The low growl of this year's cars has been accurately replicated once again, although the chatter from your pit engineers and the music is a bit bland.
Slick broadcast presentation, slightly weird driver likenesses, authentic cars and circuits; F1 2015 looks excellent. There's still room for improvement, but this is a good start.
One of the best F1 games to date in the handling department, F1 2015 can be as accessible as you like for newcomers or as hard as you like for veterans and those craving an unadulterated, realistic sim experience. Incredibly solid stuff.
This is where F1 2015 falls down. Season modes offer the most longevity, but the absence of a proper career mode is a glaring omission, and the rest of the modes fail to make up for it. Multiplayer is fine, if unremarkable, while Time Trial and Quick Race do what they say on the tin. And that's it.
A hideous little achievement list that consists of grinding out hundreds of laps across its modes, including the hard-as-nails Pro Season. Hardly ideal.
July 17, 2015
Last season, Codemasters' F1 series went out with a whimper rather than a bang on old hardware, leaving us hopeful that the UK developer might find its mojo once again on new consoles with F1 2015. And here we are, at the earliest point in the Formula One season that we've ever seen an F1 game launch, and F1 2015 certainly looks the part, and delving headfirst into a Championship Season, the game has also got it where it counts.
However, F1 2015 is let down by a dearth of modes compared to previous years, despite delivering on the track. From a handling standpoint, F1 2015 is one of the best racing experiences that Codemasters has ever created, authentically reflecting the strategical aspects of the motorsport, without making the whole thing too much of a slog. You'll select your preferred tyre strategy before each season race, undergoing a practice session and quick qualifying lap before the actual Grand Prix itself. But as far as modes go, F1 2015 is undoubtedly lacking.
Squint a bit and F1 2015 almost looks like the real thing.
As a catch-all campaign component, Championship Season ticks all of the right boxes, and you can either relive the previous 2014 Formula One season in which Lewis Hamilton came away with the ultimate victory, or play through the still-in-progress 2015 season, with all of the latest cars, drivers and liveries. Each race is 25% of a regular Grand Prix (around 15 laps on average), and you can initiate a mid-session save at any time or use a flashback, making errors less a moment of ruinous, controller-throwing madness, and more a case of simply turning back time.
If that seems not nearly challenging enough, then Codies has you covered with the Pro Season this year, in which realism is slavishly adhered to with every assist switched off, races being full and undiluted in any way, gears set to manual, and so on and so forth. You get the picture: it's tough and entirely uncompromising, my attempts with it resulting in uncontrollable spins into the gravel traps and disqualification within the first few minutes. Seriously; sadists or die-hard F1 purists need only apply.
Outside of the Championship and Pro Season options, you can switch between 2014 and 2015 seasons in the My F1 menu, head online for a practice session or race in one of the matchmaking hoppers for beginner, standard or hardcore skill levels, or set up a one-off Quick Race on any of the game's official circuits, setting the parameters as you see fit. Time Trial rounds out F1 2015's paltry selection of modes, offering a self-explanatory competition against the clock.
There's just about ample excuse to spend plenty of time putting in laps on F1's various circuits then, but the lack of an involving career mode is perhaps the biggest blow to F1 2015, with Championship Season a bare bones equivalent. Simply jumping from race to race soon grows tired, and you'll be longing for something more engaging. Perhaps something like F1 2013's classic content, a split-screen multiplayer mode or 2-player co-op season might have filled the void, but alas, there are no such modes available in F1 2015.
The result is a racing game that does its job in the actual driving stakes, with an immediate and smooth experience behind the wheel, albeit one with the occasional bug here and there. For the most part, however, racing in F1 2015 is enjoyable, despite some overly aggressive rival AI, which isn't above ploughing into you in a fit of road rage when you overtake. With flashbacks switched on, this becomes an irritating inconvenience, but at Pro Season level, it's a horribly unceremonious way to end a race.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on your visor Wait, this is Silverstone.
Earning the handful of achievements dedicated to Pro Season will be something that only the elite few will manage then, while the majority of the list is all about grinding out a certain number of laps in the game's different modes. Podium placement and pole position in qualifying is also rewarded, while taking pole, leading and setting the fastest lap in every race for the entirety of a Championship Season is also a ridiculous feat that demands perfection. As achievement lists go, it's far too demanding to be deemed fun.
F1 2015's online multiplayer is pretty solid, and brings with it a set of achievements for competing and winning in each of the hoppers, but whether you'll be compelled enough by the game's online offering to complete 50 races is uncertain. Chances are, most players will complete a single, lengthy Championship Season and wait until next year's game. And if F1 2015 represents the foundations upon which Codemasters will build its subsequent F1 titles, F1 2016 ought to be the game that F1 2015 should have been.
As Codemasters' sophomore effort on Xbox One and PS4, F1 2015 is a solid, if slightly unremarkable start that points to greater things on the horizon. It's not a bad game, and gets things right on the track and in its TV-style presentation, but it's just severely lacking elsewhere.