F1 22 is finally here. After months of hype, big questions over EA's continued influence, and the brand new regulations that have come into effect this year, there is more scrutiny on the Codemasters franchise than ever before.
The biggest changes this year include those brand new cars, along with lifestyle content called F1 Life and the addition of supercars as driveable vehicles in a F1 game for the first time.
The Formula 1 series has been among the best sports franchises for years now, but can F1 22 deliver?
Here is our F1 22 review!
F1 22 review build
Before we get started, a few crucial caveats. The version of F1 22 we were provided to review is not the final product. It is missing the day 0 patch and there are a number of things impacted due to this.
Track art, lighting, performance, car models, audio, animations, VFX and damage, as well as tutorials will all be polished up in the day 0 patch that will hit the game before early release starts. VR performance and DLSS implementation is also awaiting that day 0 patch.
So with that out of the way, let's dive into the review!
A whole new beast
The 2022 regulations have created heavier cars with bigger wheels, simplified wings, and ground effect.
The result in F1 22 is a car that is lumbering in slow, tight corners and exhilarating to throw through sweeping curves.
The inertia that the bigger, heavier wheels bring makes the car feel like a boat when you have the wrong setup for your style on.
Jumping back and forth from F1 2021 to F1 22 you can feel exactly where Codemasters spent all their time. The new cars react differently to kerbs. That's not just from their lower ride heights, but also the lower profile of the tyres and the overhaul they gave the physics and handling too.
It's not a monumental change, but you can really feel where the new regulations have hit and you need to adjust. It's much easier to lose the car out of corners now, with the pendulum effect enhanced by all that extra weight.
It feels less responsive on turn-in too, making tracks like Monaco and Singapore even more of a test than they were before!
Overall the 2022 cars are a delight to drive, and while the performance of teams isn't final the racing is just as fun as we have come to expect from Codemasters' F1 series.
A familiar feeling
Outside of the car though, things feel awfully familiar.
Keeping annual sports titles fresh is hard, as EA's other titles attest to. But Codemasters has done a good job of adding to and updating the core single-player experience of the Formula 1 franchise over the past few years.
From the Feeder Series of 2019 to My Team in 2020 and Braking Point in 2021, there is always something new. R&D changes have happened over that time too, along with accessibility and more options like shorter seasons.
This year though, there has been very, very little innovation in the core modes.
My Team and Career Mode menus have had a lick of paint, but that's about it.
Everything from starting your team to race weekends and picking sponsors feels the same.
Sure, there is no more Claire asking questions after sessions and Jeff has been replaced by Marc, but that's about it.
Even the tracks have the same exact look they have had for the last few years with the same colouring and textures.
Everything just feels the same, and that's a problem when it comes to justifying full price for a new game.
New cars are exciting, new mechanics like interactive formation laps & pitstops are great, but when you spend most of your time racing or in menus it all starts to feel very similar to what you did before.
Why dive into a new My Team save in F1 22 when its the same journey you had in F1 2021?
A supercar sideshow
F1 Life was a bold step by Codemasters and EA. It's a clear attempt to create more microtransactions within the game, as there is a whole set of new cosmetics to try and hook players into buying.
Outside of that though, there really isn't anything to it. The Pirelli Hotlaps are F1's answer to Gran Turismo's license tests & missions. They are fun to do, but offer little substance
The supercars are nice, but the inability to race these cars is a baffling decision. Maybe it has to do with licensing, but for a racing game to not let you race new cars within the game is bizarre. You can load up any other racing title and find at least a few of the cars.
The Aston Martin DB11 is in Gran Turismo 7 and Forza Horizon 5. The McLaren 720s is in The Crew 2 and a GT3 version is in Raceroom.
In the end it all feels like a rather impactless add-on. The supercars are integrated into Career Mode & My Team the same way the classic F1 cars were, with optional invitational events that give you a little bit of extra Acclaim and money.
It's pretty pointless exercise, especially if you only have a limited amount of time to get your racing in. At least when these events were classic F1 cars you could enjoy the different feel and history of them. Running around in Niki Lauda's Ferrari or Ayrton Senna's McLaren was much more enjoyable than just a road car.
We used the HTC Vive Pro 2. VR headset provided by Vive.
VR compatibility is brand new to the F1 franchise, and funnily enough VR is completely new to me too.
Having been provided an HTC Vive Pro 2 by the lovely people at Vive and figuring out how to set it all up, I sat down to play F1 22 in VR.
The first issue was massive lag. Despite my PC using a 3070Ti and Ryzen 7 5800X everything had to go to low for the game to run smoothly in VR, and still menus lagged even as the gameplay smoothed out.
It may be to do with the unfinished nature of the game, or the fact that F1 22 is already a pretty intensive game with recommended specs for VR that include at least an RTX 2070.
Being a T-cam user, getting into the cockpit and looking around was awesome. The racing was an experience like nothing I've had before. This was especially true for the run up Eau Rouge/Raidillon, through Maggots & Becketts, and around Monaco.
Now being a new VR player meant that after a few laps the expected headcahe kicked in. The disconnect between the visual and physical experience is quite dramatic, and will definitely take a long time to get used to.
However, for PC players with a rig to handle it, VR is definitely a welcome addition. It's thrilling and makes you feel more like an F1 driver than ever before.
F1 22 is good, but it feels like a DLC for F1 2021 rather than a new game.
The new cars offer a learning curve to even the most experienced races out there, but beyond that there isn't too much cause for excitement.
The addition of supercars is all sizzle and no steak. They're fine to drive but nothing special. And in a franchise that separates itself by being the only place to race F1 (and F2) cars they just feel out of place. Time will tell if they are a highly-used part of the game, but once I've completed the Hot Laps challenges I won't be touching them.
Within Career Mode and My Team, F1 22 remains strong. The AI race you hard but fair. Sure you can still bully them out of a position but that goes for AI drivers in every game.
It's still great fun to drag a team up from the back of the grid, and the addition of coming into My Team as a frontrunner adds a shortcut for those without the time to grind out 8 seasons.
With the review version of F1 22 not being fully representative of the release title it is hard to give this game a score, especially without being able to try multiplayer properly. However, right now it's a good but not great title.
It still delivers that F1 feeling and the thrilling single-player racing we've come to expect from a Codemasters F1 game. It just doesn't move the franchise forward in any meaningful way.
RacingGames Rating: 7.5/10