F1 2015 ReviewPrice:
PC, Xbox One, PS4
After a rote couple of entries in recent years, F1 2015 was touted as the big leap forward Codemasters' series has been seeking since its regular return to shelves five years ago. The ability to focus on exploiting new console hardware would result in improvements across all platforms, enabling Codemasters to create the best F1 experience yet.
This hasn't happened. While improvements have been made here and there, especially to the core racing systems, overall F1 2015 is a lacklustre game that particularly suffers on PC. Missing features, bland presentation, and a distinct lack of thrill all contribute to F1 2015 squandering its potential as a game-changer.
Let's begin with what F1 2015 does right. It remains a competent racing game, and much of that is down to the changes that Codemasters have made. For better or worse, as a sport Formula 1 is no longer simply about track, car and driver. F1 2015 finally pays proper attention to this, placing a much greater emphasis on communication with your team and managing your car through a race.
This is most evident in the introduction of a far chattier race-engineer, who regularly updates you with information on both your car's status and the situation within the race. Through the (overly-realistic) radio-crackle, he tracks your fuel-usage, keeps an eye on your tyre wear, tells you when to pit, and informs you of your position relative to other racers.
This isn't window-dressing either, all of it relates directly to ever-changing car and track conditions. Fuel and tyre simulation are convincingly implemented - you can almost feel the car getting lighter as the race progresses, and after a while the whole chassis will begin to judder and vibrate at speed as the tyres degrade, threatening to throw you into a barrier or gravel-trap.
The internals of your car are equally important. Brake too aggressively and they'll begin to overheat, and your engineer will urge you to ease off in the corners. If you have damage simulation switched on, even the slightest bump will affect the car's speed and handling. In short, the endurance aspect of F1 is much better represented. Lengthier races are no longer just a bigger opportunity for you to screw up. They have a genuine effect on your car's performance, which gradually introduce new challenges for you to overcome during the race.
The racing has also improved outside of your car. For a start, driver AI is more convincing. They're aggressive, jostling for position in corners and attempting to overtake if they approach you on straights. But they also make mistakes, and not always in places convenient for you to witness them. Often you'll see yellow flag warnings appear in one corner of the screen, signalling that somewhere on the track a driver has veered off course. I still haven't seen any race-ending crashes between AI drivers, but at least they aren't passive robots designed to be overtaken.