Codemasters' annual Formula 1 video game is set for release on 28 June, 2019 and for fans of the game and the pinnacle of motorsport this will be a long fortnight. There's talk of new features and enhanced game play every year, but fans of any sports franchise know that new releases aren't always worth the investment. Have Codemasters stepped up this year? Is there a real chance that 2019 could be the best F1 game in a very long time? Here are the reasons why you should buy F1 2019.
It might seem a bit odd that one of the main selling points of an F1 game is the addition of its junior series, but driving Formula 2 cars is something I'm really looking forward to. It's a feature that's been requested since at least 2012 and Codemasters have finally secured the licencing to do so. There's been pre-season content before in the F1 games (such as the young driver test in 2012) but nothing along these lines.
In the real life sport, F1 races can be a bit boring, but Formula 2 rarely disappoints. With a shorter season and shorter races, it's an ideal way for new players to cut their teeth in racing and give seasoned pros something new to experience.
The series is fully licenced too, which means that you'll find all of the 2018 F2 drivers, cars and teams, no sign of Gert Waldmuller and co. here. In addition, Alex Jacques and Davide Valsecchi will be in the comm box, as well as the official graphics for the Formula 2 TV coverage, something that's mirrored on the F1 side of the game.
New Lighting Model
Much has been made of the new and improved lighting model for this year's game and for a more in-depth analysis of it, check out this article, but I'll summarise the key points here. Screenshots like the one above show how drop-dead gorgeous the graphics in the new game look, even when compared to 2018. The new lighting model which the ego engine will be running makes racing in the dark look stunning, with floodlight beams being reflected impeccably off the car's bodywork.
Of course, any of the circuits can be played at night, but the highlights will be the real life night races at Bahrain and Singapore, where dust has been modelled to hang in the air like fog but with a unique warmness to it. Graphics are always hyped up, it's the easiest way to market a game after all, but this is a huge step up and one that will push the limits of the main consoles. If this is to be the final F1 game on PS4 and Xbox One before the next generation of consoles is to come out, then it's an awesome sendoff.
Earlier than ever release
One of the criticisms of the F1 game in the past has been that the release date has been too late in the year, sometimes coming out with just a few rounds of the season it represents remaining. For 2019, however, the video game hits shelves between the French and Austrian races, a time in which there's over half the season left to go.
There is real potential here as well, the scenario mode - which has been in the F1 games for some time now - could be used to simulate the most controversial incidents throughout the real life campaign, think Vettel v Hamilton in Canada. Of course, this is just speculation, but there is a new mode that will no doubt be used for something special...
Senna v Prost
This has been the fantasy of old-school fans ever since the classic cars first came out in F1 2013. Codemasters revealed that those who buy the "Legends Edition" of the game will gain access to an exclusive game mode that pits the two rivals against each other. Set in 1990, Ayrton Senna will pilot his McLaren MP4/5B with Alain Prost at the wheel of the Ferrari F1-90 across eight challenges. Senna v Prost is one of sport's greatest, think Hamilton/ Rosberg but even more intense and controversial, this is a huge selling point for the game. If you can't wait to test your skills in these V12 monsters, you're definitely not alone. Perhaps the game will even give you the chance to rewrite history, who knows what could've happened if Senna braked into Suzuka Turn 1.
That's what we're looking forward to most in F1 2019, but what new features/ additions have caught your eye the most? Let us know in the comments below!