I’ve got a lot of love for the world of F1, so I’d been pretty excited to get my hands on F1 22 – especially after last year’s effort blew me away with its slick visuals, sublime racing, and enjoyable ‘Braking Point’ story mode. You could have given me more of the same with the rule changes from this season included and I’d have been happy to have just given the game a high score and get back to playing it. I thought THAT highly of it.

However, Codemasters have made some changes this year that do make the game feel a bit different from the previous entry: some positive and some negative. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve still got an excellent racing sim in F1 22, but those hoping for some of the story-driven sparks from last year might find themselves disappointed.

Check out some screenshots down below:

It’s worth mentioning immediately that F1 22 looks and feels as great as it ever has. The racing is fantastic and perfectly captures the rule changes made in the sport this year (both with the race regulations and the cars themselves), whilst the sense of speed and excitement as you jostle for positions is intense. It manages to feel different to the previous entry with the changes to the handling and aerodynamics of your car, but at the same time there’s a sense of familiarity that ensures avid F1 players will feel right at home. Practice makes perfect, of course, so you can expect some of the more confined courses to demand more precision to begin with; thankfully, it won’t take long before you’re hitting those bends with the aggressive confidence of Max Verstappen.

And of course, it looks beautiful too, with the power of the current-gen consoles fully utilised to ensure that both the vehicles and tracks look almost life-like. Whilst it does have some of the flaws commonly associated with racing titles such as weird looking spectators or awkwardly animated sequences around the paddock, everything else is gorgeous. Between the rich detail, the realism of the vehicle models, and the way it captures the intensity of the sometimes-chaotic nature of each race, F1 22 is one heck of a looker.

The accessibility settings from previous entries return too, so newbies will feel right at home in the action. Whilst I’d always recommend turning off the likes of braking and steering assists, having a racing line that gives a braking indicator can be perfect when learning tracks or simply getting to grips with the cars. On the flipside, the game gives more options for those who really want that authentic F1 experience too, whether it’s when taking more control during pit stops or restarting after yellow flag events with the safety car. F1 22 goes all out for authenticity, but it also offers plenty of leeway for those who aren’t so familiar with driving games.

“The racing is fantastic and perfectly captures the rule changes made in the sport this year (both with the race regulations and the cars themselves), whilst the sense of speed and excitement as you jostle for positions is intense.”

So it’s clear that F1 22 nails it when it comes to its driving and presentation, but what does it offer when it comes to game modes? Well, it’s worth mentioning immediately that there’s no follow up to the brilliant ‘Braking Point’ this year. It was one of my favourite things about the previous game and the narrative-driven escapade managed to capture the intensity and emotional impact of the sport perfectly, so yeah, it’s a bit of a disappointment. Codemasters have said that the mode could return in the future, but it’s a real shame that it didn’t carry over into this year’s entry and strike whilst the iron is hot (and especially when the sport is so rife with real-life rivalries and intensity as it stands).

The immersive single player experience included this year is F1 Life, which tracks your career as an F1 star, allows you to spend your winnings souping up your home hub, and lets you purchase the likes of super cars and glamour outfits to give yourself a slick look. You know how Lewis Hamilton always looks super suave and cool outside of F1? You can do that too. One cool thing about this mode is the fact that you can actually take those super cars you buy out for a spin, with the player able to hit the track or complete Pirelli Hot Laps that give you specific challenges to complete. They’re a lot of fun and offer a different racing experience to the one you’d have in an F1 car.

Outside of the super cars though, I found it hard to invest in F1 Life. It’s a neat idea that does give you more personal attachment to your achievements in-game, but it was something I lost interest in quite quickly. It just felt like a bit of a novelty as opposed to a meaningful way to absorb myself into the game.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Then you’ve got the likes of My Team and the Career mode to play through, which once again offer realistic experiences of F1 (and F2) from different perspectives. They offer a deep and satisfying delve into the world of F1, whilst the inclusion of Sprint Races this year makes them feel even more authentic than last year’s entry. I’ve put a ton of hours into both modes and haven’t tired of them yet, so they’re just as addictive and enjoyable as ever. I’ll never stop having fun playing through seasons in F1 and with the game’s adaptive AI, you’re always kept on your toes.

Add to that the multiplayer options (both when racing together on the same team or competitively against a full grid of drivers) and there’s PLENTY to get stuck into. I’ve mentioned that the lack of a ‘Braking Point’ follow-up is disappointing, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough brilliant racing action here for players to get stuck into – whether you’re looking to play solo, co-operatively with a friend on the same team in online co-op (which is one of my favourite things to do in the game), or against a bunch of strangers in a full racing weekend.

F1 22 Review

F1 22 offers another great racing experience that feels sublime to play – it’s just a shame that the brilliant ‘Braking Point’ didn’t make a return this year. There’s still plenty for racing fans to love between My Team and the Career mode though, whilst the stunning visuals, slick racing, and wealth of accessibility options are all outstanding once more.

There’s a lot to enjoy in F1 22 and it really feels like a different game thanks to the rule and car changes, whilst the inclusion of Sprint Races helps make each season feel more authentic than ever. It just feels like a little bit of a step back as far as game modes are concerned, especially since F1 Life is a little dull when compared to what has come before it.

Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: EA
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Website: https://www.formula1game.com/uk