How the F1 22 video game tries to encompass the championship lifestyle.

With the Formula 1 season in full swing, it’s this time of year when the latest related video game is inevitably expected. 2022 is no exception.

After testing the in-development PC version of the EA SPORTS F1 22 game, we can say this: This is another Formula 1 game that is fun to drive, rewarding and perhaps, at this stage, a little too familiar.

To be clear, we were able to drive every current 2022 car in both Grand Prix and Time Trial modes. Circuits on offer included the new Autodromo Internacional de Miami, as well as Imola, Silverstone, Circuit of the Americas and the Red Bull Ring.

Here are the most significant changes to the F1 game series this year, along with an update on development progress so far.

Read sprint format

Sprints were a glaring omission from the F1 2021 game last season, not even appearing as a post-launch update.

Fortunately, that has changed for F1 22 and sprints are part of three new weekend structure options: standard, authentic and ‘sprint and race’.

By choosing the first option, you will be entitled to three days of practice, qualifying and the race. The genuine option adds the sprint format to the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, Austrian Grand Prix and Brazilian Grand Prix as in the existing real calendar, and the latter option adds sprints to all races in the season.

The number of laps in a sprint is determined by the duration of the main race. For example, if you choose a short race, you will only need five laps in a sprint.

Goodbye Jeff

Ever since Adam Rhys Dee played his race engineer – first in F1 2010 and then as the treacherous Jeff of F1 2015 – we’ve all yelled at him to leave us alone because we know what it takes.

However, in F1 22, the original voice was replaced by that of Marc “Elvis” Priestley, a former Formula 1 mechanic who worked for McLaren from 1999 to 2009 and wrote articles on the subject. The mechanic.

The replicas delivered are similar to previous years, but we noticed several new jokes and the new shades are refreshing after so many years.

You can change the controversy

Speaking of voice talent, a small – but welcome – upgrade is the ability to switch between your favorite commentators.

English speaking players can switch from David Croft (Sky) to Alex Jacques (Channel 4) depending on their personal preference, with the two still sitting next to Anthony Davidson. Natalie Pinkham will also be part of the team.

On the other hand, if you choose the Frenchman, Jacques Villeneuve and Jean-Eric Vergne will be your experts and Sascha Roos will be there for the Germans.

It’s in virtual reality for the first time

If you’re lucky enough to own a powerful gaming PC and a VR headset, this will be the first official F1 game to use this technology.

Fortunately, it works on HTC Vive and Oculus devices in our tests, and even better, in all game modes. , You can do it. Likewise, My Team and Driver Career modes.

In practice, the exclusive use of the cockpit camera adds a level of immersion that was lacking until now. Paired with a racing simulation cockpit and the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro wheelbase, just taking a spin around the track alone is as intense as an F1 game has ever been.

But, of course, such a configuration remains reserved for the privileged few.

“It’s a conversation. As I’ve said over the years with VR, nothing is ruled out,” explained Senior Creative Director Lee Mather when asked about the possibility of supporting PlayStation VR2 later this year.

New tire pattern changes handling characteristics

Perhaps the most notable change for an F1 game for quite some time would be a new tire pattern, combined with the altered aerodynamic properties of the latest rules. Both have an impact on how the game conveys your driving actions.

It feels like understeer on corner entry, as in all recent games, but on corner exit now you have to be more careful with the throttle.

Turn 3 in Miami, for example, doesn’t require you to take your foot off the gas, but the first few times you try without the perfect line, you could end up spinning under the effect of force, even if traction control gives you a hand.

From the middle of the turn, oversteer is more prevalent – ​​but not in an uncontrolled way. The difference is far from obvious, but it requires acclimatization to contemporary cars.

You must line up your car at the start and the timing of pit stops.

If you’re riding the optional formation lap, you not only need to work hard to warm up the brakes and tires, but also align correctly in the starter box. Otherwise, the game will force you to start behind the line, out of position, causing you to lose precious inches.

With this new “immersive” training option, you can also tilt your car slightly to the left or right, a truly authentic feature.

Less real, however, is a pitlane option. When approaching your team, if you press a button at the right moment, your entry will be on the ideal trajectory and your stop will be quick. But we are far from being able to influence the direction ourselves.

On the other hand, in My Team or Driver Career team management modes, if you invest in team training, they will be able to make faster saves than their rivals.

Now you can drive supercars

Formula 3 or Series W are once again absent – ​​while a program like MotoGP 22 manages to include the top category and Moto2. et Moto3 no longer has historical content – ​​but you can now drive a McLaren road car. It is true ?

This actually sounds like frivolity, but it’s tied to Pirelli Hot Laps or the media rounds that take place during race weekends, and we’re told they will be incorporated into the main career modes in a similar way.

They will also be a part of F1 Life, a new addition that will allow players to customize their character with branded clothing, show off a shiny road car and covet their trophies. If this all sounds a little empty, it is.

Consumers who pre-order the premium Champions Edition can also drive Mercedes-AMG and Aston Martin safety cars.

Multiplayer improvements coming after launch

The lack of cross-platform multiplayer was one of the more confusing elements of the reveal communication, as publisher Electronic Arts recently released the racing game GRID Legends with this feature.

Thankfully, this was confirmed for F1 22 via an update after the game’s release, meaning PlayStation players will be able to race online with PC and Xbox players.

It’s still an F1 game

In addition to the features detailed above, updated versions of Albert Park, Circuit Yas Marina and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will also be included to better reflect their recent changes.

Any updates to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit to match the 2022 season have yet to be confirmed.

The 2022 Formula 2 season will also be present, but as with recent F1 games, it will arrive as a free post-launch update.

Other circuits can also see the light of day. According to Mather, when asked for additional details:

« [That’s] something I can’t talk about right now, but we’ll definitely get into a little more detail once the game comes out. ”

With more additions on the horizon for full release in July 2022, we can’t wait to see how this game plays out, bearing in mind that it’s based on the same game engine and graphics as the recent headlines.

Out on the trail, the revised handling is refreshing and the VR adds a boost of energy. But, so far, it’s also another annual F1 game. The lack of revolution will likely further alienate racing sim fans, but newer F1 audiences will have a feature-rich game that has so far managed to glamorize the championship.

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