After watching Alono’s amazing drive be ruined by another car issue, I hoped that my time playing F1 2017 would not end the same way.
After booting the game up I ventured into the settings, throwing everything to the max. In the options menu you can find the usual things like shadow, reflections, Anti-aliasing, dynamic hair (for some reason), and only “Shadows” which seems to be able to go to the “Ultra+” setting. It was also very nice to see a “Tobii Eye Tracking” option as well.
Races That Feature In F1 2017
The Main Menu allows you to choose what kind of race to want to partake in. Players can choose from Career, Grand Prix, Multiplayer, Time Trials and Events.
Events will change on a time basis, for example the current one event at the time of writing expired on Tuesday. Each event has a different task to complete for example this particular one challenged me to start a race with a broken nose (the car, not the driver) as Max Verstappen, jump to the pits to fix it and win the race. It’s really fun and frustrating at the same time but it’s amazing to see the difference in the handling when the car has a broken nose. Taking corners slower because the you can’t turn as tight anymore, breaking earlier so you can get the right line and a general disappointment in how the car feels. THIS IS GREAT, it gives you the feeling of driving in an F1 car without the need of a Super Licence.
Championships gives you a bunch of races in different cars. One being the full 2017 race calendar competing in practice, qualification and the race. You set the race length yourself from 5 laps to the full 100% race length and you can even turn off Practice and still get the Finish 1st badge and Achievements.
Classic Car hot laps, Street Tours, All Weather and strange but very entertaining race events can be found here as well and playing a “Reverse Championship Grid Order” was more fun than what I expected it to be (where the winner of the last race starts at the back of the grid and the looser at the front). You can customise your settings before each race, so if you want an arcade style, no damage or penalties kind of a brawl, let it be. If you want a serious full sim, then a quick change of the settings in the loading screen (which is a beautiful idea), let it be. I even found my favourite feature when tickling the settings, and this was the difficulty bar. It’s not a standard Easy, Medium, Hard kind of a toggle, its a % bar that you can move anywhere allowing you to customise your difficulty to how you want it. I started on 57% and moved up slowly after each race to find a good challenge, keeping in mind that if you have dynamic weather set, then when the wet weather kicks in, its very hard to navigate.
The handling of the cars are very different to what F1 2016 offered, or to any other driving game I have played recently. It felt refined, clean and a pleasure to throw your car around corners over 100 mph hoping not to go wide on the exit. It was so good, It was so good that I missed the last day of British Summer this Bank holiday just gone. I spent the entire day indoors playing this game and having a fantastic time doing so.
F1 2017 Career Mode
Career mode is a lot more in depth this year and a lot more fun. You have to collect points by completing challenges in Practice, Qualification and the race. Challenges include driving through gates, fuel management (where you have to change your driving style to meet various criteria), tyre management (which concentrates on corner speed and braking), as well as fastest sector/lap times. Get enough points and you can use these in the “Research & Development” section to improve the stats of your car however these can take a few races before you get the parts onto your car (they are not immediate). Once you have these parts, you can actually feel the car handle differently, weather you made aerodynamic changes or more power you will find that the car will be driving you more than you driving the car which then makes doing practice sessions more important to get that best lap time.
At the start of the race, its nice to have the formation lap but sad to see that you do not do the full thing. All you do is make sure you keep your position for 98% of a lap and just before the starting grid, the AI takes control of your car and parks it for you. It would have been nice to have some tyre management ‘mini-game’ to keep your tyres at optimal temperature and have cars swaying around the track (just like in real F1 racing) and to be able to park the car up on the grid. This could have been a setting i missed out on or I will just see if this can be added next year.
After a few races you will see your engine, gearbox, etc wearing out which then slows your car down, more risk of failure during a race and a host of other issues so to rectify this you have to switch these parts out but since you only have 4 of each and penalties if you use more, the game turns into a management simulator rather than a flat out race sim. This then forces you to learn more about the car and your driving style so stop slamming down that accelerator button when you come out of corners.
Manual starts are back this year to test your reaction speed on the start line and it was fun to see the safety car pop up every now and then but a disappointment with commentary which i turned off after a while. Once you have done a season, you have heard everything that needs to be said and the flow of their talking is something that needs improving as it still have a robotic feel. “Who’s your driver of the day Ted?” to which Ted then talks about the erratic weather and does not mention any drivers…… What is a real shame is that you do not hear anything about drivers in lower than 3rd place apart from when the grid order is being called, nor any improvements to cars. While I am talking about the bad stuff, i might as well mention that the cut scenes with the drivers in the pit lane getting ready for the start of the race, there is a view of a camera man whose hand if clipping through the tv camera he is holding. Having settings on max/ultra and only using a something x 900 monitor (feel free to hate me in the comments below) this type of thing should have been resolved. Considering i saw the same clip about 8-10 times in 2 seasons. The facial animation is awkward at the best of times *seeing flashbacks to Mass Effect: Andromeda* but since this is a racing game, who cares.
Bad points aside (since these can be skipped by the press of button), the game is very enjoyable and keeps the F1 spirit. Races are very fun but can be a tad boring if you’re behind the top 3 in a slow car, tho a tweak of the difficulty slider can help with that. Newcomers will be slightly overwhelmed with options but you will still have great fun making skid marks in the asphalt.
You can grab a copy of F1 2017 from the Green Man Gaming store.
Have you played F12017? Let us know what you think in the comments below.