed. Tyre management allows you to choose a tyre compound and attempt to keep the tyre performance within the purple optimal tyre wear window or the green moderate tyre wear window as the red heavy tyre wear window will prove unsuccessful during the completion of three consecutive laps which have to be individually completed within the target time. Fuel management is similar to tyre management as you attempt to lift and coast through the corners to maximise performance despite reserving fuel as efficiently as possible in order to complete three laps which have to be within the target time for each lap, while simultaneously remaining in the purple optimal fuel saving window or the green moderate fuel saving window as the red fuel saving window will be unsuccessful; in what is essentially preparation for lasting until the end of a 100% race distance or to have more fuel for later on in the race for aggressive overtaking manoeuvres to progress through the field. ERS management is similar to tyre management as you have three consecutive laps to achieve a purple optimal window of energy recovery during braking zones to essentially practice gathering enough energy to deploy when utilising ERS, while the green moderate ERS management window is still a positive result, although the red ERS management window will be unsuccessful. Qualifying pace is determined by achieving an objective of setting a time to finish a practice session in a certain position or higher, while race strategy develops your team’s approach to the entire race from the amount of fuel onboard at the start of the race to your pit stop strategy which is focused around telemetry that is gathered within a 5 lap stint were you are allowed to push the car as much as your driving style requires. Team objectives comprise of five tasks that vary from race weekend to race weekend such as completing a fast sector, completing an entire lap with minimal fuel usage, performing a DRS test by activating DRS, chaining five consecutive corners together during the track acclimatisation practice programme and completing a lap with at least two different car setups within the same practice session. There are naturally bonuses for session participation in each of the three practice sessions, each lap completed per practice session, completing team objectives and a disciplinary record depending upon how much you have been penalised or a clean penalty free practice session.

Practice programmes are especially important as they deliver resource points which can be utilised to efficiently allocate funding to an area of the car that requires development including a particular quota of resource points for achieving moderate success or a greater amount of resource points for optimal performance within each category with a further 25 resource points available for completing team objectives totalling to 325 resource points when completing every practice programme to an optimal standard. If your team can afford it within their respective budget; they will allocate a certain amount of resource points to start on the development of your car early in the season, while you can also earn resource points for strong performances in qualifying sessions and races.

Car upgrades allows the player to push the boundaries of your car’s ever evolving performance, while your current budget can be viewed and chosen from the research and development tab on your driver’s laptop which includes four all-encompassing areas of the car to upgrade comprising of chassis, aerodynamics, power train and durability. Each category worth of car upgrades is represented by what is essentially an RPG style skills tree in which the next upgrade component within that specific quadrant will not become available until the previous component has been built onto the car in exchange for a varying amount of resource points. Chassis incorporates brakes, weight redistribution, weight reduction and tyre wear, while aerodynamics improves drag, DRS, front downforce and rear downforce, alongside power train which enhances engine power, ERS and fuel consumption, although durability also plays a huge part as it reduces wear on power units and gearbox components throughout a range of enhancements to electrical systems, energy store, gearbox, internal combustion engine, motor generator unit heat and kinetic, turbo durability and general maintenance. Efficiency and quality control can be bettered in the chassis, aerodynamics and power train departments which in turn lowers the probability of the new component failing; therefore presenting a risk and reward factor as players can focus all of their resource points on component upgrades in the hope that they do not fail or spend some of their resource points on creating a team that is less prone to mistakes albeit losing some ground in the development race in comparison to your competitors, but the further flipside being that should an upgrade component fail, it would have to be sent back to have more resource points spent on fixing the problem. Some upgrades have more of an impact in enhanced performance in comparison to others which is showcased by a key that defines minor, major and ultimate performance progression per upgrade component. It is also important to contemplate the strategic decisions of how soon you want an upgrade fitted to the car as upgraded components take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks to be perfected; yet investing in your team’s improvements in efficiency and quality control has an instantaneous affect.

Your new rival for the start of the opening season in career mode will be the team-mate as a proving ground for if that driver is a worthy main driver of the team or a possible indication of if your driver deserves another promotion within the team you chose to drive for. This is rather fitting as you start life out in a team as the second driver attempting to gradually become the more dominant driver in the team as you will earn praise for finishing ahead of your team-mate in any session. You can keep track of who is leading the rivalry from after completing the first qualifying of the season onwards with the rivalry intensifying as both drivers strive for being the first to reach 30 rivalry points by earning points for finishing ahead of your team-mate in a variety of objectives per session that are represented via a statistical analysis such as if both drivers finished the race, finished on the podium and had a penalty free race as well as comparisons of finishing position, fastest sector times, fastest lap time and more besides. Rivalries will change from driver to driver that race for teams competing for track position around your area of the grid throughout the course of the season, although rivalries will more than likely come full circle to be revisited at some point.

Immediately after the first race weekend; Emma will inform you of the opportunity to participate in your first invitational event in which classic era cars are driven. For the first invitational event; you have a choice between a checkpoint challenge at Silverstone were you will be driving the McLaren MP4-23 from the 2008 season with an objective of driving 7.80 kilometres from a rolling start within 45 seconds, albeit with additional time provided for each checkpoint you progress through, while there is a rival goal of driving 9.32 kilometres as set by your team-mate. However, an alternative event comes in the form of a pursuit event to attempt to overtake slower cars than the Renault R26 from the 2006 season that have a head start over you before completing the allocated amount of laps at Sochi in Russia.

