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F1 24 Review (PS5) – Handled With Care?

F1 24 PS5 Review. It’s time for another urgent pitstop sadly, as EA’s F1 video game franchise has suffered yet another puncture. F1 23 last year had some high points like the new Las Vegas GP and a great handling model, but it was dented by the workmanlike F1 World infrastructure and the terribly-voice and cringe-inducing Braking Point 2.0 story mode.

This year’s F1 24 is in a tough spot because there’s no story mode on this occasion, and outwardly there doesn’t appear to be a headlining new mode to be all jovial about like when Lando won the Miami GP. However, despite not looking too promising on the surface, F1 24 does give itself the sporadically-occurring surprise performance like Daniel Ricciardo, but continues to show why this series needs a huge overhaul.

F1 24 PS5 Review

Career Prospects

This latest F1 outing continues to build on what F1 23 has wrought, which has proved to be both a blessing and a curse for F1 24. There are a host of new subtle additions that further bolster the series’ authenticity as it continues to grown year-on-year. Unfortunately, F1 24 fails to truly define itself, meaning it’s an iterative entry that doesn’t scream out with a marquis new gameplay mode.

Most of your experience of F1 24 is split between time spent in Career and F1 World. The career involves you taking an F1 driver or a custom driver you created yourself, and racing through the official F1 calendar, much in the same fashion as previous instalments. However, this time out there’s a greater emphasis on rivalries and other teams vying for your contractual services in secret meeting rooms. What this means is that your career is far more dynamic and embroiled in challenge than ever before.

Your driver rating empowers your reputation in F1 24, meaning if you have a higher rating, you’re a more valuable commodity to the teams on the F1 grid. With a higher rating comes higher expectations from your team, so successfully completing the primary and secondary objectives in each race whilst meeting qualifying and race-finishing targets is obligatory to staying in the good graces of your team.

Every so often you’ll be convinced to join another team by sitting down and negotiating contracts in a private meeting room. Naturally you can choose to either remain with the team you’re already apart of, or you can transition over to a new team with potentially higher projections and demands.

Part of meeting team requirements includes outperforming your teammate and the rivals you select that closely match your driver rating or your standing within the championship. For the first time you can choose multiple rivals instead of just one, meaning you can rise to the occasion much faster and improve your mastery over the field of drivers on the grid.

With regards to challenge, there’s a brand new leg of the career known as Challenge Career. Not to be confused with F1: Career Challenge, the old sixth generation EA F1 title that had you roaring through four seasons of F1 from 1999-2002, Challenge Career runs you through an online episodic series of races in a digestible format, which effectively mashes together a traditional-if-abridged single-player career with the competitive aspects of online multiplayer global rankings.

This revamped career mode and its options take appropriate steps towards an overhaul of living the life of an F1 driver, giving further credence to maintaining your seat, and highlighting the importance of retaining your status within the team you’re racing for. There’s still room to grow vastly with more interactive and out-of-car experiences and interactions, but the sense of pressure and urgency to perform at your best makes this year’s career offerings pleasing for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike.

You’ve Got The Whole F1 World In Your Hands

On the F1 World front, there’s still plenty of daily, weekly and vendor objectives to complete so you can unlock circuit, team and driver pictures in the compendium, unlock tech points for use in building and upkeeping your customized F1 motor, and earning money to unlock vendor objectives and developing your car.

Earning your rewards is done by playing in a suite of modes dedicated to F1 World including Grand Prix races and time trials using real F1 teams and drivers. In addition, there are new series events, where you satisfy objectives and complete races in your very own customized F1 machine. The series events are structured in the form of licenses you obtain by completing events and improving your car’s tech level, so you best do your tinkering and ensure you spend as much time in your garage as possible to ensure your car is upgraded to suit each trial you’re tested against.

Just like it’s debut last year, F1 World provides a challenge and reward infrastructure that feels worthwhile at first when your spoils can be spent on important necessities, and the incentive to fill the compendium is always worthwhile for the historical significance it represents. On the other hand though, F1 World is a huge grind that contains challenges and races with no contextual zest. The big sin F1 World commits is that it favours engagement over entertainment, but if it isn’t entertaining it’s not engaging, and F1 World only scrapes by because those piccies for the compendium are nice to collect.

Another new addition is the F1 Fanzone, where you choose your favourite F1 team and driver, and become integrated into an online club where you work to top leaderboards by showing your dedication through the act of competition. By utilizing F1 World, you can use your favourite team and driver to complete objectives and earn rewards that help you accumulate points to assist you in topping leaderboards. Much like Challenge Career, events are set up for a limited time, meaning the race to the top and for driver/team supremacy is fast and furious.

F1 Driving Shifts Up A Gear

The driving experience in F1 24 is the best it’s ever been, and you’ll realize this quickly when you’re able to brake and turn yourself into corners with a splendiferously light but momentous amount of ease. The handling simply feels accessible and technical at the same time, which makes it a true improvement over last year’s game.

The fascinating element of driving in F1 24 is how effortless it feels to turn corners and weave through chicanes. Technical street circuits like Saudi Arabia’s Corniche Circuit and Azerbaijan’s Baku feel fluid to drive through, giving you a level of control that allows tighter circuits to feel more manageable. Even the awkward surfaces and gradients of Portimao are far more easier to deal with this time around. The driving model is still challenging and demand speed and precision in equal measure, but now the awkwardness of previous handling designs has been dialed down wonderfully.

A Formula For Authenticity

Presentation has seen a bit of admirable bolstering as well. For the first time post-race radio messages come from the drivers themselves rather than the technical director, meaning you can listen to authentic-sounding messages from Carlos Sainz and his smooth operations, to Max Verstappen’s stoic-sounding gentle praises and commendations. Hearing these soundbites is an appreciable addition that really amplifies the level of authenticity of getting behind the wheel as your favourite F1 drivers.

The soundtrack is rather dire though, composed of annoying and soft tunes that put less emphasis on the grandeur of F1 and more emphasis on appealing to youngsters and those with one-track music tastes. Much like with EA Sport’s UFC 5, the soundtrack is so dire it ought to be turned off in the options menu. You’d certainly do your ears a service by giving them a reprieve from the ensemble here; they might even prefer the sound of screeching vultures instead.

The voice acting of your in-game guides is generally fuss-free, though sometimes you’d wish they’d shut up and let you get on with enjoying the game rather than tutoring you on every time you open up a new screen on the menu. Like the soundtrack, EA isn’t a big fan of good dialogue, and some of the lines in F1 24 are awful. If you thought last year’s Breaking Point 2.0 had hideous lines, then prepare for some more of that in this year’s game. Elena, your career mode manager-type person, will spout out a few lines that’ll make you cringe if you decide to endure her dialogue.

Under the hood of this year’s F1 title is a slew of promising strides that echo an optimistic aura of what the series may yet evolve into. The emphasis on rivalries and contracts allow the career mode to be more engrossed in challenge than ever before, the new post-race audio from F1 drivers is a pleasing touch, and the reworked handling model is exceptional.

Like recent instalments though, F1 24 primarily provides improvements to its social infrastructure and incentivising grind through F1 World and its cacophony of simplistic objectives and miniscule rewards. There’s the sense EA are keeping F1 video games’ true potential under lock and key, as there’s plenty of room to make a significant evolution of the brand, but F1 24 really isn’t it despite a raft of subtle and appreciable improvements.

F1 24 is now available for PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

There's the sense EA are keeping F1 video games' true potential under lock and key, as there's plenty of room to make a significant evolution of the brand, but F1 24 really isn't it despite a raft of subtle and appreciable improvements.