F1 '24 Launch impressions and what should Codies do going forward?F1 24 

MagpieRacer

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MagpieRacer
So F1 '24 is out in the wild now fully, I've been playing since Tuesday, have around 12 hours or so in the game and have played with a variety of modes and cars and want to formulate my initial impressions and opinion and well as discuss what I think has to happen in the very near future of Codemasters F1 games.

Some housework first, I am playing on a controller (Xbox Elite 2) on the Xbox Series X. So bear that in mind when I discuss my opinion on physics, feel, graphics and so on.

Visuals:
I am going to get this one out of the way nice and early. If you have had any Codemasters F1 game on current gen consoles, you know what you're getting. It doesn't do much wrong, but doesn't do anything to stand out either. However, compared to the past few iterations, it does have a tweaked colour palette which I feel is a bit more natural and not as saturated, it is more 'real' looking because of this. Little visual details like debris on the tyres, visible tyre wear and flat-spotting, drivers glancing in the mirrors are all present and look good.

The revamped circuits (Spa, Qatar, Silverstone, Jeddah) look excellent, Spa in particular is a superb upgrade from previous.

Driving:
This has clearly divided opinion on the interwebs. e-Sports drivers, prominent influencers and and solid number of (mostly) wheel users have ripped it apart, there seems to be an input/damping/grip issue that is specifically affecting wheel users. That isn't to say it isn't affecting pad users, some of the faster pad users have noticed a similar issue, just much less obvious. For me, I haven't really hit any issues with the driving, in fact the physics for me are a real step up from previous games. The areas that they have been pushing as improved are noticeable, the suspension and such. The cars pitch and bounce more convincingly, weight transfer feels a lot more natural, the feeling on a controller with all of these things is absolutely A1.

The cars have more grip than F1 23, as I hoped they would, F1 cars have immense levels of mechanical and aero grip, Pirelli tyres are grippy, and you can feel that now. I can actually turn traction control off now on controller and feel confident in the cars. That's not to say the cars don't break traction, if you're aggressive or in too low a gear or pushing hard, the cars will break grip, at that point, counter-steering and catching slides is firstly, possible, whereas in previous F1 games it hasn't always been possible and you just spin or go off track. Now you can catch it and gather the car up. This also plays into tyre wear, which seems to be a lot more dynamic, you can get the car moving around when you push but you will kill the tyres very quickly. Looking after them actually works, you can adapt strategies better during races and extend stints or decide to push hard and go for an undercut, the feel difference between compounds is a lot more noticeable as well, particularly in F2 where you regularly come across 2 step differences in compounds.

Racing is as you would expect again, but that isn't a criticism. Codemasters are the kings of competitive AI racing for me and this is no different. They are still perhaps a little too tentative at the start of races but they don't shy away from defending and attacking and once you nail your difficulty level, no game will come close to delivering the AI racing experience that F1 does.

Modes and gameplay:
F1 World returns and is pretty much unchanged from '23, handily the game brings across your license rating from F1 '23. There's a new fan-zone thing where you choose a favorite team and driver for that particular in game season and earn points for whoever you choose to try and win the series. I played F1 World a bit in '23 and found it OK. I felt in that game it was added almost to paper over the cracks of other modes which had seen little to no changes since F1 2020. It has also had an adverse affect on the game which I will come to later.

MyTeam hasn't changed, it may actually have got worse because of an above issue which I'll come to. A mode that had been wished for for the longest time and it has now been unchanged in 5 iterations of games.

Driver career is where the bulk of the single player changes have occurred. You can still create your own driver, start in F2, pick an F1 academy etc. But now you earn accolades, stats and more through your career, giving everything a bit more purpose. Secret meetings to switch teams, team mate and other driver rivalries, and a few other new mechanics have increased the value of playing this mode. Another great addition is being able to do driver career as a real driver, you can choose anyone from the 2023 F2 or 2024 F1 grid as well as a selection of icons. Naturally the F2 drivers won't have any F1 accolades to start with but with the F1 drivers you will take on their accolades and targets. I think this will increase the replay value of the mode tenfold. It's a good addition and one that has given the driver career mode a desperately needed refresh and i think will be the mode a majority of players will play.

Other touches such as mid race objectives are very welcome, hitting target lap times with clear track ahead, closing gaps to cars in front, burning off excess fuel before a certain lap, passing a certain driver, makes races feel a bit more dynamic. I'm sure they will get repetitive eventually but it's a good addition and one I would like to see them add to.

Challenge career is new, and seems totally pointless to me. Race weekend scenarios with preset driver and track conditions with a leaderboard attached.

Issues and negatives:
As I alluded to above, F1 World has accelerated an issue that has always been in the background of CM F1 games, but has now started to really come to the forefront; ingame purchases and lack of content. By content I specifically mean customisation and that like. By default upon starting the game, there was 1 livery, 1 helmet, 1 race suit and 1 glove set to choose from for the custom player car, that is frankly unacceptable. The only way to get more seems to be by purchasing in the shop using in game currency (which has to be bought) or earning through the XP system (and I can't see any liveries at the moment that can be earned without buying the VIP pass which also costs real money). F1 World is effectively an online service and this approach really drives that home, however, this has a knock on effect for My Team which uses the same content. Someone who wants to play My Team in this game is going to be resigned to having 1 livery to choose from.

F1 has been on this engine, albeit through several evolutions, since Codemasters took on the license (sans 2009). Codemasters know their engine, they know how it works, '24 fundamentally isn't overly different to '23 on the whole, so some of the bugs that exist at launch are unforgivable. One particularly annoying one is the inability to choose wet weather tyres for wet weather races, there doesn't seem to be a specific trigger for this other than wet weather. Forcing you to pit on the first lap to switch to dry tyres, the Ai start on dry tyres and lap decently quickly on the wet track and even when they take the scheduled stop, still switch to another set of dry tyres. This alsos renders the Max Verstappen challenge career challenges pretty much impossible to complete, and given that is a time limited event exclusive to early access, that's poor.