A new innovation for the career mode sees two of your F2 rivals also being promoted to F1 via their respective driver academies as Devon Butler drives for Ferrari and Lukas Weber races for Red Bull depending upon what team your driver joins However, that could result in at least some of the career mode not featuring the likes of Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly, despite all of the F1 drivers being available in other modes.

Despite the inclusion of F2; it does not maximise what an F1 career mode could be. For instance, after the F2 season is from 2018 before the remaining seasons of the ten consecutive seasons resumes within F1 in the 2019 season, although it would be better to at least start from when Codemasters released their first F1 game in 2009 all the way through to the 2018 season, therefore witnessing the evolution of power and handling from the V8 engine era through to the V6 hybrid engine era. Meanwhile, the grid still does not evolve by having older drivers retire and younger drivers from young driver development programmes being promoted from another formula of racing or a test driver to a race seat; resulting in drivers that are early to mid 30s when the 2019 season began being early to mid 40s when the career mode is completed which just does not happen in F1. There are also no classic seasons which F1 enthusiasts have been asking for more and more ever since the inclusion of intermittent classic content in F1 2013. It is not impossible for an F1 game to cover historic seasons as F1 Career Challenge on PS2 officially covered the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons within the same game and Grand Prix Legends on PC successfully recreated the feel of the 1967 season, while a more recent example in other motorsports would be SBK Generations on PS3 which successfully integrated the 2009 to 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship seasons and even venturing into other sports such as WWE Legends of WrestleMania which successfully showcased a quarter of a century worth of wrestling action in a single game.

Similarly to F1 2016, F1 2017 and F1 2018, team selection is immediately where the career mode begins to fall short as players can unbelievably choose any team of their liking which is a complete contradiction to the term career mode. Players should begin their career mode by having to earn a race seat at one of the teams towards the back of the grid in F2 or earning a race seat at a team via setting a benchmark time during testing sessions in the young driver development programme hosted by such teams as Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams and McLaren. For instance, Max Verstappen’s route into F1 with Red Bull and their sister team Toro Rosso, while McLaren had rising star Lando Norris racing in Formula 3 before stepping up to Formula 2 and making his F1 debut during the 2019 season that are both young promising drivers with the potential to be future world champions by following in the footsteps of arguably the best ever product of a young driver development programme in the form of Lewis Hamilton’s debut season for McLaren’s F1 team in 2007 when he came a single point away from winning the world driver’s championship. Therefore, each team that has a young driver development programme essentially acted as an agent to place one of their drivers into a team who they have a close partnership with. The point being that you can find an opportunity at the back of the grid in a lower formula than F1 followed by gradually working your way through to the senior team in most cases as has been happening for a few years in F1; therefore it is quite disappointing to be able to immediately start at a front running team on the F2 grid with an automatic guaranteed promotion to F1 as it somewhat defeats the purpose of having a career mode in the first place as the entire point should be to earn your way into the sport as a reserve driver as Sergey Sirotkin did by being the test driver for Sauber in 2014 followed by a test driver for Renault in 2016 and Renault’s reserve driver for 2017 or from positive performances in a feeder series such as numerous regional Formula 3 championships, Formula 2 and more besides followed by moving your way closer to the front of the grid, but rather unfortunately that challenge is not presented as it should be in F1 2019.

F2 Championship Season mode allows the player to drive as the likes of Lando Norris, George Russell and Alexander Albon as they compete for the 2018 F2 world driver’s championship, while simultaneously attempting to help their team towards earning the constructor’s title in a feature race and sprint race over the course of a season consisting of 12 rounds. However, F2’s 2019 season content is also set to be implemented via a post-launch update. F2 differs from F1 in multiple facets including every F2 car having the same specification with a V6 3.4 litre single turbo charged Mecachrome engine and a 6 speed longitudinal Hewland sequential gearbox, while F2’s points are distributed differently to that of F1; for instance pole position offers 4 points. F2’s race weekend structure within the separate full length representation of an F2 season in F2 Championship Season mode comprises of a short single 30 minute practice session or a medium length single practice session of 45 minutes; one-shot qualifying or a full length 30 minutes qualifying session; and a race distance of 5 laps, 25%, 50% or 100%. However, there are no practice programmes, resource points for research and development or car upgrades, so practice sessions within the F2 Championship Season mode are only utilised to learn the best car setup that is suited to the track.

Grand Prix mode provides the opportunity of racing on a single track with the ability to have a single short practice session of 30 minutes to three full practice sessions of 90 minutes, 90 minutes and 60 minutes, one-shot qualifying, short qualifying, full qualifying or a full race weekend against a grid containing 19 opponents. You can choose from any of the official drivers, cars and teams from the 2019 season or classic cars, although classic cars have the ability to be utilised within a single class, multi-class, multi-class (3 classes) and spec category races, alongside any of the 21 tracks from the 2019 season or the 4 short circuits and retaining the freedom to adjust the race length from 3 laps, 5 laps, 25%, 50% to a full length race distance for each circuit and full customisation of race settings, assists and weekend tyre allocation. Grand Prix mode doubles up as a customisable championship mode in which any number of 1 to 25 races can be added to the season calendar in any order, while players can repeat their favourite track throughout the entirety of the championship with an updated world driver’s and constructor’s championship table following each race. Meanwhile, the inclusion of the official 2018 F2 season has some different gameplay options such as a single short practice session of 30 minutes or a single medium practice session of 45 minutes, one-shot qualifying or a full 30 minutes qualifying session, feature race and sprint race distance of 3 laps, 5 laps, 25%, 50% or 100%, full customisation of race settings, assists and weekend tyre allocation, alongside the feature race being followed by a sprint race with the grid positions for the top eight drivers from the result of the feature race reversed for the sprint race.

