F1 2016 Review

Richard Walker

Formula One is an interesting motorsport. Chances are, you either see it as a riveting battle of wits, as teams compete to qualify for grid supremacy, before taking to the track for each Grand Prix, deciding on the best strategy for when to pit, which tyres to use and how much fuel to load the car up with; or you see it as a deathly dull procession of essentially identical cars going around and around interminably until someone waves a chequered flag.

Fortunately, I've always seen Formula One racing as the former, thanks to a granddad who was massively into every facet, passionate about the intricacies, the technology, and the skill and endurance that each driver requires behind the wheel of such a relentlessly speedy vehicle. F1 2016 conveys every one of these aspects of Formula One impeccably, with an immersive Career Mode and a devotion to detail and realism that makes this more than a cut above last year's effort.


Ferrari: second fiddle to the Mercedes this year.

F1 2015 was really only a dry run for F1 2016. Light on features and lacking the depth you'd usually expect from Codies' remarkably consistent F1 series, F1 2015 only demonstrated a little of what's possible on current hardware. F1 2016 is undoubtedly a return to form, restoring all of the usual modes and other stuff that comes as standard with each annual iteration, while adding a whole array of new stuff too, like the newly expanded and much improved Career Mode. This is what F1 is supposed to be like on Xbox One and PS4.

It's in Career Mode – which comes in standard and Pro Career flavours – that you'll choose an avatar, their helmet design and team they'll race for, before signing a contract and meeting your agent who's dead set on making you an F1 star. Of course, you'll have to perform well on the track, and the higher a team's prestige and standing, the greater their expectations for you will be. If you're racing for the Mercedes Petronas team, for instance, then don't be surprised to have Lewis Hamilton nipping at your heels while the bosses demand nothing but pole positions and podiums.

Between races – preceded by multiple practice days and qualifying – you'll liaise with your agent and engineer in the parc fermé, the latter of whom will aid you in research and development to improve your car, whether it's providing greater fuel efficiency, reduced chassis weight, improved downforce, drag or engine power. During your career, you'll also have a rivalry to consider (usually your teammate), as each event concludes with a comparison of how each of you performed. Naturally, you'll want to come out on top.

Suffice it to say then, that F1 2016's Career Mode is remarkably in-depth and immersive, faithfully recreating the myriad facets of Formula One better than any other F1 video game to date. It's genuinely excellent. Add to this a variety of car setup and tuning options, challenging Practice Session objectives to complete, like tyre management, track acclimatisation and more (which sound boring, but aren't), and Career Mode is about as complete a Formula One racing experience as you can get.

On the track, races now begin with you holding in the clutch, riding the accelerator to gain the optimum revs and hopefully getting away quickly and cleanly. And the handling feels like it should; demanding, but responsive, simulating all of the nuances of Formula One racing with tyre wear and such affecting how your car performs, impacting your section and lap times in the process. You can't just throw your car around the track like a maniac, unless you've tinkered with the assists and settings to ignore all of said nuances and considerations.

Outside of Career Mode, you'll find the usual customisable Quick Race and Time Trial options for one-shot competition, Championship Season and a comprehensive multiplayer mode. Championship Season enables you to play through a Short Weekend, Full Weekend or custom event outside of the more involved Career Mode with all its added features and fripperies, while Quick Race and Time Trial allow you to set your parameters and just get behind the wheel, competing against other racers. Self-explanatory stuff.


Racing in the wet is as demanding as you'd expect.

Multiplayer is typically robust, providing basic Matchmaking options for a quick race, including a Rookie mode with a 3-lap race for beginners and 5-lap Sprint for more experienced players. Or you could opt for 25% of an entire Grand Prix race complete with One-Shot qualifying in Endurance mode, again tailored for more seasoned F1 players; it's not really for the faint-hearted, especially when there's a full grid of 22 cars buzzing behind you like angry hornets.

If none of the Matchmaking modes sound appealing, then you can create your own custom multiplayer events or start a new Multiplayer Championship and get your friends involved. F1 2016's multiplayer modes cover all of the bases, and it's all remarkably streamlined, getting you into a race quickly and smoothly, allowing you to spectate races while you wait in the lobby. An absence of lag makes for a wonderfully stable online experience, so the only thing to complain about is when you encounter idiot drivers who enjoy ramming you off the track. It's inevitable, unfortunately.

Brilliantly authentic and bristling with features – many of which were sorely absent from F1 2015 – Codemasters has delivered in spades for F1 2016, delving into the nitty-gritty of Formula One racing, with all of the fiddling, customisation and depth any self-respecting F1 fan could possibly ask for. Career Mode is engaging, multiplayer is robust, and the game's other modes deliver quick thrills for more casual players. F1 2016 is a barnstorming comeback.

F1 2016

Codemasters has gone the extra mile for F1 2016, addressing almost every last one of F1 2015's shortcomings, while delivering an in-depth and enjoyable Career Mode at its core. Factor in all of the other modes and touches, and F1 2016 is not only the most authentic Formula One game to date, it's also one of the best in some time.

Form widget
80%
Audio
70%

Engine sounds are deep and thunderous, while the pit crew chatter is present and correct. Precisely what you'd expect from an F1 game.

Visuals
90%

The best-looking F1 game by some margin, Codies' has done a stellar job in replicating TV broadcast-style replays, while on the track itself, there's some superb attention to detail on display.

Playability
80%

Handles wonderfully and is as complex or as simple as you want it to be with a raft of assists and settings to play around with. As ever, concentration and focus is required, although you can save mid-session and flashbacks return, enabling you to rewind and rectify any mistakes.

Delivery
80%

A vast improvement over last year's comparatively sparse game, F1 2016 brings a genuinely involving Career Mode alongside loads of new features and modes. In the authenticity stakes, the new Haas Racing team is in, as is the new Baku City circuit, the Virtual Safety Car, Safety Car and formation laps. It's one of, if not the, most comprehensive F1 game in recent years.

Achievements
80%

Much, much better than F1 2015's horrid grind-fest, F1 2016's list is more focused upon skill, completing challenges and getting swept up in Career Mode. Minimal grind is certainly a plus.

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