Codemasters have been making the official Formula 1 game for a decade now and the Birmingham-based development company have had a mixed but overall positive time as the official developer. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the nine F1 games that Codemasters released on the main line of consoles since 2010, so no mobile releases nor F1 2009, which was a Wii and mobile exclusive and the games will be ranked from worst to best. Do you agree with our ranking? Let us know in the comments below!
#9 – F1 2014
Propping up this list is the first game of the hybrid era and one that F1 gamers wish they could forget, F1 2014. After a solid game in 2013, hopes were high that Codemasters could improve on their previous entry into the franchise, but that didn’t happen. The introduction of “new-gen” consoles is partly to blame for this, as the small studio had to focus its efforts on the following year’s game and the jump up in hardware. Classic cars were removed, the graphics weren’t improved on, the handling was off and to top it off, the sound of the engines were abysmal. Multi-player was a disaster, with the AOR leagues continuing to compete on F1 2013, because it was impossible to run a serious competition on even the best internet connection. Codies ended the seventh generation of consoles in disgrace and the fans demanded much better for next year…
#8 – F1 2015
… But they didn’t get it.
Admittedly, 2015 was a slight improvement on 2014, for example, the graphics were better, but you’d expect that when making the jump from the seventh to eighth generation of consoles. Classic cars didn’t return, despite there being a huge calling from the fans for it. Safety Cars and red flags were also removed, the latter of which we still haven’t seen a return of. The handling was better but online was still terrible and the worst part of this game was the removal of career mode. Codies decided to omit career mode, the flagship feature of the F1 games, a decision that still baffles to this day.
#7 – F1 2012
If this game was a colour, it’d be beige. 2012 was an okay game, there wasn’t much wrong with it, but not a whole lot right either. The “live the life” aspect to the game was completely removed, you were now a bloke who lived inside a wind tunnel and occasionally stepped into a Grand Prix car rather than a racing driver. However, the graphics were improved, the handling was a lot more realistic than the previous game and scenario mode was introduced, although the latter was largely forgettable. The Young Driver’s test was brought in as a de facto tutorial mode, but it was tedious for experienced players.
#6 – F1 2011
Sequels are always difficult and Codemasters did a decent job of following up their first major F1 game with 2011. The menus were redesigned and looked a lot sleeker than 2010 and the change to Pirelli tyres made races a lot more strategic, as did the addition of KERS. However, the handling model was weird to say the least, the lock to lock technique being the only viable one and setups were disappointingly glitchy too. For example, if you used a certain aero combination, you’d be seconds a lap faster than the competition, making online racing extremely unfair.
I also found the colour pallet used in this one odd, it always appeared to be too bright and almost cartoony. However, compared to the graphics in the following games, it was probably a better looking game than F1 2014 and ’15. Despite all the negatives, though, this was a fun game and a worthy addition to the Codemaster’s library.
#5 – F1 2018
The most recent Codemasters F1 game finds itself firmly in mid-table in this list, but their 2018 entry was a solid game that gives us optimism going into 2019. The graphics look gorgeous and the addition of proper ERS deployment options really made the game more attractive to casual and professional players. However, what lets this game down is ironically a lot of the features which Codies added. The interviews after the race and qualifying are a good idea, but they’re extremely repetitive and don’t make sense at times. R&D is developed unrealistically fast and the changes in regulations are often glitchy too. Not quite ambitious but rubbish, but definitely a long way short of the mark.
#4 – F1 2017
I loved F1 2017, but I completely understand why people had so many gripes about it. F1 2017 was very much an evolution of the previous iteration, building upon 2016’s appearance and mechanics. 2017 brought back the classic cars that everybody loved in 2013, with an extensive library of cars. However, despite their reintroduction, you had to race against randomly generated AI names rather than the legends themselves, a small detail that detracted from the immersion. What was also bittersweet were the introduction of classic car races within career mode, which were fun, but only for all of a season before they became tedious and annoying. The R&D system was improved upon too, adding a lot of detail and getting the balance right between improving the car quickly and not too quickly.
#3 – F1 2016
The new-gen F1 game we all wanted. After a pair of dismal releases, F1 2016 was a return to form for the British game developers. Career mode and the Safety Car both returned (they never should’ve left) and with 10 seasons, the most we’d ever seen to that point. For the first time as well, a full R&D system was brought into the game, allowing players to final take a backmarker team and turn them into worldbeaters. R&D would become one of the main selling points of the game in the proceeding years and it started here, although like 2018, it was perhaps too easy to go from the back to the front. Aside from that, the current style of graphics was introduced which made the game finally look good again and the “living the life” aspect was back too.
#2 – F1 2013
If F1 2012 was boring, 2013 was the game that should’ve sparked the franchise back into life for years to come. The theme of living in a wind tunnel remained, but the most exciting addition was that of classic cars and circuits, something that was the fantasy of all Formula 1 gamers. Before this, the only way to race these cars around the old tracks was to use a game like rfactor and mod it, but this brought the old school cars of the 80’s and 90’s into the mainstream. The graphics remained largely the same but the handling slightly improved on, not that there was anything wrong with it before. However, when you raced the classic cars, there would be a filter over the picture and custom graphics, a nice touch by codies.
The most annoying aspect to this one was probably the extremely high tyre wear in the 2013 cars, but this was realistic for the time.
#1 – F1 2010
It just doesn’t get better than this!… For now.
The original Codemasters game on PS3 and Xbox 360 is a classic and hasn’t been topped in eight years since its original release. The game play may seem a little archaic if you were to go back now and play it in 2019, but at the time, it was only rivalled by the likes of Gran Turismo. Above all else, this was a fun game, with an iconic soundtrack and the original “live the life” career mode. The graphics were surprisingly good for the time as well, as was the sound.
Yes, it had issues such as auto-spin kerbs, but as a starting point, this was an extremely impressive entry. And to this day, 2010 had the most impressive multi-player of any F1 game, something that hopefully change soon.
If Codemasters can recapture the magic of their 2010 for 2019, it’ll be an instant classic.
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