Championships mode provides an entire set of championships comprising of multiple races in modern era and classic era F1 cars and F2 cars with an initial half a dozen championships available, while the rest of the 20 championships need to be unlocked through positive performances that earns a bronze, silver or gold medal representing championship specific objectives. There are varying rules and stipulations throughout the championships; for instance the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship contains 12 rounds worth of 5 laps, 25%, 50% or full distance feature and sprint races for each round of the championship as you race against 19 opponents. Meanwhile, Legendary Tracks Classic contains five rounds of multi-class competition were only the top five drivers and their classic cars earn points from 10 points to a single point between Monaco, Brazil, Silverstone, Spa and Monza for a distance of 5 laps or 25%; therefore providing a set of unique championships that feel fresh due to their diversity in comparison to other modes and are thoroughly entertaining to participate in. There is also an opportunity to play the 20 unlockable invitational events from career mode such as a checkpoint challenge, pursuit, time attack and overtake challenge events. Meanwhile, the Legends Edition provides a further eight invitational events themed around the rivalry of Aryton Senna and Alain Prost.

Time Trial mode provides you with the opportunity to set the best lap time around any of the 21 tracks from the 2019 season and 4 short circuits in an attempt to climb the leaderboards of the fastest times as you compete against players from across the world to see who performs the best lap time in a one lap scenario in dry or wet track conditions, although if your car leaves the track momentarily or if you feel the need to use a flashback, then your lap time will be immediately invalidated. An interesting gameplay mechanic produces a ghost car from your personal best lap time, while notifications inform you of your current position and a rival above your current position has their ghost car appear in your time trial to provide added motivation to push beyond the limitations of your personal best lap time and even experimentation with your rival’s racing line and telemetry. You can complete as many consecutive laps as you wish as your customised driver within a full selection of F1 cars and teams from the 2019 season, F2 cars and teams from the 2018 season, alongside the quota of classic cars, while you can also customise your car setup and driving aids to your ideal preferences.

There is a vast amount of assists to make for a customisable experience for players who are newcomers and experts alike including driving proficiency; off, low, medium or high braking assist; anti-lock brakes; off, medium or full traction control; off, corners only or full dynamic racing line in 2D or 3D; manual with clutch, manual, manual and suggested gear or automatic gearbox; and an off or on pit entry and release assists; accompanied by the manual or automatic ERS mode. There are also a variety of race settings in addition to assists such as the A.I. driver level; flashbacks; parc fermé rules; off, reduced, full or simulation vehicle damage; inclusion of the safety car depending on race length from 25% onwards; off, corner cutting only or on rules and flags; regular or strict corner cutting stringency; formation lap depending on race length from 25% onwards; and manual or assisted race starts. Further assists that have been introduced in F1 2019 include adjusting the allocated press interview time limit and surface only or surface and carcass simulation tyre temperature settings.

The time of day editor introduced in F1 2016 returns; once again providing the ability to alter the time of day to starting any session at the official time, a random time, sunrise, morning, midday, afternoon and sunset throughout all 21 races and 4 short circuits, while you can also adjust the time progression speed to 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Despite introducing the chance to race at Monaco at night time in F1 2017; the time of day editor has once again not achieved its full potential as players have the opportunity to change the three night time races located in Bahrain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi into a daytime race; yet you cannot take any of the other 17 daytime races and turn them into a night time race. Not only can you not select a night time race, but starting a 100% race distance during sunset once more never results in reaching night time conditions even when set to a 5x time progression speed with a noticeable lack of any change in the positioning of the sun and no movement in the positioning of shadows on the track surface which is evident given the amount of trees situated trackside on certain tracks such as Spa.

Weather conditions include dynamic weather with such possibilities as a dry practice, wet qualifying and dry conditions descending into full wet conditions come race day or changeable weather conditions to that affect; clear weather with no risk of rain; light cloud with a small chance of rain; overcast with an increased chance of rain; light rain within the race; and heavy rain throughout the race, alongside the ability to customise weather for each individual session. All weather conditions are modelled accurately to present a unique challenge as each type of weather will result in your car behaving differently; especially in wet weather conditions as your car will begin to aquaplane before you reach full throttle on a long straight, therefore requiring a feathering of the throttle to counteract the possibility of the rear of the car stepping out during full wet tyre conditions.

