Fallen into the hands of Electronic Arts last year with the acquisition of Codemasters, the F1 license is back this July, to make us (re)live the current 2022 season. For the players, it is obviously the opportunity to discover new layouts and new single-seaters, not to mention a new gameplay with small onions, a new brand new skin, a graphic rendering ” new generation » photorealistic and essential novelties. Calm down, F1 22 has many new tracks and new single-seaters, but for the rest, we will have to wait…
F1 22 test, the opus of disappointment?
For several years now, the F1 video game saga (by Codemasters) has established itself as an excellent Formula 1 simulation, dedicated to neophytes and experienced drivers alike. However, in recent years too, the new opuses have tended to look like two drops of water to the previous ones, contenting themselves with a rigorous update (circuits, single-seaters, pilots, etc.) and a few timid “new features”. In 2022, we were entitled to expect an opus cut out for the new generation, but this new F1 22 is once again a simple update of the previous episode, with the added bonus of some new features and adjustments that are not always necessarily welcome. is.
At the start, no bad surprise, F1 22 is obviously the new official Formula 1 game, and allows you to find the new single-seaters, as well as the new drivers. There are also no surprises on the interface side, with menus that remain generally unchanged, so that regulars will find their marks instantly. In addition to F1, there are also the F2 of 2021, as well as a new category “Supercars” to which we will come back. F1 22 takes up most of the previous episode, with the possibility of carrying out a Career, a simple GP (with or without Sprint Race), free practice, managing your own team, playing multiplayer…
Immediately, we decided to launch a GP in five laps, just to see the visual update of this new opus, but also the behavior of the single-seaters. After a very brief loading, the cars are on the starting line of the Interlagos track. Unquestionably, F1 22 is more beautiful than the previous episode, the single-seaters are even more detailed, the whole is impeccably sharp with many details… However, it is difficult to evoke any rendering ” new generation “, the game engine is always the same, and this is felt quite quickly once the race has started.
Difficult indeed not to tick on a rendering of the asphalt not always very flattering, just like the aisles. The smoke effects or the few wisps of water in suspension during wet races are also quite cheap. Also, don’t expect any dynamic track drying, with a dry trajectory and tricky track edges (like in Gran Turismo 7 to name a few). Here, the track will gradually dry out as a whole, and too bad for the “realistic” side. Ditto on the side of the damage, with certainly some good ideas taken from the old opus (the flat bottom which deteriorates in particular…), but always breakdowns and other malfunctions (almost) totally absent.
(A little) more beautiful… but (a little) less playable?
With the new regulations, the F1 cars are adopting a unique look this year, but they also have a new behavior. Heavier, more rigid, the latter are less agile on curbs and in slow turns… but they are also very playful on re-acceleration. An aspect that has been worked on by the developers of course, and which is transcribed here by a very (very) delicate gameplay on the controller. Indeed, if you were (like us) used to playing without any assistance, get ready to multiply the spins out of turns…
Indeed, without traction control, F1 22 is very (very) difficult to play with the controller, and where we could approach the limit in the previous opus during reaccelerations (which was very satisfactory), we will leave almost always at fault here. Admittedly, after a while, you learn to master these new cars as best you can, but it is difficult (if not impossible) to complete a complete race without error, including on your favorite circuits. Ditto on the braking side, with a visually less palpable deceleration, and sometimes quite misleading.
Too bad, because other details are perfectly managed. This is the case for the temperature of the tires, especially during the start or when exiting the pits, with a first lap always very tricky, the fault of the tires being a little cold.
Were you an F1 2021 “pro” (at the controller)? You’re likely to get frustrated with driving this F1 22, and you might even need to turn on the traction control to play properly. Heresy! Added to this is a very tough AI, a little too much sometimes, since the latter does not hesitate to play wheel strokes, or even to hit us at the rear during braking a tad early. It is also more difficult to overtake than before, which is a very good point. Note that the Story mode of F1 2021 (called Breaking point) was not renewed for a second season, which is not so bad.
Who put supercars in my living room?
Instead, we take advantage here of a new interface called F1 Life, which is displayed directly in the background on the main menu. It allows the player to shape his character, as well as his living room, in which will be enthroned… a supercar. Various models are to be gleaned, and exhibited as we see fit. So no, it’s useless, but it’s there. Besides the aesthetic side of the thing, supercars can also be driven in this F1 22.
Indeed, whether via a dedicated mode (with various challenges to be carried out on the circuits of the F1 calendar), or simply in Time Trial mode, you can drive certain supercars from Mercedes, Aston Martin or Ferrari. Here again, the “novelty” is palpable yes, but it is difficult to find the interest here, knowing that driving is not the strong point either… not to mention that other racing games offer a much better experience. Again, it’s no use, but it’s there.
Ultimately, the F1 Life mode of this new F1 22 is completely anecdotal. Admittedly, we will spend five minutes personalizing his living room, just to affix this engine-based coffee table, or even to quickly revamp his character, but that’s it. We would have greatly preferred to be able to (re)drive classic F1s, or even not to have an F1 Life at all, to tell the truth, which would undoubtedly have saved the developers time to focus on other much more essential aspects.
Among the other “new features” highlighted by EA, more “interactive” pit stops. If some remember the QTEs of Formula 1 Championship Edition on PS3, we thought we would find a relatively similar pattern here. However, the “interactive” side is manifested by a countdown once entered the pitlane, the goal being to press a button as close as possible to its end. And that’s all. Your ability to press the requested key closer to the end of the countdown will determine the overall quality of the stop. Here here…
Ultimately, this F1 22 displays some new features, but none really manages to justify its presence. The F1 Life side is superficial, the supercars are not very interesting, just like the pit stops during which we thought we would (re) see the player involved like never before, but which is limited to pressing a button. Mouaip… Added to this is a very strange behavior of the single-seaters, and an acceleration that is very (too) difficult to manage, without regularly spinning. We bet that an update will soon rebalance everything.
Let’s be clear, as it stands, F1 22 remains an excellent F1 game, but overall how seriously to feel the warmed up (especially in terms of environments and effects that are starting to date…), and it would be high time that the developers finally offer us something other than what is more than ever a simple ” update » of the previous edition, itself directly inspired by the edition before…
Our opinion on F1 22
Here are a few opuses already that the F1 follow and look alike. With this F1 22, however, we could have dreamed of a more significant technical gap, and if the vehicles are more detailed than ever, the game engine is still the same, including the visual defects of the previous games, not to mention the cutscenes. also always identical, of the interface… We will pass over the totally anecdotal novelties (supercars, F1 Life…), undoubtedly integrated to “justify” the “new F1 game” side, and we will wince especially here in front of the playability of this new opus, not as enjoyable as before. The game is difficult to appreciate on the controller, unless you have to resolve to activate one or more assistances, which was not the case before, constituting one of the strengths of the license. No, F1 22 is not a bad F1 game far from it, but it is more likely than ever to disappoint all those who have spent tens (hundreds) of hours on the previous games, controller in hand.