Posted on 25 Jun 2019 by K-putt

F1 2019

The Defence

Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Genre: Racing
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 28 Jun 2019

The Prosecution

OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 2130
AMD FX 4300
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 640
AMD HD 7750
HDD: 80 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Unknown
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 9600K
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti
AMD Radeon RX 590
RAM: 16 GB
HDD: 80 GB
DirectX: 12
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Unknown
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

Codemasters’ F1 games are releasing like clockwork. Well, almost. Then this year it’s coming out 2 months early. You’d expect that the new content they provide might be on the smaller side even considering the developers only had 10 months. And I’d actually agree with you this time around, kinda. It’s essentially the same game again. But different. But still the same. Let me explain.

The Trial

Like every year when I start up the new F1 game, I’ll jump right into the career. And right from the get go I’m greeted with an F2 scenario via a cutscene. My car has a technical problem and my rival is overtaking me. The problem resolves itself and I’m able to drive myself and make up some places. But then the team tells me to let my teammate through because he’s faster. (He wasn’t…) Not letting my teammate past gave me a different cutscene at the end of the race with him complaining why I didn’t listen to the teams orders. I was 2 places ahead of him… I’m not gonna drop 3 places just so he can gain one place. That scenario of letting a team mate past probably didn’t work out so well as Codemasters had hoped. Perhaps I was just too fast for the difficulty I’ve set or they needed to make this scenario more scripted so the teammate is more or less rubberbanding behind me at all times. Regardless, these scenarios are your stepping stone to your F1 career and I think a great idea to introduce the new F2 spec series to the game. Unfortunately, there’s only 3 of these scenarios. 3 small 10 minute ‘races’ and you’re an F1 driver. And that’s also the extent of the F2 series in the normal career. You won’t see it again except you’re starting an actual F2 career where you won’t be able to drive as yourself. Your teammate and your rival from these three scenarios are however climbing that F1 ladder with you. Choosing your F2 rival in the F1 series even gives you a slight bonus to the rivalry development points payout. Though, I would’ve hoped to see a little bit more of these scenarios and expand that feature much further. Perhaps another 2 months might’ve done the trick? Who knows… I’m sure we’ll see more of it next year. Codemasters did however announce to release the entire F2 2019 series with an update in the future. So that’s yet another car to check out for free perhaps even with its own career.

After your short, albeit fantastic, visit to the F2 2018 series you’re greeted with the choice of your future F1 team. I went with Ferrari because I always do. I should probably change that next year. But here the similarities to F1 2018 begin to crop up. Because for me, it’s almost the exact same thing. Minor things have changed obviously. Like drivers changing the team at the end of the season depending how well they did. So I hope to be seeing a Robert Kubica driving for Ferrari and Hamilton for Williams in the future. The new rule changes for the 2019 series are on board as well as you’d expect. Chasing the fastest lap of the race is now worth your time as it’ll give you one championship point. The interview system has changed slightly too. While it’s still ultimately the same, the interviewer is asking questions relating to your rivals from the F2 series. You also get sent a transcript of what your old F2 teammate or rival said about you in these interviews which are trying to build a somewhat emotional relationship between you and your rival. Because naturally he’s an ass and he ain’t even trying to hide it. Outright saying I was lucky I won. Or how he’s used to being on the podium and it’s just the same in F1 as it was in F2. Like I said, proper knobend. Makes it rather easy to give him a little nudge while out on the racetrack.

And it only took me about 30 minutes!

Talking about driving people off the road, driving feels pretty similar to last years game overall. I certainly didn’t notice any vast changes to the driving physics at least. Of course, the F2 cars drive way differently compared to the big boy cars and are quite enjoyable. And it’s not like there’s anything wrong with how the F1 cars drove. You still need to keep an eye on your fuel or battery power. Manage the fuel mix or ERS system in the race. All fun and dandy and just as good as last year. So perhaps it’s for the best that the driving physics and mechanics, at least for the Formula 1 cars, is unchanged. The AI, again, seems pretty similar. Perhaps a tad more aggressive finally and going for overtakes that might or might not end well. It’s racing, so that’s fine as long as they’re not slamming right into me every single corner and end my race. Unfortunately, the AI also still builds these “trains” of cars when they’re all bunched up. Just following each other and going off throttle just so they don’t overtake anyone. They might win the race otherwise. Can’t have that I guess. It’s especially noticeable in Monaco in the rain. Though, to be fair, it’s particularly hard to overtake at the Monaco circuit. Practically impossible even. But you can see how the cars follow each other almost 1:1. Not one car is stepping out the racing line to go for a gap that might open up because they stepped out of the line.