F1 2019’s handling definitely feels more responsive and reminiscent to the real thing. For instance, when attempting to navigate through the rather tight and tough chicane around the first sector of Monaco it is easier to steer in that trajectory in comparison to F1 2018 and earlier. However, more responsive handling comes with the caveat of the car having far more realistic moments of understeer and oversteer that the player will have to try to steer away from before potentially hitting the barrier. As usual, driving with a maximum speed car setup will prove to be tricky when braking for corners even during dry weather conditions as braking will need to start earlier in order to retain your preferred racing line; particularly following a high speed straight in Montreal and Monza. As is always anticipated from a wet weather race; dry weather in comparison to wet weather conditions is completely different as the track becomes slippery during wet weather conditions with the rear of the car often unexpectedly stepping out which needs to be quickly corrected to avoid the potential of your car aquaplaning. Driving without assists provides a realistic feel of driving a powerful F1 car as you will need to apply the throttle gradually in an almost feathering of the throttle as a full immediate application of the throttle will result in the backend of the car stepping out and potentially sending the car into a spin, while braking too abruptly will lock the tyres resulting in most likely missing the apex of the corner. F2 cars are as fun and frenetic to drive as their F1 counterparts, especially given that every F2 car has precisely the same specification. Classic era cars are certainly harder to handle as they are more prone to stepping out at the rear of the car, therefore quick reactions are required to prevent a classic era car from spinning.

Car setup can be changed in the pits which can potentially provide a significant performance advantage if you experiment enough in an attempt to absolutely perfect your car setup for each track. Car setup is spread across five presets including maximum downforce, increased downforce, balanced or default, increased top speed and maximum top speed. Each of the five presets provide a variety of settings throughout eight categories which may also be customised to your personal preferences, while there are also options to save or load your preferred car setups. Custom car setups include the ability to increase or decrease the kilograms of your fuel load, alongside deciding your pit strategy for tyre changes for longer distance races from 25% to full race distance. Meanwhile, custom car setups include a further half a dozen categories within any race distance such as changing the front and rear wing aerodynamics; changing the transmission from the differential adjustment when on and off throttle; calibrating the front and rear camber and the front and rear toe of the suspension geometry; changing the suspension at the front and rear suspension, front and rear anti-roll bars and the front and rear ride heights; adjusting the brakes by increasing or decreasing the amount of brake pressure and front brake bias; and changing the front and rear tyre pressures.

There are five tyre compounds of which three are chosen for each track within softer, balanced and harder compound category preferences including hyper soft, ultra soft, super soft, soft, medium and hard tyres for dry conditions dependant upon the track or intermediate and wet tyres for wet conditions with every tyre reacting differently to the track layout and surface resulting in varying lap times and durability; therefore providing a true reflection of tyre strategy from the real world of F1.

Damage modelling is pretty much the same as the 2017 season, although remains impressively realistic in appearance and physics including loss of tyres following a heavy impact with the barrier or a collision with another car, the front wing becoming detached which will affect the handling of your car until a pit stop has been made, aerodynamic carbon fibre bodywork flying through the air in a variety of directions after a lesser impact which is not race ending but could affect the behaviour of your car, engine blowouts following a mechanical failure or too much mileage on the same engine and more besides.

The 7 superbly positioned camera angles return from the 2017 season including a third-person camera positioned close to the rear wing of the car and a second third-person camera positioned further back to provide two separate views of the car and the track surface up ahead amongst the surrounding environments. There are three first-person perspectives positioned from the front wing of the car looking directly ahead with no bodywork, a second camera angle positioned in the centre of the front wing surrounded by intricate bodywork and front flaps with the third first-person perspective providing a driver’s eye view from within the cockpit as the complex steering wheel can be seen while peering out just above the front wing, although this camera angle now also showcases the divide in vision down the centre of the car as a support structure for the halo device accompanied by the usual incredibly detailed left and right mirror to view what is happening directly behind your car. Two cameras are mounted onboard above the driver’s crash helmet with the first positioned directly behind the crash helmet looking ahead but not providing any view of the cockpit and a camera positioned further to the left of the crash helmet showing the cockpit and steering wheel, but besides the halo device, a further common thread between both onboard mounted cameras is that they both show the high amounts of G-Force being experienced by the driver.

Vast customisable camera options allow players to set specific parameters for the cockpit, TV pod and TV pod offset with a 40 point system providing genuine customisation for the field of view and horizontal offset to be zoomed in or out; lateral offset to be moved further to either side; vertical offset to be raised or lowered; angle of camera to be increased or lowered in height; near clip plane decides at what distance a nearby object is no longer rendered; the mirror angle to be increased or lowered in height; as well as the amount of camera shake, camera movement, a look to Apex limit that is displayed in degrees and being able to remove the halo column for better visibility in the direct line of sight in front of the driver when driving from the cockpit perspective. As great as all 7 gameplay camera angles are; it would have been amazing for the gameplay and replay camera angles to include a helicopter camera angle from high above the circuit following the action with the sound effect of the helicopter in the mix, while a driver’s eye camera from within the crash helmet with limited peripheral vision, breathing and a pulsing heart rate to emphasise the intensity of the sport, alongside camera angles attached to the exterior of the car looking out just above each of the tyres.

