F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package

a race car is driving down a wet race track .

a race car is driving down a wet race track .

F1 24 has arrived in the paddock, bringing some significant overhauls, a brand-new game mode, and a multitude of fixes and improvements compared to last year.

EA and Codemasters have heralded this year's F1 game as a significant step forward for the series, but does it live up to expectations?

Feeling the track

Much of F1 24's marketing focused on the overhauled handling and physics. EA Sports' Dynamic Handling was developed with the help of three-time F1 world champion Max Verstappen, and his input is noticeable as you drive each track.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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Despite some players having issues in the beta, F1 24's handling is a marked improvement over F1 23. As professional esports and real F1 drivers have shown, you can still lose the rear of the car if you push too hard.

In F1 23, you could lose the backend without warning, but that's no longer the case in F1 24. Now, you can feel every bump, curb, and run-off through your fingertips, allowing you to detect the rear slipping and correct a slide before you lose control without overcompensating.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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Tyre wear also feels more natural. You'll feel the grip leaving the tyres in each passing lap, meaning you can get on the radio and plan a strategy change with pinpoint accuracy.

Feeling every section of the track is crucial in longer career races, and F1 24’s improved handling helps you to charge to victory.

Speaking of career mode, the changes there are also very encouraging.

Career-defining racing

F1 24 brings big changes to Career Mode in the most significant revamp since F1 2016.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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For the first time, F1 24 lets you compete as one of the 20 official 2024 championship F1 drivers in career mode. Allowing players to “be one of the 20” is a revolutionary step for the F1 series, with players now able to live out their F1 dreams as their favorite driver.

This also extends to My Team Icons. In Career Mode, players can fill the racing boots of new Icons James Hunt and Juan Pablo Montoya alongside returning icons like Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, and Michael Schumacher.

For players who want to experience the full journey of an F1 driver, the entire F2 grid is also available to start with. This sees you begin your career in the feeder series, before working your way to the big league.

Our career started with PREMA's Oliver Bearman, who has already shown he can perform in F1.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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By starting out in F2, we claimed the championship before entering F1. Here, we got to experience one of Career Mode's new headline features: contract negotiations.

Each team has pros and cons when negotiating a contract. Whether it’s weighty expectations every race weekend, or playing second fiddle to your teammate, it’s important to make the right choice when signing with a team.

We chose to join KICK Sauber, not only because the car stands out amongst the rest, but also because we were given an equal standing alongside Valtteri Bottas. This is part of F1 24's new Driver Recognition system.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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Every decision you make on and off-track affects your Driver Recognition. Completing team objectives increases your recognition while failing to achieve your goals decreases it.

Higher recognition gives you more power in your team. Most importantly, it allows you to develop the car the way you want. Your teammate can still order R&D in certain areas of the car, but the more recognition you have, the more control you get.

As your recognition grows, other teams will notice your performance. If you continue to perform well, you may receive secret meeting invitations with rival teams. How you navigate these meetings is entirely up to you, but your team will appreciate it if you decide to stay.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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The only downside is that secret meetings are too frequent. The first meeting came after the first race of the season, with the second following after the next race. Despite each meeting being with a different team, there were too many too soon.

Besides that, however, Career Mode's new structure is a massive improvement. These changes motivate you to continue a career instead of abandoning saves because race weekends are almost identical.

In-race objectives rotate constantly from race to race, with variations including going two laps without crashing, reaching a certain position in a set number of laps, or needing to cool off the engine or brakes by a certain point. This means you won’t see the same objective consecutively.

F1 24's overhauled Career Mode overhaul is a great addition, but there's also a new option for players who want a more condensed version.

A proper challenge

Challenge Career takes everything great about Career Mode while keeping things short and sweet. Each Challenge Career season consists of six races over three episodes.

Players don’t choose a driver in Challenge Career. Instead, drivers, teams, and tracks are rotated every season. These are voted by the community, giving players a voice when it comes to new content.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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Points are awarded according to player performance in each race. These points are displayed on a global leaderboard, with the racer on top at the end of each season crowned Challenge Career champion.

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Even with the extra elements, Challenge Career still plays out like regular Career Mode. Players have to skip between races while also managing car development and Driver Recognition.

This detracts from the overall experience, as it essentially feels like Career Mode with fewer races. Challenge Career would benefit from having a unique UI, with a different menu screen between races, and possibly removing Driver Recognition to differentiate it.

Rest of the grid

Even when stripping away the headline new features, F1 24 features plenty of other improvements.

Changes to the energy recovery system (ERS) give players more control over how energy is deployed. This means you can push more to achieve that difficult overtake, or sit back and recharge the battery ready to push later in the race.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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Car setups have also been expanded this year. A new engine braking setting allows you to use the engine to help slow the car going into tricky corners. This also feeds into the ERS, charging the battery more in those moments.

F1 24 also boasts a wider range of differential settings than F1 23, increasing from 50-100% to 10-100%. The suspension geometry settings are also wider, allowing for more or less assistance when cornering.

Beyond these, however, F1 24 lacks innovation. My Team once again remains untouched, with all the focus this year going into Career Mode.

The same can be said about F1 World. Despite the game mode arguably saving the series last year, this year feels like a copy-and-paste job. New content will be added to the platform as the F1 season progresses, with Champions Edition owners able to win Max Verstappen's helmet in the first event, but there are no new additions for players to experience.

F1 24 Review: A Moderate Upgrade Package
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F1 24's new divisive Fanzone mode, which sees players compete while representing their favorite F1 driver and team to unlock unique rewards, has also taken resources away from areas that sorely needed them.

Adding a tribal fan element to the game is an interesting idea, especially with the Drive to Survive audience known for picking sides, but the mode feels like it's been borrowed from other EA Sports titles.

In truth, many of F1 24's main USPs are recycled from either older F1 games or other EA Sports games. Once you realize this, F1 24's asking price feels steep.

EA charging £59.99 for the Standard Edition and a whopping £79.99 for the Champions Edition has been a major talking point for players. However, when you consider that F1 24 is essentially F1 23 with improved handling and a new Career Mode, this price point is hard to justify.

For diehard F1 fans, F1 24 is worth the upgrade. Being able to experience the new handling first-hand while also living out your F1 dream as your hero is the main draw this year.

For everyone else though, F1 24 is a moderate upgrade package compared to its predecessor. It feels like a stopgap for something bigger next year. Whether that’s a new engine, the return of Braking Point, or something entirely new, we’ll just have to wait and see.

F1 24 Score
F1 24 improves on its predecessor with overhauled handling and a new Career mode, but it’s not the huge upgrade the series needed to justify the inflated price.
7 out of 10

What do you make of F1 24? Let us know in the comments below!

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