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F1 24 review – an enjoyable way to rewrite recent Formula One history
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F1 24 review – an enjoyable way to rewrite recent Formula One history

Until the last few races, in which Ferrari and McLaren have emerged as contenders, Formula One has been stuck in a stultifying rut due to Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s complete dominance. Happily, a means of rewriting F1 history exists, in the form of the annual officially licensed F1 game, developed by Codemasters and published by EA Sports.

This year’s iteration gives Formula One fans their best chance yet to free the sport from Verstappen’s hegemony: it’s the first F1 game that lets you pursue an entire multi-season career as any of the current 20 real-life drivers. Finally, avid fans can, through sheer driving skill, depose Verstappen while enhancing the reputation of their favourite driver. I decided to play as Alex Albon, one of the nicest guys in F1 (who also has one of the weakest teammates: the game rewards you for winning such rivalries), and, by dialling down the difficulty levels, my version of Albon has already graced the top step of the podium, even in an uncompetitive Williams.

To accommodate the drivers, Codemasters has rethought and cleverly improved the main career mode, making it more of a role-playing exercise than ever, with everything you do on track feeding into an overarching driver rating. Do well, and other teams will secretly approach you for exploratory meetings – but if word gets out, you’ll lose the trust of your current team.

You can pursue a number of simultaneous careers in F1 24: you can still play as yourself, and you can pursue a joint two-player career with a friend, either competitively or cooperatively. Even the game’s old challenge mode, in which you chase specific objectives in vignettes of grands prix ancient and modern, has morphed into a full-blown career, albeit a less time consuming, more time-sensitive one designed to be dipped into regularly.

Some brave changes to the game’s underlying physics – particular to tyre and suspension models – have rendered F1 24’s cars more true-to-life than ever: you now must spend as much time looking after tyres as the real drivers do. The continuing presence of the loot-box-driven, arcade-style F1 World mode will remain divisive, but it at least exists in a silo if the idea of paying even more than the £59.95 asking price makes you want to heave.

F1 24 is really all about how its clever incorporation of real drivers into the career mode throws up an endless number of possibilities – just like the real sport hopefully will for the rest of this season and beyond.

Source: theguardian.com