Photo mode is a really great feature as it is utilises plenty of features and customisation allowing the player to capture the fully immersive environment of F1, F2 or classic cars in wheel-to-wheel racing that works in perfect harmony with the PS4’s share feature. Photo mode includes focusing any of the 7 camera angles or the free camera on any of the 20 cars situated around the track, camera roll allows the player to tilt their picture 90 degrees to the left or right, exposure can be reduced to -5 or increased to +5, depth of field can be set to off, autofocus with an f-stop of between 1 and 22 or manual with a focus distance of anywhere from 0 metres to 999.9 metres, while zoom ranges from 10.1 to 400.8mm, shutter speed of 1/8000s to 1/30s and motion blur on the camera remaining attached to the car or being static. Effects includes 26 colour grades, brightness of 0 to 1 in increments of 0.05, saturation and contrast between 0 and 2 in increments of 0.05, bloom of 0 to 1 in increments of 0.05 and the ability to have lens flares on or off. Overlays are comprised of a vignette, vignette size, grid lines and logo position, while environment options include a time of day between 6:15am and 6pm progressing by 5 minutes at a time and a change in clear, light cloud or overcast weather conditions, alongside the ability to change to a soft, medium or full wet tyre compound on your car or all cars.

You can watch a full race replay with the ability to watch in slow motion, pause, fast forward, rewind, change the camera angles for a different view of the action and to view the action from the previous or next driver. You can view the replay from the 7 gameplay camera angles, while there is an eighth camera angle in the form of a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the car changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo. The onboard, first-person and third-person cameras can all be rotated with the third-person perspectives both having the capability of rotating 360 degrees in order to view your car in more detail as well as the nearby competitors and the scenery, while the first-person cameras provide detailed views of the bodywork and tyres to the left and right and a rear view of the spoiler, more focus on the mirrors and the rear wing, alongside the onboard cameras providing a left and right view of the scenery and a greater focus on the bodywork towards the rear of the car. Highlight reels from the most recent races are showcased within the theatre feature, while they can be saved for later viewing from the theatre.

F1 2019’s downloadable content from the Legends Edition focuses on the rivalry between Aryton Senna and Alain Prost included in a retail release of F1 2019 at a price of £64.99. The main content of Legends Edition features four racing events and four time trial events in the style of a unique set of classic era invitational events as either a fully rendered character model of Aryton Senna attempting to beat Alain Prost’s time or overtake him on track or vice versa; if the player was to drive as Alain Prost with three difficulty levels per event. Succeeding in three Legends Edition events unlocks the 1990 McLaren MP4/5B and 1990 Ferrari F1-90 cars to drive in any classic car event, while there is also a playable career mode character model of Aryton Senna and Alain Prost, alongside a range of driver customisation items themed upon Aryton Senna and Alain Prost.

It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of F1 2019 after the pretty good F1 2011 retail release on Vita showed true potential for where the series could evolve on Vita, although the consolation is remote play. F1 2019’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance are the same quality as the PS4 version, while the second preset control scheme is immediately playable in remote play due to remapping acceleration and braking to moving the right analogue stick forwards or backwards respectively, although if the player’s right thumb moves slightly to the left or right then the camera angle will pan in that direction, so it can be a little off-putting. I had the best remote play experience with F1 2019 after creating a custom control scheme in which acceleration was re-mapped to R1 with braking moving to L1, switching the camera angle changing of R1 to the top right of the rear touch pad and moving the voice control menu from L1 to the top left of the rear touch pad; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre on Vita.

The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are almost fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of holding R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to apply the brake or reverse the car; holding X during manual starts; pressing X to manually shift up a gear; pressing square to manually shift down a gear; pressing triangle to activate or deactivate DRS; pressing triangle to engage the pit limiter; pressing R1 to change the camera angle; pressing O to produce the multi-functional display; pressing L1 to produce the voice control menu; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your car in that direction; moving the direction of the right analogue stick forwards, backwards, left or right to appropriately manoeuvre the camera angle to look in that direction; pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to scroll through the MFD menu; pressing R3 to chat in online multiplayer; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.

Despite the customisable control scheme; there is no way of mapping the steering to the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality and the touch pad can only be mapped to once instead of the left and right sides having their own purpose. It is surprising as the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is under utilised as it only enters into a replay followed by pressing square to select the moment of your flashback after a collision or a general loss of track time. This is somewhat disappointing as an optional control scheme from MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear; therefore it is clear that this level of functionality is possible for a controller in a racing game. The light bar provides a multitude of colours depending upon the current scenario such as flashing a light and dark tone of red when waiting for the red lights before the race commences, green under normal racing conditions, yellow within an area of the track that has yellow waved flags following an incident, blue during the presence of blue flags, flashing between orange and red for collisions and more besides. Vibration has been improved to focus more on the physicality of driving an F1 or F2 car resulting in the player having a better feel for the car when working hard at the steering wheel to turn into a tricky corner, driving onto the curbs or a little off track, applying the throttle during high acceleration, shifting through the gears, braking from high speeds and collisions which further increases immersion.

A range of steering wheels designed specifically for racing games on PS4 are supported including Buttkicker, Fanatec Club Sport Shifter SQ V1.5, Fanatec ClubSport Steering Wheel F1 Esports, Fanatec ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula v2, Fanatec CSL Elite, Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1, Logitech Driving Force Shifter, Logitech G29 Racing Wheel, Next Level Racing Motion Platform, Pace Wheel, Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Rim, Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Rim, Thrustmaster Ferrari GTE Rim, Thrustmaster GT Rim, Thrustmaster Leather 28 GT Rim, Thrustmaster LED Display, Thrustmaster PS Rim, Thrustmaster T80, Thrustmaster T150, Thrustmaster T300, Thrustmaster T500, Thrustmaster T-GT, Thrustmaster T8HA Add-On Shifter and Venom Hurricane.