At least the rain graphics have improved. So while the AI is still a tad baffling and boring at times, the rain effects are quite a sight to behold. Especially at a night race in Monaco. Rain effects and the lighting at night is what Codemasters mentions as improved and overhauled. And it’s clear as… rain in the night. Whereas the wet road looked somewhat uniform in the previous F1 2018 game, it looks way more realistic and organic in the new F1 2019 title. Racing lines drying out because of the cars driving on it and so on. It’s rather nice and looks fantastic. The night lighting also seems more natural. Not exactly sure what it is, but i’d imagine it makes heavier use of volumetric lighting now and looks more impactful because of it. The TAA (Temporal Anti Aliasing) has seen some improvements as well. The image is now overall more stable and stairsteps are almost completely gone bar a few exceptions. And on top of that we also get a DX12 renderer. Meaning even smaller and older cpu’s should see a significant performance increase in cpu bound situations (minimal framerates). I ran the benchmark on the F1 2018 and then F1 2019 game for comparison. And while the max and average framerate stayed the same, my minimum fps increased by ~20%. Going from 82 fps in 2018 to a nice 100 fps in F1 2019. So the game doesn’t just look better, it also runs better.

This ain't no Trulli Train no more.

What doesn’t look that much better however is the UI. Or rather, the font. Codemasters can’t be blamed for the font though as it is the official one from Formula 1. So what Codemasters did is just bringing the ingame UI closer to its real-life significant other. I personally think it’s hideous and outright unreadable at times and Liberty Media (the current owners of F1) are obviously trying to imitate the font of the old Wipeout games. Perhaps it’s just personal taste not aligning with them, but it really isn’t an improvement over the previous font to me. Codemasters did not only change the font however, as the main menu receives some updates. You get your main hub with F1 or F2 news, continuing your career or the options menu etc. Another section with solo stuff like your own Grand Prix or time trials. A multiplayer section or the Theater. That one allows you to take a closer look at all the cars featured in F1 2019. And then there’s E-Sports. Both Codemasters and Liberty Media are pushing F1 into the competitive area with official promotions and price money. So it makes sense to see the biggest changes in the multiplayer area of F1 2019. Weekly challenges, Leagues and a more mature driver rating. I for one am not big in the whole world of multiplayer, and this being an early review copy, it’s quite hard to find an online race at the moment. I did dip my feet into the weekly challenge however as it’s more or less just a singleplayer race weekend with leaderboards. Depending how far up the leaderboard you get, the more credits you get. Yes, credits… because this game now also features cosmetics. So far you can’t buy them with real money fortunately enough. But I have little doubt that’ll change sooner rather than later. You can buy new suits, gloves or liveries for your car. As long as it’s not weird emotes or “reactions” that you can activate while racing, i’m fine with it. At least in the current form. And while you can choose from different liveries for your online alter ego, you can’t create your own. Hopefully in the future we’re able to create our own team and liveries for the singleplayer career. Another point that’s nagging me a bit is the amount of re-used assets in the game. I know Codemasters can’t completely re-record every single line again, or animate every face yet again. But it seems like they didn’t add anything new either.

The Verdict

While F1 2019 doesn’t need to hide behind its older sibling, it’s not a crazy huge step as i’d expected with its inclusion of the entire F2 series. It’s essentially just another smaller career and not as tightly integrated as one hopes. Just 3 small race scenarios and you’re already an F1 driver. A complete F2 career with all its 12 races and occasional cutscenes would’ve been great. But perhaps that’s really too much to ask for in 10 months between the two games. Of course you can still play F2 in a separate career, but not with your own character. For people who enjoyed the multiplayer part more than the career in F1 2018, the new installment is certainly worth a look since it improves every aspect of the online experience with leagues, driver rating and weekly challenges. Small improvements to the visuals and performance thanks to its DX12 renderer are a welcome upgrade. If you should buy F1 2019 when you already own the previous title depends if you care enough about the online parts or the new inclusion of F2 in the game. After playing it i’m not sure i’d pay 60€ for that i’m afraid. But i’m also not a big multiplayer guy.

Case Review

  • Online: Weekly challenges and online leagues make you revisit the game more often than not.

  • F2 Series: An entirely new racing series with a career was added to the game.

  • Settings: Like every year, Codemasters shows how a settings menu on the PC is done.

  • Engine: Improved visuals together with improved performance thanks to its DX12 renderer.

  • F1 Career: The F1 career is mostly unchanged and saw only tiny improvements and the addition of only 3 F2 scenarios is a tad on the low side.

  • Font: The official Formula 1 Wipeout look-alike font is unreadable at times.

4.5 Score: 4.5/5
Even with its few shortcomings it’s another great game in the series.


  • Settings: Being able to choose between DX11 or DX12 on startup is great. And options is what makes Codemasters PC games so fantastic. There’s loads to enable, disable or various quality settings.
  • Audio: Mostly unchanged to last years game which isn’t bad by any means because it features everything you’d want from an audio options menu.
  • Controls: Also unchanged from last year, and yet again nothing wrong about it. Codemasters still makes use of the rumble triggers on the Xbox One controller on PC and every key is rebindable.

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