Since taking over the F1 license officially back in 2009, Codemasters have put the rubber stamp on the fact that they are indeed the king of racers with some truly great racers released in the years since.
With the F1 and Dirt series both getting rave reviews in recent years, sooner or later, the question of if Codemasters are beginning to reach the ceiling or their own powers is one that has to be asked.
Racing has always been their thing (remember back to the days of TOCA and V8 Supercars entries?), but it’s been in this particular gaming generation that they’ve not had to deal with a flood of games hitting the popular racing genre.
Despite what feels like fewer straight-up racers, the competition has been mighty stiff.
Over on the Xbox side, Forza Horizon 4 has been widely reviewed as one of the most accessible and fun racers in modern gaming history, while what Slightly Mad Studios have delivered with the Project Cars series has proved formidable in the console sim racing space, with impressive sim racer Assetto Corza also now a regular.
Rival motorsports such as Moto GP and WRC both have their own official games, but neither reach the depth that the F1 series has over the years.
Codemasters have always strived to deliver a fully licensed racer that caters to both the sim racer and gamers who’re simply looking to pick up and play. F1 2020 continues that fine trend, and despite it catering to the sport of F1 only (obviously), it’s also the most accessible entry to date with its wide range of assists than can make the experience worthy in either direction, arcade or hardcore.
F1 2020 feels like Codemasters reaching the very pinnacle of their powers with the current technology at hand, on the racing front at least.
One could argue that the My Team addition was slightly late in the piece because there is no logical reason why this couldn’t have featured in F1 2019 or F1 2018. My Team, a new mode that allows you to run your own team as both a driver and owner, builds on much of what the largely unchanged Career Mode already brought to the table while adding in the financial management side and the ability to create liveries, choose engine maker, etc.
My Team isn’t what sells F1 2020 in my view, because as has been the case with each subsequent release year on year, the real selling point is the on-track experience you’re getting with this racer. F1 2020 continues a hybrid between hardcore sim and a racer casual gamers can have fun with, but how it will keep true racing fans engaged is its real strength.
Understanding F1 as a motorsport is a must in order to appreciate this title to the level it truly deserves.
The best moments of F1 2020 are the intensely close races that rely on a solid strategy and a willingness to turn as many of the assists off to give yourself a good challenge on the tarmac.
Setting the difficulty upwards of 80 – 85 (the range considered in the hard category) will make chasing down the likes of Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes front-runners a truly monumental challenge, one that can only be beaten by consistent good pace and a winning strategy.
F1 2020 encourages that skill and strategy in a way that is as clear as the entries that came before it, and for what’s likely the last entry in this current generation of consoles, the real challenge for this franchise moving forward will be to keep with what works and explore ways to provide more value in the graphical department – something that both PS5 and Xbox Series X will likely help with.
My thanks once again to Koch Media for providing me with a code for this game.