Graphically, F1 2019 has been enhanced further due to significantly improved lighting during night races, improved weather conditions such as sunshine reflecting on the track surface and more cinematic elements taking place above the track such as helicopters, birds, leaves blowing, more detailed skies and more besides. PS4 Pro and HDR support further elevate the graphical fidelity with far less screen tearing at 60 frames per second in comparison to previous F1 games. However, there is still no sign of PlayStation VR support with creative director Lee Mather sighting that there are lots of elements within the user interface which would require optimisation to communicate everything to players without compromising the experience when playing an F1 game on a virtual reality platform in the build-up to the release of F1 2017. Having played Driveclub VR and with Codemasters’ acquisition of Evolution Studios; it seems to be a fairly simple case of Evolution Studios being asked to optimise F1 games into full VR compatibility and hopefully Codemasters will hear the roar for F1 VR gaming from F1 gamers on social media and on their official forums in the not too distant future.

F1 2019 certainly boasts slick and polished presentation including the modern F1 logo introduced in the 2018 season. F1 2019’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, career mode menus, championships menus, grand prix menus, online multiplayer menus, esports menus, time trial menus, online leaderboards, customisation menus, showroom menus, theatre menus, options menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or touch pad. There is mostly an air of TV style presentation with pre-race build up that provides an overview of the track layout accompanied by a full grid line-up which carries through to the gameplay with a formation lap for 25% or greater distance races; data overlays of the gaps between two drivers; fastest lap; track and tyre temperatures; alongside post-race coverage showing the race winning team’s reactions, podium celebrations and the latest championship standings.

Audio is projected through a variety of mixes including 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. Voice-overs include your personal manager informing you of your latest contract offer and your preparations for the next race, while your race engineer provides advice on where you can increase the pace on track, events taking place up and down the field, strategy and much more besides. Each track’s tannoy system projects a variety of facts and analysis such as facts about the track and local environments, who may thrive in wet weather conditions and who to look out for in the world driver’s and constructor’s championships which certainly builds the atmosphere of a big race weekend vibe. With the inclusion of F2 in F1 2019; there are two separate commentary teams with the F1 commentary team of David Croft and Anthony Davidson being retained for F1, while Alex Jacques and Davide Valsecchi. F1 commentator David Croft provides enthusiastic pre-session introductions about the history of the specific track and even the full grid order in pre-race commentary with Anthony Davidson responding with technical knowledge of the track, while they return post-session to provide classification of positions and analyse what has occurred. David Croft and Anthony Davidson deliver their lines of dialogue to build the anticipation ahead of a session and analyse through post-session segments as do F2 commentators Alex Jacques and Davide Valsecchi. Whereas F1 2016 through F1 2018 had the same dialogue from Anthony Davidson’s post-race commentary taking place in pretty much every race regardless of what actually happened; F1 2019’s pre-session and post-session commentary is far more dynamic to the conditions and events that happen during each race. Alex Jacques and Davide Valsecchi’s pre-session and post-session F2 commentary is equally as enthusiastic as their F1 counterparts, although Davide Valsecchi’s driver of the day tends to mostly revolve around a driver that has not improved their position by that much of a margin from their grid placing and also not having performed a spectacular overtake to be worthy of the honour in the respective race that is quite reminiscent to Anthony Davidson’s driver of the day in F1 2016 through F1 2018. Meanwhile, there is still no mid-race commentary which means there has in fact been no mid-session commentary in an F1 game since Martin Brundle and James Allen’s commentary in F1 Championship Edition on PS3 in early 2007.

Sound effects include the roar of the modern era engines that have essentially been retained from the re-designed cars complimented by subtle differences in engine notes between their respective power and engine suppliers that were introduced in the 2017 season, albeit with subtle improvements to focus on gear shifts and ERS availability, alongside the authenticity of the classic era cars. Further sound effects include hitting the curbs, crashing into an opposing car or the barrier, aerodynamic turbulence or wind particularly in long straights such as at Monza and engaging DRS. The ambience really elevates the atmosphere as the crowd cheer with anticipation prior to the start of the race and celebrate during the podium, while seemingly sounding more involved especially during races. A nice touch is the crowd’s ability to raise the volume for a home driver’s success during the race such as Lewis Hamilton performing overtakes and driving past grandstands at Silverstone, while you can hear the engines of the cars positioned around you on track as everything is appropriately balanced in the audio mix. Music includes the official dramatic instrumental introduced in the 2018 season, while being accompanied by the usual mixture of classically performed and equally dramatic instrumentals fused together with some catchy rhythms.

The DualShock 4 speaker is utilised as efficiently as F1 2016, F1 2017 and F1 2018 through adding to the realism by producing a further layer of audio projected from a different direction to re-create the atmosphere you would anticipate an F1 or F2 driver to experience when in the cockpit surrounded by F1 or F2 cars when on track. The DualShock 4 speaker produces the voice of your race engineer who provides updates periodically throughout the race which links into the voice control menu to create one of the absolute best and most clever implementations of the DualShock 4 speaker to date.

