In the realm of gaming, Codemasters has had an interesting history. While they've dabbled in multiple genres throughout the years, their forte has always been racing sims. The Southam, England-based studio just a stone's throw away from Birmingham has put a vast amount of time and effort into their flagship series, F1. This year's title, aptly named F1 2016, has shown to everyone that a developer does not have to make a racing sim overly complicated for it to be fun.
In a world where games are working their absolute hardest to get every last detail down perfectly, such as Project Cars and Gran Turismo, Codemasters has made sure that F1 stays fun but still gives a level of realism to ensure a proper enjoyment level for all skill levels and challenges. A full review of the title will be available on Gaming Nexus in the coming days, but before I give you the main course, here's a little appetizer of things I've come across while playing F1 2016.
1) Simplicity is everything
Even if you don't know the first thing about open wheel racing, and being honest, I know very little outside of watching the Indianapolis 500 every year, this game can hook you in a hurry. Jumping straight into any of the practice modes will give a player an opportunity to just get in and go. There aren't any ridiculous settings to change, though you can opt to do so if you want to take your game to the next level. This is pick-up-and-play and I'm very happy about that.
2) Career mode is refreshing
Most of the racing games I've played have career modes that are insanely complicated or aren't straightforward with what exactly is going on, such as Project Cars and the two legs of racing before a real race that kind of act as qualifiers but really aren't. F1 2016 makes it clear right away: Pick your team, pick your teammate, practice, qualify, race. It's easy to understand, you know where you finish at the end, and you know if you achieved your goals or not. It's what I want from a title like this.
3) The tracks are well detailed and accurate...
I've jumped into six of the tracks so far, and doing comparisons between what I've raced on the PS4 and the shots I see taken from these various tracks online, Codemasters nailed the layouts and details of each track so far. I have to imagine the rest of the tracks I play will be the same way and there shouldn't be any surprises.
4) ...but don't expect super detailed flora.
The downside to this title versus the other racing simulators is that not everything is incredible detailed. While the tracks, stands, environment, and shadowing of the cars are all great in detail, the little things such as the grass or dirt are definitely not. They are general palette colors. While spinning out in these does provide a realistic feel to kicking up dirt or grass, it's definitely a step down from Project Cars. There's no getting around it.
5) This game is made for marathon sessions.
The race length can be altered to however much a player wants to enjoy. The default setting is generally around 15 laps, but racers can opt to enjoy the full race and set up a pit strategy in the process. Knowing when to switch your fuel from standard to rich or to lean can mean a world of difference on the longer races. I found this out the hard way as I went to rich fuel without realizing it and actually ran out of gas with two laps to go. There may not be a more sobering moment in a racing sim for me. The best part of this, however, is that a race can be saved at any point. If you're opting to do these full 100-lap races and decide you need to take a break 40 laps in, it's as simple as pausing the game and saving it. You'll not only be brought back into the race, but you'll have a chance to rewind if you wish in order to prepare yourself again for where you stopped. Brilliant and very welcome.
So that's it for now. I'm thoroughly enjoying the game even with some of its flaws, but be sure to check out the full review as I go into more detail with the final rundown.