F2 in career mode still feels like an afterthought. You don't get the same calendar menu system as you do in F1, which means you cannot adjust difficulty between race weekends, view the standings or anything like that. A minor quibble perhaps, but just irritating because it doesn't need to be this way.

Finally the circuits, yes the revamped circuits look fantastic, but this highlights the massive weaknesses in others. Driving Spa and then the Hungaroring makes the Hungaroring feel very dated.

The future:
F1 '25 is going to be a defining game in Codemasters tenure. It has to evolve, they have to add more to what they've done this year to get people buying. I feel F1 '24 will suffer sales wise, despite a refreshed career mode and improved pad gameplay. It still doesn't do enough to make it a must buy for most people. F1 '25 needs to be a must buy, or the F1 license may start weighing heavy on finances.

What would I like to see? First and foremost, My Team needs a significant refresh. Budgets need to be relevant to real life, in the game there is no budget cap or anything, introduce the real life budget cap to make it relevant. Implement F2 into the mode, if F1 can license a fictional team then so can F2, create an academy for your team to bring feeder drivers through, manage young drivers to promote to the team alongside your driver. The biggest draw they could add however would be car concepts. The standard car has been the same for a while, it looks outdated and is dull. Let us choose a different concept, have 3 or 4 different types of cars within these rules, let us choose what concept we want to develop from, different front wing shapes, engine covers, side pod styles, nose styles, floor styles etc. Give us some freedom to actually create something different. If it doesn't work, we have to sacrifice massive budget to change the concept. There's so much that could make this mode an attraction again.

F3 needs to be added, F2 was a significant addition in terms of value for money on content. With the new driver career mode, it highlights a need to expand this further in the future. F3 is the logical, and only, way to do this. Expanding the driver base to create a longer and more interesting career mode, giving us a new car to play with and a new starting point for driver career as well. However, the junior series' should be getting the same love as F1. It would be very satisfying and much more rewarding if rivalries and such existed in the lower formula and not just F1. Imagine having a rival in F3, you both move to F2, on the same F1 team academy, fighting to get that last seat in F1. Then when they arrive in F1 after you, the rivalry rekindles and evolves.

The mid race objectives can be expanded upon too, as I said, the idea is sound and I'm glad it has been implemented, now take it further. Lets have some Fernando is faster than you radio calls, lets have an aggressive alternate strategy which requires 10 qualifying laps to work, lets be told to keep your team mate in DRS range to protect them from attack. Creating more dynamic racing scenarios which will again create longevity and intrigue in the long run.

Conclusion:
F1 '24 is a great F1 game, it has evolved nicely from '23 in a couple of key areas, physics and driver career specifically. It feels great on a pad and still delivers the best AI racing experience on any game. It has some annoying niggles that shouldn't have made it to release and the push towards MTX and basically killing My Team with a lack of livery choices is concerning. But it is a good game. It isn't worth paying full price to upgrade from F1 '23 however.

F1 '25, as said above, needs to really go the extra mile to get people to keep buying and keep wanting to play the series, F1 '24 is a plateau, it's up to CM as to whether that plateau heads down the mountain to disaster, or is a base camp for a new peak.
 
Thanks for that extensive take on F1 24. I’ve been playing the series since the start, and this is the first year haven’t pre-ordered the game. But as a wheel user exclusively, the issues raised so far are not encouraging.

The marketing around the redone kinematics sounded positive so I had some hope for handling but so far not well received. And not much mention on Force Feedback - its never been a strong point, mostly aero loading w speed and supension travel over bumps etc but no real feeling of weight and chassis movement (does a real F1 car have almost no steering resistance when stopped??). Is it just pasted over from 23? how is that interacting w the new design? WO improvement in both deal breakers for me

Waiting to see what happens w the physics mods they are working on - hope it improves but regardless 25 needs to be a major change
 
Some F2 photos.
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CodeMasters should change their name to CodeVeterans or something, there's still the wet weather tire bug from last year.

I agree that next year has to be an evolution. I can't pay 70 bucks for another year of a mobile game-level upgrade system, where it's not about developing and designing a car built in a way you want to go fast, but instead an XP-like grind of just accumulating enough points to finish the checklist til "bam you have fast car now". CM should stop endlessly fiddling with the HaNdLiNg in a futile attempt to appeal to hardcore sim racers who won't gaf about this game no matter what they do and make the career mode experience deeper and more enjoyable. F1 world has a great concept of different parts with different bonuses, as well as different personnel. Why can't we have something similar in myteam/career? Why do arcade racing games have deeper car build systems than Formula 1? It's a sad joke

All that said, I do like the handling this year. After finding a nice baseline setup, it's made the game much more enjoyable for me and aside from the engine echo when youre close to walls and the wet weather tire bug, it has been good enough of an experience. I have since uninstalled f1 23
 
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First impressions after picking the game up yesterday:

Physics feel good. It's certainly no iRacing or Assetto Corsa but it feels natural and the feeling of grip is improved over F1 23.

FFB on T300RS is massively improved, probably the biggest improvement straight out of the box.

Graphics are meh, same as the last few games and in need of a next gen overhaul.

And finally, the one thing I haven't seen many people comment on yet is the sound. The addition of tyre slip is good, but my god the engine sounds are woeful. I feel like it's gone backwards since last year? Truly flat and uninspiring.
 
thanks for the write up and saving me the the money.
the things it lacks that you pointed out are unacceptable at this point I think.
bad handling using a wheel is a deal breaker in a racing game for me
 
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