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F1 24 review: a modest seasonal update

This year's Formula One game introduces incremental changes and a questionable handling overhaul

Published: 30 May 2024

The thing about seasonal updates to sports games is sometimes you get big changes, like the full-blown playable motorsport melodrama we got in F1 23. Other times you get incremental, under the hood tinkering while the developer works on longer-term projects behind the scenes. With changes to the handling model and a small handful of new gameplay additions making up the headlines this year, F1 24 definitely feels on the more meagre end.

To be fair, the new Driver Career mode is an addition so welcome, we're left wondering why it wasn't there before. It's a fully featured career mode, complete with the research and development elements that have been a staple of the series for years now, only you play as a real-world driver from F1 or F2 rather than a custom creation. You can even pull icons from the sport's history if you want to find out how, say, James Hunt in his prime would cut it in F1 in 2024. Mind you, it doesn't account for how distracted he'd be by the existence of Tinder.

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A perennial problem for racing games is keeping you interested when you're not battling for the race win but instead stuck somewhere in the mid-pack. An issue Lewis Hamilton is all too familiar with this season. The danger is, if you're nailed on for an eighth place finish, you're likely to either restart the session or, worse, quit the game and fire up Call of Duty.

We reckon F1 24 has found a neat solution with its in-race, context-sensitive dynamic challenges. Your task could be keeping engine temperature down, protecting your front wing from further damage or, if you've spent the last couple of laps as the world's most expensive lawnmower, finishing a lap without leaving the circuit.

Completing that last one might be a little trickier this year. While there have been only modest changes in terms of modes in F1 24, there has been a complete overhaul of the handling that is by no means an unqualified success. Players on a joypad will find themselves wrestling with an unruly car in low speed corners, riding kerbs now barely registers and on a steering wheel the handling darts around like an angry wasp near an open Ribena bottle.

The allegedly more accurate suspension modelling and tyre temperature simulation mean there's almost certainly the foundation of a realistic physics system in there, and there'll no doubt be fixes and updates made, but it's a shame that, as one of the bigger changes this year, it feels like an unfinished project.

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A quiet year for the series then, which leaves us wondering what exciting things they're busy cooking up for F1 25 behind the scenes. Sharper Charles Leclerc cheekbones? The option to mix and match Lewis Hamilton's full paddock wardrobe? A Daniel Ricciardo mirror pep-talk minigame? Guess we'll find out in 12 months.

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