Career mode will keep you engaged for a long time, and the classic F1 cars are brilliant.
You are watching: F1 2016 vs 2017
Jonathan M. Gitlin – Aug 30, 2017 6:15 pm UTC
Developer: CodemastersPublisher: CodemastersPlatform: MacOS, Windows, PS4, and Xbox OneRelease Date: August 25, 2017Price: $60 / £40ESRB Rating: E for EveryoneLinks: Steam | Amazon | Official website
When Codemasters released F1 2016 last year, it was my surprise hit of the year. DiRT Rally proved that the studio”s new EGO engine was right up there with the very best, and here was a Formula 1 title that combined plenty of realism and difficulty with a game that was also sheer fun to play. Since then the sport itself has undergone quite a shake up. It”s under new ownership, and the cars have more downforce and better tires. There”s even a bit more competition; these days we can go into a Grand Prix weekend without knowing that a Mercedes win is almost certain.
And with all that, there”s a new F1 game, the logically titled F1 2017. It captures the current technical changes to the sport, but the folks at Codemasters have done more than just tweak tire widths and downforce levels. The big question is whether that”s enough to make it worth purchasing a new game.
F1 2017 keeps all the stuff we loved about last year”s game—dynamic track and weather conditions and a great physics model—and expands the game with a more in-depth career mode.
A word of note: you may want to turn down Force Feedback when playing F1 2017, otherwise it will rip the wheel from your hands the first time you go over a rumble strip.
I”ll be honest, the presence of these classic F1 cars from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s would be enough to make me grab a copy.
Racing in the wet requires patience.
This is your engineer, Jeff. Depending on the team you pick he”ll be wearing a different shirt, but he”s a constant throughout your career, offering advice during the race and in between sessions.
Jonathan (no relation) owns some old F1 cars and wants to offer you a chance to drive them for him. But don”t crash!
The new R&D tree. In addition to developing new parts, you can spend resource points on individual departments to make them more efficient (or their work more reliable).
Sebastian Vettel”s 2010 championship car at Spa.
Obviously, all of the current teams and drivers are present and correct in the game; an official series franchise game would be a little pointless if it weren”t up to date. Beyond that, Career mode has been beefed up quite a bit, though it still works roughly the same. You create a driver (who can now be either male or female), sign up with a team, then work your way through the 20-race season. Along the way you”ll have different on-track rivals you have to beat and expectations from the team that have to be met, but they”re realistic ones. You won”t be expected to take pole position and win everything in sight unless you”re racing for Mercedes or Ferrari, for instance.
I heard e-sports are a thing now
While the world of racing games has some way to go before it can match the e-sports extravaganzas of games like Dota or Street Fighter, the world of real racing is taking its digital counterpart increasingly seriously. The McLaren F1 team is already looking for its next F1 simulator driver using a competition called “World”s Fastest Gamer,” but F1 2017 is the first time that the organizers of F1 racing have engaged directly with the gaming community. Starting in September, F1 is partnering with Codemasters and Gfinity in an e-sports series that culminates in the top 20 gamers racing each other during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.
The changes compared to last year”s game are a significantly expanded R&D system and the addition of Invitational events, where you get to compete in challenges using F1 cars from the past. The new R&D system is a lot more involved than before, too. As you progress through each part of a race weekend—three practice sessions, qualifying, and the race—you earn resource points to be spent keeping your team”s cars as close to the cutting edge as possible. Unlike before, these aren”t simply parts like a new front wing or better engine; you can also spend your resources on improving the speed of your technical development as well as its reliability.
Throughout your race season, you also have to abide by F1″s technical regulations that limit the number of engines, hybrid systems, and gearboxes each driver is allowed to use. That means keeping track of your allocation and suffering grid penalties in qualifying for exceeding it. (I”ve not put in enough hours yet to see if I can replicate poor Stoffel Vandoorne”s Belgian Grand Prix, where he received a 65-place penalty—out of just 20 cars on the grid—for engine changes.)
The Invitational events are a clever way of breaking up the grind of your career, interspersing the regular race weekends with short one-off events. These use the 12 classic F1 cars that Codemasters has added to F1 2017. The earliest is a 1988 McLaren MP4/4 (currently only available if you have the Special Edition); the most modern is 2010″s Red Bull Racing RB6. The challenges will be quite familiar from other racing games (overtake a certain number of cars within so many laps, that kind of thing).
In addition to Career mode, there”s also a Championship mode. This lets you play any of the Invitational challenges you”ve unlocked as one-off races, but it also has 20 different race series you can compete in, ranging from a full F1 season (with less customization than Career, so you pick an existing driver rather than design your own), to a classic series featuring six races using one of the older cars, to spec series where everyone has to use exactly the same equipment. For the completists out there, the depth of Championship mode is going to keep you busy for weeks. On top of those, there”s also online multiplayer, downloadable events, time trials, and quick races.
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Jonathan M. Gitlin Jonathan is the automotive editor at Ars Technica, covering all things car-related. Jonathan lives and works in Washington, D.C. Email jonathan.gitlin