RealOpinions: F1 2019 set the bar high… but now the series needs to shift up a gear

Codemasters can't afford to sit back and must be prepared to leave their comfort zone.


Make no mistake about it, F1 2019 is one of the best Formula 1 games that Codemasters have produced, being up there with 2010 and 2013 in the ranking of their F1 video games.

It’s hard to say where exactly it stacks up, given how early we are into the game’s life cycle, but it’s on the podium at the bare minimum.

The addition of Formula 2, a proper story to the game, gorgeous new lighting, a stunning graphics model and driver transfers have made it a must-buy for video game racers. No game is perfect, though, and there are some improvements which would be very welcome for 2020.

The Media

Interviews haven’t changed from F1 2018There have been calls from some sections of the F1 fanbase to include commentary during the races themselves, just like classics such as F1 Championship Edition (2006). However, that’s not what I’m proposing here, as live commentary would remove from the immersion of driving a Formula 1 car and be difficult to implement properly.

What I’m referring to is the commentary on the introduction to sessions by David Croft and Anthony Davidson. These two have been boring us during the cut-scene at the start of practice, qualifying and the race since 2016, and I believe it’s high-time Codemasters change this. I now skip the intros to the sessions, I only listen to the starting line-up to see if any penalties have moved me up positions.

To improve this, Codemasters need to get Martin Brundle on side, the former F1 driver and now commentator for the past 22 years in the UK. He would freshen up the cut-scenes, and is the voice of F1 for the current era.

In addition to this, I’d like to see the interviews be vamped up for 2020, as these have been cut and pasted from 2018. They get boring quickly and the questions often don’t make much sense.

Result: Finished on the podium in an Alfa Romeo

Interviewer: “Good job! But why did you hit the wall once during the race?”

Nobody would ask that question. If you remember back to 2010, you used to get interviewed in a press conference after the race when you got on the podium, just like the real drivers, and man would be in favour of a return.

READ MORE: Ranking the Codemasters’ F1 games over the years

Timings glitch

When the back of the grid actually times faster than poleThe Codemasters’ F1 games have never been without their glitches. From the side-pod glitch to the infamous auto-spin kerbs, many have plagued the games over the past decade. For the most part, Codemasters have fixed these issues, and it’d be wrong not to commend them for that. However, there is one that still persists into 2019 and it’s a bug that should be an easy fix.

If you’re unfortunate enough to not make it through to the final part of qualifying, you may notice something strange when David Croft reads out the grid order. No, not that there are an incredible amount of penalties being applied, that’s realistic. You will see that your fastest time and that of even those eliminated in Q1 would’ve been enough for pole position. How could this be? A sudden rainstorm in final qualifying? It’s possible. However, when this happens every time without fail and in everybody else’s play though, you know it’s a systematic glitch.

What’s annoying is that it’s been around ever since 2016 and nothing has been done about it. While it’s not a big issue, it removes from the immersion and it’s such an easy fix that I’d be extremely disappointed if it was still around for next year’s game.

READ MORE: RealSport Reviews F1 2019

F2 expansion

We want more F2!The addition of Formula 2 is huge for the F1 games, so much so that I picked it as one of the main reasonsto buy the game. While it’s a huge step forward, this mode has huge room for expansion.

We only had three events to race in F2 and for some players, that’s exactly what they want, but some longtime fans of the series will expect more for 2020. It’d be nice to play more for of an F2 season before going into F1, but the biggest issue with the F2 addition is after you get to the pinnacle of motor sport.

After you make it into F1, Devon Butler and Lukas Weber stick around but the cut-scenes which add drama are gone. This is a lot of wasted potential, which should be exploited in 2020. There wouldn’t be much sweeter than being able to gloat in the face of Butler after getting your first win or pole position.

READ MORE: How to master the Formula 2 cars

Senna v Prost

Senna v Prost: A missed opportunity?Like in our review, I’m labelling this ambitious but rubbish. It’s not much of a challenge and nothing like what we expected. I realised the 1990 McLaren and Ferrari are the only ones from the same season, but having you race against 1970s Lotus cars just seems wrong. Codemasters could up the challenge by introducing more of Senna’s and Prost’s cars into this game mode.

The rivalry spanned from the mid-80s to early 90s and encompassed some legendary battles. Wouldn’t you like to try to overtake Prost’s McLaren in your inferior Toleman at a soaking Monaco in 1984 or complete a comeback after a poor start in the 1988 Japanese GP to win your first title as Senna? I think fans would universally answer “yes”.

Honourable Mention – ERS

I have seen some calls for the ERS deployment to be removed for next year’s game, as even real life Formula 1 drivers such as McLaren’s Lando Norris have labelled it “unrealistic”. I do understand these complaints, as the teams manage ERS deployment from the garage, not the driver in the cockpit.

When you compare this to the level of settings management that drivers have to do in the actual races, it’s really a drop in the ocean. It also adds another level of strategy to the races too, without being too challenging for new players. I’d like to see it stick around for 2020.

You’ll notice that a lot of these are easy fixes, purely as a racing game, F1 2019 is one of the best that Codemasters have made, possibly the best, but we can’t make that judgement call just yet.

READ MORE: Why you should buy F1 2019

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George Howson

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23-year-old F1 & Football fanatic from Yorkshire who tells it as it is. Outside of writing, I'm a photographer, podcaster and Engineering graduate.

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