F1 2017 (PC) review
The research and development feature in career mode is arguably one of the best portions of F1 2017 as it allows players to improve their car over a season by way of research points earned by completing practice programs along with meeting qualifying and race objectives set by your team. In F1 2017 the practice program has received two additional programs in the form of fuel saving and race strategy. These two new programs work well with the existing track acclimatisation, tyre management, qualifying pace and team objectives. The fuel saving program has you manage your fuel usage while attempting to complete a competitive lap time, it is a useful program to undertake especially if you like to run races with low fuel. The race strategy is my favourite program as it takes what you learned from the previous programs and analysis your fuel usage and tyre wear over three to five laps, it is important as the results from the program help determine the optimal fuel and tyre strategy for the race.
Moving into the R&D points spending, the linear upgrade system in F1 2016 is removed for a circular multiple choice web graph. This new web graph design sees players being able to pick and choose up to 85 upgrades spread across four categories. In F1 2016 there were only 25 upgrades spread across five categories and as I mentioned earlier it was a linear progression of choice. The new research and development feature also includes a failure state, which is where a part you researched might fail and require you to spend additional points and time to successfully complete.
Career mode also features vehicle management. At the start of a season, you are given components for four power units and four gearboxes. These components wear over time and if you use a component to much it can fail, this means as you go through a season you need to manage all the components to make sure your car is both working at optimal efficiency and durable. If you use up all four of one component you can get a fifth, but doing so will result in a penalty.
When it comes to new additions for the racing, F1 2017 offers classic cars, track variants and invitational challenge events. In regards to classic cars, F1 2017 offers twelve classic cars from the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 to the 2010 Red Bull Racing RB6. All twelve cars handle differently especially when you compare them to the modern 2017 cars you will be driving for the majority of your time with the game. The uses of the classic cars are limited to specific multiplayer races, time trial and special invitational events that take place during career mode. The invitational events are nice side distractions that are broken down into four types: overtake, pursuit, checkpoint challenge and time attack. I found my enjoyment of the invitational events came from the fact they only occurred when you were doing well, which makes it a great reward for those who are shooting above their weight in the career mode.
In regards to the above-mentioned track variants, F1 2017 has shorted versions of four of the game’s twenty race tracks. The four shorted tracks in question are Bahrain, Silverstone, Suzuka and the circuit of the Americas. The four short tracks can be raced on in time trial mode, certain invitational events and multiplayer. If you are looking for quick and intense races than using the short track variants are perfect for the multiplayer.
Now, let’s look at the racing experience. F1 2017 is a decent racing sim that does a good job of incorporating some of the interesting aspects of Formula One like the limited power unit and gearbox usage, but since I’m focusing on the on-track action I want to talk about how the game handles fuel saving. Fuel saving in Formula One is basically trying to save as much fuel as possible throughout the course of a race as cars are generally under fuelled in an effort to get as much power as possible out of the car. Fuel saving strongly features in F1 2017 as most cars don’t have enough fuel to finish a race, and as such when racing you need to keep an eye on your fuel usage and move between the three fuel mix types in an effort to use determine how much fuel you use, of course using the Lean fuel mix, which is used to save fuel, does have the drawback of slowing your car down, and as such I recommend taking advantage of the fuel saving practice program and learn to save fuel while in a higher fuel mix. Learning when to use more and less fuel is balancing act and one that I really enjoyed as getting it right can see you win a race easily, but get it wrong and you will find yourself cursing your own bad strategy.
The driving aspect of F1 2017 is magnificent, as the cars handle like majestic horses as you throw the car in and out of high and low-speed corners, sure the horse might decide to act up and see you miss the corner, but that is down to you and the car allowing you push it to its limit. The raw power and manoeuvrability of the cars in F1 2017 is amazing, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the AI opponents.
For me, the AI opponents have always been the one major downside for the F1 games and well F1 2017 is no different. The AI isn’t bad per say, but the computer controller drivers are prone to absolutely stupid moves such as rear ending you into a corner, trying to run you off the road as you approach the first corner of the first lap, and not yielding when you have clearly passed them, I mean the amount of times I have passed a computer controlled car only to have my rear wheel clipped is staggering. I don’t know if it’s Codemasters trying to replicate the styles of real-world drivers, but sometimes the computer controlled racers drive me demented.
On a slightly cooler note, let’s talk about the dynamic weather in F1 2017. Weather in F1 2017 can be equal parts unpredictable and challenging, as a majority dry racing weekend could lead to a wet race day or vice versa. While the dynamic weather does make for a challenging experience it can throw up some odd situations such as heavy rain in Bahrain. The weather, in particular, the rain, also makes the race tracks a lot more difficult as you have to contend with the potential of aquaplaning and having a differential setup that makes stopping in wet weather far more difficult.
In terms of graphics F1 2017 offers a well-detailed look at the cars and tracks along with amazing rain effects, but when it comes to the characters you interact with outside of the car they have a disturbing uncanny valley appearance to them as looking at and interacting with them feels unnerving and off-putting.
In regards to audio, it is perfect from the sound of the car accelerating to the sound of a broken gearbox.
F1 2017 is a treat for fans of Formula One as the game’s new vehicle management and R&D improvements create a higher level of authenticity.
|+ New vehicle management||– The computer AI gets irritating|
|+ Improved Research and development||– Characters are still unnerving to look at|
|+ Classic cars|
|Codemasters||Codemasters||Racing||3+||PC, PS4, XBone||August 25, 2017|
For more information on F1 2017, visit http://www.formula1-game.com/.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.