F1 2014 Hands-on Preview – The Same Old Formula (One)?

F1 2014 Hands-on Preview – The Same Old Formula (One)?

Richard Walker

Played F1 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013? Then you'll pretty much know what to expect from F1 2014, Codemasters' fifth outing with the official FIA Formula One license. This year, you can take for granted that all of the season's liveries, teams, cars, drivers and circuits will all be present and correct, alongside the sport's rule changes and handling discrepancies that come with the turbocharged 2014 cars. As ever, authenticity is front and centre for F1 2014, and fans of the sport will revel in the game's attention to detail.

Going hands-on with the game, I chose to start from the beginning, hitting up the new Evaluation Test in which you're able to cut your teeth and become acquainted with the basics once more. If you're new to F1, this is undoubtedly the best place to start, while veterans can brush up on their driving and get to grips with the handling nuances that come with Codemasters' tweaked driving model. Right off the bat, the increased accessibility is obvious, as the feeling of grip keeps the car on-course, and over-revving the engine doesn't cause you to lose that grip and spin out.

Completing the Evaluation Test presents players with a difficulty level tuned to their abilities, which in my case sets things to the default 'normal' difficulty. Ignoring the suggestion, I chose to plump for the cowardly 'very easy' difficulty, having been burned by the steep learning curve of previous Formula One titles. Even in F1s 2010-2013, 'very easy' wasn't actually all that fitting a description, still providing a stiff challenge for a racing imbecile like myself. Thankfully, that doesn't appear to be the case in F1 2014.

Flashbacks still allow players to rectify lapses in concentration to get back on track and re-take that tricky corner that caused you to spin off into the gravel trap, while in easier modes, it seems like the rules are a little less strict, meaning less black flags, penalties and disuqualifications for being rubbish. If you're a hardened F1 player, however, you needn't worry that the emphasis on accessibility will leave you out in the cold. You can still ramp up the challenge for the full, undiluted simulation experience, if that's what floats your boat.

Delving into a Grand Prix, things here are largely untouched. You'll still conduct the preliminary actions from your team's garage, as your pit crew go about doing their various jobs and you sit in the cockpit of your car fiddling with setups and strategies. It's probably safe to say that the career will play out in much the same way, although Codemasters says that there'll be new career options. We don't know what they are yet, so that'll have to wait for the review.

As for those rule changes, Codies claims that they represent the most “seismic” shift for the sport in its 60 year history. New aerodynamic regulations and the car's turbocharged power units explain the changes in the game's handling, which in turn makes the cars far easier to handle. Truly, F1 2014 is shaping up to be the most accessible game in the series yet, as our pleasurable races around Monza and the Canadian GP circuit demonstrate. F1 2014 will also include the newly introduced Sochi circuits in Russia, the Spielberg circuit in Austria and Bahrain by night, which looks rather lovely. Oh, and the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim returns this year too.

Looking to be another reliably strong instalment in Codemasters' Formula One series, F1 2014 is still visually accomplished on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which only boosts the excitement for what 2015's new-gen Formula One will look like. It's bound to be incredibly special. For now though, F1 2014 is shaping up to be another predictably excellent digital representation of the sport, complete with all of the official 2014 Formula One season fripperies you'd hope for, and all of the authenticity and realism for the petrolheads. What more could you possibly ask for? Classic F1? Forget it; that's out for this year. Booooo!

F1 2014 is out on October 17th in Europe and October 21st in North America.

  • I truly believe Codies will be shocked when they see the sale numbers of this game. Not releasing it on PS4 and XBONE this year is a big mistake. Shows a lazy studio trying to pick up a few cheap dollars before they are forced to move to PS4 and XBONE. These studios need a kick up the arse and stop making games for past consoles!
  • @1 A lot of fans of F1 are probably not big gamers, but have one of the past consoles. Doubt an F1 game is a console seller for most so getting no game would not be any good to them. I think the move makes perfect sense. Easy to through it on last gen due to the framework being there so they have, the polish it for current gen. Next year I would expect it to only be on current gen
  • Im a massive f1 fan and a ps4 user and im really annoyed it's not on next generation. This is one of the reasons I got the ps4 thinking if f1 was incredible on PS3 it'll be next to perfect on ps4 but now I have to wait :(
  • F1 2015 will come out on ps4 and Xbox one in about 6-7 months so the wait isn't that long and they are not lazy to not make F1 2014 for ps4 and Xbox one. They are making a completely new engine for F1 2015 so it's a big upgrade and not just a port.
  • @#2 Why would f1 fans not be big gamers? i am the perfect example of 1 :p lol. watching f1 since 1992, and playing games daily since SNES... still own a SNES, N64, PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4.... im getting f1 2014 on ps3 just because im a massive fan of f1, and when it releases next year on ps4, with the live 2015 updates, i'll buy it again. im getting tired of hearing people complain about the fact its not on ps4 this year. perfect example why you never should sell your old consoles lol
  • I've never played any Codemasters F1 game but I believe PS Now has F1 2013 for $6.99. To those who have played this series and the Gran Turismo series, which is the better game? Is F1 as long and as tough a game to complete as GT5? I watch every race on TV without fail and have attended a couple of races. Is F1 worth the rental cost or would I be better off buying the game to earn the platinum hopefully?
  • I read Namco Bandai is developing it & Codemasters is publishing it
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