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Gaming: F1 2015 Review
The official Formula One game finally makes it to PS4 and Xbox One. Worth the wait?
The problem with most F1 games is that translating the handling of a car that is basically a grounded spaceship to those twiddly little thumbsticks on a PlayStation controller is actually really difficult. Well, TG is proud to report that after hours of exhaustive, couch-based research (you’re welcome), Codemasters finally seems to have nailed it.
Whether it’s wrestling with acres of torque out of low speed corners or shearing off the top layer of rubber from a locked front tyre, this game’s F1 cars feel alive. That extra dynamism doesn’t just offer new, spectacular ways to convert carbon fibre into confetti either. Before long you’ll be able to reliably hustle the car, catching snap oversteer with the same near-psychic precision as Hamilton and chums.
Which will come in handy in the rain, where the rear of the car will spend 90% of the race at some oblique angle or other. With ocean sized puddles and glistening, slippery kerbs, wet races look stunning, to the point where we’re getting post-traumatic flashbacks to family holidays in Wales.
Of course if you’re both really good and a glutton for punishment, you’ll be opting for the new Pro Season mode, which is as close as you’ll get to being a real F1 driver. It strips back all the driver assists, removes the heads up display and cranks the race length up to full distance. The only way it could be more realistic is if your console belched fifty quid notes after every race.
In that mode you’ll want to take full advantage of the new voice command system, which allows you to request information from your engineer or, if you’re embarrassed about talking to a piece of consumer electronics, just manually select the relevant transmission from a menu. Sadly there’s not yet the option to huffily question why your team mate got a better pit strategy, but maybe they’re saving that one for next year.
The game also features the option to switch to last year’s 2014 season, presumably to apologise for its tardiness in arriving on the new consoles. It’s a generous touch, and the only way to play the Hockenheim circuit, but in reality, you’re unlikely to bother with it unless you’re a Fernando Alonso fan in denial.
The trimmings are all very welcome, but the real reason to pick F1 2015 up is still the way these cars feel to drive. It’s not something that’s likely to be splashed in big lettering across the back of the box, but it is the thing that makes F1 2015, this season at least, more exciting than the real thing…