The trophy list includes 51 trophies with 38 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 2 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Experience F2 bronze trophy for completing your first F2 race in career mode; the Second Chance bronze trophy for activating a flashback during a race; the Memories bronze trophy for playing a captured highlight; the Car Geek bronze trophy for reading the description of a car within the showroom; the Personal Touch bronze trophy for choosing a player badge; the Ice Cool bronze trophy for completing a clean race; and the Epic Drive bronze trophy for completing a race using the Ferrari F2004 at Monza. Harder trophies include the Look at Them Go! silver trophy for setting the fastest lap time in all three practice sessions, qualifying in pole position and winning the Grand Prix and the First Amongst Rivals gold trophy for finishing ahead of Devon and Lukas by the end of an F1 season. Online multiplayer trophies include the Sit Back and Relax bronze trophy for spectating an online multiplayer race; the First Ten Down bronze trophy for completing 10 races online; and more besides. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 30 hours to platinum the trophy list.

F1 2019 retains the flexible and customisable approach to difficulty levels that have been a recurring feature of Codemasters’ F1 games in recent seasons. There are two sets of difficulty levels with one set appropriately assisting your driving proficiency and the other allowing you to set how hard the A.I. controlled drivers are to race against. Driving proficiency difficulty levels include beginner, amateur, experienced, professional and elite with each level containing their own respective race assists such as beginner affording every available assist, while amateur dials down the braking assist to medium and experienced turns it off completely in addition to only providing a medium quantity of traction control, corners only for the dynamic racing line and only having a manual gear shift with a suggested gear. Meanwhile, professional switches every assist off other than the medium traction control, although elite goes as far to even take that luxury away for absolutely no assists, while there is also a custom driving proficiency level in which players can fine tune their experience. The A.I. driver level has retained the major overhaul it received in F1 2017; continuing to revolve around a slider ranging from 0 to 110 that sets not only the difficulty level, but also the difficulty within each difficulty level as very easy ranges between 0 to 19, easy from 20 to 39, medium ranges from 40 to 59, hard ranges between 60 to 79, expert from 80 to 89, master ranges from 90 to 94, legend ranges between 95 to 100 and ultimate from 101 to 110. The major difference for a higher slider positioning within the difficulty level and between each separate difficulty level is the aggressiveness of the A.I. in which the A.I. controlled cars will look to overtake you at almost every straight and corner resulting in you having to be more defensive through the corners in order to avoid being overtaken at every opportunity the A.I. drivers professionally engineer from getting a great exit out of a corner to engage the throttle a little earlier and taking full advantage of the slipstream, alternatively diving up the inside of a corner or perhaps even trying to surprise you around the outside of a corner or fast bend.

Just as disappointingly as the previous F1 games on the PS4 and Xbox One generation is a lack of split-screen multiplayer; despite it being a highly requested feature with many fans of the Codemasters F1 series and F1 in general who took to social media and Codemasters’ official forums to ask for its inclusion in not only F1 2019, but also the four seasons prior to that. F1 has been split-screen multiplayer on PlayStation consoles since F1 ’97 on PS1 and especially given the fact that the final F1 game on PS1 being F1 2001 quite sensationally featured two player split-screen multiplayer for a full grid of cars in a championship mode with in-race commentary from Murray Walker and Martin Brundle just goes to show how possible and fully featured a split-screen component can be in an F1 game. Technology is scaleable as each generation of console gaming produces hardware to allow developers to push the boundaries that much further in both graphical and processing capabilities; therefore a console three generations after the final F1 game on PS1 should be able to deliver 1080p and 60 frames per second in split-screen multiplayer. If anything, split-screen multiplayer should be pushed further with four player offline split-screen in a full or customised championship season and further functionality such as an incredibly social experience by hosting three friends locally and a further 16 players online or joining another player’s lobby for four player split-screen online multiplayer; fans of split-screen racing can only hope this will finally be heard and reacted to appropriately in a F1 game in the not too distant future.

As previously seen in F1 2018, online multiplayer performance is exceptional as it is as fluent and provides the same sense of speed and graphical fidelity as the single player game modes, just as much customisation, up to 20 players racing and the ability to include A.I. of any difficulty level to flesh out the grid. The majority of F1 2018’s online multiplayer features including ranked, unranked, featured events, eports, safety ratings, earning XP and online leaderboards.

Online championship mode that previously featured in F1 2017 and F1 2018 has been replaced with online leagues; a social experience were you can join another player’s league or create your own public or private league of up to 20 players or A.I. controlled cars that can even stand in for a regular participant, while suggested leagues showcase the best leagues, alongside an advanced leagues search in order to find specific criteria that matches your own availability and driving assists with a calendar of up to 25 races per season. There are some differences between public and private leagues such as a public league only allowing a customised multiplayer car as designed by Ross Brawn and Pat Symonds, although a private league can have a mixture of the custom multiplayer car and F1 2019 season cars.

There are a variety of improvements required before any F1 game could be considered as being the ultimate package of a definitive F1 experience. Starting from the 2009 season would be progression, but in order to make the truly most historic F1 game to date; classic seasons beginning in the first-ever F1 season in 1950 and continuing through the decades and eras of F1 including new tracks, track variations, legendary drivers, cars, teams, engines, aerodynamics and much more besides would not only be amazing, but unprecedented. When you consider that there are many seasons in which a track has been a staple inclusion of the championship such as the 1950 season which only had seven circuits including Silverstone, Spa and the classic Monza banking which were recurring tracks on the F1 calendar. Classic seasons could also bring about an additional classic time trial mode in which you are not competing with players globally, but instead to drive the same cars as legendary F1 drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart, Sterling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and many more besides in an attempt to break their actual real-life lap records.

