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F1 2014 review: The cars have evolved but the game hasn't

on 15 October 2014

Formula 1 has this year seen the biggest rule changes to the sport in a very long time. Gone are the screaming V8s and in come the much more complex and much less deafening V6 hybrid turbo engines, or “power units” as they are officially called. But, has the latest official F1 game, F1 2014, from Codemasters seem similar changes or is it nothing more than an incremental update?

Well, change can be seen when you first boot up the game, in the form of the Driver Evaluation Test. This replaces the Young Driver Test that appeared in the last couple of games and is basically a one lap race around Monza. After you complete the test, you are given a recommended difficulty setting, though you can change this if you wish. Things you can change include various assists such as the racing line, ABS, traction control and AI difficulty. There is a new Very Easy AI setting too which is aimed at newcomers to the series. Another example of this increased attempt to target low skilled drivers is allowing unlimited Flashbacks, so no matter how much you mess up, you can always rewind and give it another go without restarting the race.

The biggest change that F1 2014 makes to the series is of course the new cars. These cars aren’t as sharp or agile as the old ones but have more grunt and are more likely to end up sideways in a corner. This actually makes them more to fun drive as controlling them can be a handful if you decide to have no assists on. If you don’t want to use a DualShock 3 and don’t have a steering wheel then I have good news: F1 2014 on PlayStation 3 supports the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller. However, there is a caveat, the L2 and R2 buttons for brake and accelerate are seen as digital buttons so you get either full brake and acceleration, or nothing. Traction Control and ABS are recommended if you want to use the DualShock 4.

When it comes to the cars, each team has a difficulty rating which is represented by four dots which are highlighted. These actually refer to their performance. The fastest cars are just one dot whereas the backmarker teams get all four dots lit up. The Mercedes should probably be zero dots given how this season has gone so far to be honest.

The AI when racing is functional, not spectacular. The AI cars will move out of the way if they are to be lapped, and you will sometimes see them make mistakes, but it appears to be random. You don’t feel like you can pressure the car in front of you to make a mistake, they mostly stick to the racing line and do very little defending, which is unfortunate.

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