F1 2020 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 25.07.2020

Review for F1 2020 on PlayStation 4

Without having played the previous titles in the F1 series, it is an enticing prospect to be a fresh pair of eyes on Codemasters' latest iteration, F1 2020. From the opening introduction video, there is enough energy on display in the visuals and the music to convey a lot of excitement into jumping into this annual franchise. There are two main modes to dive into, though one packs a more robust experience with very little to fault, while the online features remain to allow for both ranked and unranked match-ups against some of the world's aspiring drivers. So what exactly makes F1 2020 a worthwhile experience?

Before jumping into the races, F1 2020 sets the stage with the driver creation process. While there's not a huge lot to customise about the driver, there are enough options to allow for plenty of variations, despite the fact that they'll only be seen on the podium finishes with their celebratory poses. After creating the driver by choosing a bunch of different pre-set options, it's then time to jump into the single-best mode of this year's title.

'My Team Career' allows for the crafted driver to create a new racing team, with its own logo, attire, car colours and designs. The chosen driver will not only drive out on race day to earn the glory for his team, but he will also be in charge of the behind-the-scenes decisions that can both positively and negatively impact on his team. There is a ton of options to explore, and plenty of decisions to be made to improve the team and rise up to the highest of peaks in the Formula 1 league. Choose a contractor and sign a contract with a major sponsor to earn the base income for the team, which is then used to sign on more drivers to join the team. Different sponsors vary in costs, from signing costs to bonus payments when certain objectives have been met during the season.

Screenshot for F1 2020 on PlayStation 4

However, what truly makes the team into an on-track success is the R&D development crew. This entire area of the mode is a skill-tree that branches off into four different directions, with each signifying a separate crew of the R&D department. The Powertrain crew are in charge of upgrading various components to boost the car's engine power and increase performance with the Energy Recovery System (ERS), while making the car as fuel efficient as possible. The Aerodynamics department is tasked with reducing drag, and the Chassis crew manage the tyre wear, the brakes as well as weight distribution, while the general maintenance of the vehicle and the wear on the Power Unit is managed by the Durability department. Earn Resource Points to perform upgrades by selecting the desired node on the skill tree. Then the chosen crew begin working on the upgrade, with the finish date marked in the calendar.

Resource points can be plentiful, as these are earned by hitting team and personal milestones, or objectives during race weekend. With three practice sessions of 30 minutes to perform in, there is ample time to initiate different programs. The Track Acclimatisation programme is a three-lap program that's useful in learning the track by following the racing line to learn when to break, while trying to hit as many "gates" as possible. The Tyre Management, Fuel Management, and ERS Management programmes are useful in helping drivers manage their cars for race day. The Qualifying Pace helps drivers achieve their Qualifying Position, so the best time gets 1st Position for the Qualifier. A five-lap Race Strategy programme is probably the most valuable here, as it allows the team to generate a personalised strategy on Race Day, based on the results of the Practice races. Of course, all of these don't have to be initiated every time, but they are highly valuable 'mini-games' that are designed to prepare the driver as best as possible for the big day.

Screenshot for F1 2020 on PlayStation 4

Of course, none of this compares to the big race at the end of the weekend: and these events are hyped with gusto thanks to the impressive video packages that showcase the track and the surrounding locale. F1 2020 does a terrific job with its presentation, from the commentators hyping the event, to the bombastic music that gets the energy flowing. Every race actually feels like a big event - unlike other racing titles, where "big event" races just feel like generic ones. In the lead-up to each race, the team has an empty schedule that can be filled with a bunch of different activities. These activities are designed to help the team gain Resource Points, or earn extra income, or perform marketing for the team.

Around the big events, interviews may be conducted with the team leader, with multiple-choice dialogue sequences taking place. While this is a cool idea, it does wind up becoming a tedious "mini-game" of sorts, due to the positives versus negatives of choosing some options. For example, if the driver pumps up the Powertrain Development team prior to a race, this can also lead to the other Development teams to lose morale. Trying to balance the moods of the different sections of R&D out can be tricky. Of course, interviews can also be used to call out rivals, which in turn leads to a rivalry that can net 'acclaim' if the chosen driver ends up winning the rivalry. The entire mode centres around earning said acclaim. A higher acclaim provides the opportunity to get the attention of bigger sponsors, while also catching the eyeballs of the better racers in the world. Every decision made, to improve car parts in the R&D section, to conducting interviews and maximising those dialogue-choices, to beating out rivals, leads to growing the team and the brand into one of the elite teams in F1 2020.

Screenshot for F1 2020 on PlayStation 4

The second mode on offer here, Driver Career, is a streamlined version of My Team - in a sense, this just consists of the Practice Sessions, the Qualifiers and the Race Event, without having to micromanage the off-track and behind-the-scenes development of the brand. Choose to delve into the F2 league, and work the driver up to the F1, or skip straight into the F1 season to get into the thick of it. While this mode is great for those who prefer the simplicity of just focusing on the driving aspects of F1 2020, there is little meat here compared to the My Team Career. In addition to these two modes, there are some offline challenges that throw drivers into some historical races with certain objectives to meet.

To round out the package, F1 2020 has Ranked and Unranked online races, with a weekly challenge event for fastest time and leagues to partake in and compare racing skills against other drivers around the world. One of the best features here is split-screen racing. Where other racing games have omitted the ability to race against family or friends, F1 2020 provides the opportunity to do so to see who is the racing elite of the household.

Screenshot for F1 2020 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Codemasters has delivered a masterful racing experience with F1 2020. Despite the heavy jargon-filled opening, there are plenty of helpful tutorials that break down everything to make this easy-to-understand for those who may not necessarily be car enthusiasts. For those who are after a deep and engrossing racing experience, the My Team Career mode is a joy to play through, with plenty of features to deep-dive into that extends across many hours. Whether playing online or offline, the developer has put forth one of the best racing experiences that can be enjoyed by F1 fans or newcomers alike.

Developer

Codemasters

Publisher

Codemasters

Genre

Sport

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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