Even though F2 has been integrated into the career mode; additional formulas would provide a much more accurate representation of a driver’s career including F4 and F3 championships and their regional championships such as their British variations, while possibly starting out before that in karting, alongside the interesting W Series with a multitude of formulas in the same style of career mode as Milestone Italy’s MotoGP franchise.

A track editor that allow players to utilise features from each track and customise their length, width, track undulations, surface, grip and trackside details for a track without any limitations with the help of a track designer such as the track designer of the Bahrain International Circuit, Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, Circuit of the Americas in Texas and the Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan; Herman Tilke identifying why specific track components are iconic and how to make an iconic track for any era of F1 car in reflection of classic seasons.

An arcade style form of customisation for custom championships and multiplayer functionality including reverse, mirrored and reverse mirrored tracks to provide three new sets of tracks that would finally answer the questions F1 fanatics have wondered about for quite some time such as how to approach Spa in reverse. Meanwhile, the time of day editor needs to be improved by adding a sunset evolving into night time and an immediate night time option for every track and track variation. However, a further intriguing scenario would be if Codemasters approached F1 and WRC tyre compound manufacturer Pirelli that have created a very capable snow tyre compound to be driven by WRC cars at the snow rally events in Monte Carlo and Sweden, alongside Red Bull Racing who have previously staged F1 car showcases on the snow to see how F1 cars and F2 cars would handle on snowy track conditions.

Mid-session commentary needs to be finally re-introduced as it was last in an F1 game for the PS3 exclusive F1 Championship Edition in early 2007, although F1 commentary made its debut on PlayStation platforms in F1 all the way back on PS1 in 1996. It would be even better to be able to choose the commentary team you want to hear such as Channel 4’s David Coulthard and Ben Edwards, Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle and David Croft or even classic commentary from Murray Walker’s archive commentary.

Management career mode in which you must find sponsorship for your team to utilise the income to fund car development; promoting the team; maintaining team morale as high as possible; assessing the drivers you currently have; and offering contracts to reliable pit crew, technical advisors, engineers, aerodynamic designers, the best drivers and much more besides; reminiscent to that of the managerial career mode in Milestone Italy’s MotoGP 17. Management career mode would be the manager equivalent of the career mode in telling a rags to riches story of starting out in a new factory and being towards the back of the grid to the glitz and glamour of winning at Monaco and the possibility of achieving the dream of winning the drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

Split-screen 4 player offline multiplayer with the ability to have 4 player split-screen online multiplayer in a lobby you host or join with up to a further 16 players. Some new inventive camera angles such as a helicopter viewpoint, a true driver’s eye perspective with limited peripheral vision which highlights the nerves of the driver from breathing to a higher heart rate in circumstances of being close to winning your first-ever race in career mode or following a collision and a camera attached to the bodywork overlooking each tyre. PlayStation VR compatibility has been discussed from time to time during interviews since F1 2017, but despite Dirt Rally having a full virtual reality complement; a fully fledged F1 game in VR never seems to be any closer to fruition. F1 in VR would provide even more immersion for each first-person perspective, while further coming into its own with social screen multiplayer providing a full screen for the player using PlayStation VR and the player utilising the TV screen.

F1 2019’s replayability stems from a variety of areas including a 10 season career mode that is enhanced by the introduction of Formula 2 from the 2018 F2 season with the 2019 F2 season content to be included during post-launch support. The inclusion of F2 is complimented by invitational events, practice programmes and research and development reminiscent of a skills tree from the RPG genre. Formula 2 is integrated via a separate F2 Championship Season mode, while the inclusion of a highlights reel feature in theatre mode and the cinematic showroom feature that captures every car from F1, F2 and classic cars in glorious detail and a descriptive historical context integrates a genuine feeling of refinement. Legends Edition encompasses eight additional invitational events, the 1990 McLaren MP4/5B and 1990 Ferrari F1-90 cars as well as a playable career mode character model of Aryton Senna and Alain Prost, alongside a range of themed driver customisation items. Elsewhere, Championships mode features a set of 20 championship seasons covering varying rules and stipulations, alongside classic era cars that make a return with a total of 20 cars between 1972 and 2010. There is also the return of Pro Career, Grand Prix and Time Trial modes in single player accompanied by fully customisable online multiplayer for between 2 to 20 players in which players can elevate their skill rank and safety rating in ranked online multiplayer, while earning XP for completing a range of objectives to level up their driver in ranked or unranked online multiplayer and competitive Time Trial focused online leaderboards throughout all 21 tracks from the 2019 season and 4 short circuits. Further customisation comes in the form of the time of day editor, driver proficiency and driver A.I. difficulty levels that will collectively have fans of F1 as a motorsport and in gaming coming back for more for quite some time.

Analysis
• Title: F1 2019
• Developer: Codemasters Birmingham
• Publisher: Codemasters/Koch Media
• System: PS4
• Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1/2-20 (Online Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
• Hard Drive Space Required: 53.76GB (Version 1.03 – PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Career Mode
81 %
Gameplay
84 %
Graphics & Sound
83 %
Controls
84 %
Difficulty
83 %
Replayability
83 %
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Jason
Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel. Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

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