F1 22 Review: Laying the Groundwork, but Falling Short


F1 22 — released July 1 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X — delivers a high-octane simulation racing experience with updated car and track physics. Codemasters — which has been at the helm of the F1 franchise for over a decade — does not drop the ball when it comes to the core of F1 22. The new car models feel more responsive than last year, the tracks have been adapted faithfully, and the cars sound riveting zooming around the tracks. Minor tweaks have also been made to the My Team mode to make it more attractive for returning players.

But it is F1 22‘s surrounding package that is a major letdown. Just like every other EA Sports game that comes out with yearly sequels, F1 22 also suffers from a lack of polish and any significant revision to its formula.

The absence of last year’s cinematic campaign — “Braking Point” — is definitely felt. Its replacement — “F1 Life” — is an uninspiring addition that only exists to justify the presence of microtransactions in the game.

The addition of supercars to F1 22 fails to bring anything spectacular to the game and feels poorly executed. Codemasters could have instead taken this opportunity to include classic cars and tracks that the fans of the franchise have been clamouring for.

F1 22 review: gameplay and graphics

That said, things on track are crisper than ever. The new Formula One 2022 season cars are seemingly more responsive than last year, offering a fresh challenge to veteran players without being extremely difficult to master. Still, the learning curve is significant — newcomers will have to sink in several hours to get to grips with the basics of F1 22’s driving mechanics. The AI does not make things easier either. I found the AI to be extremely unforgiving at tight corners; recklessly colliding into my car if I pinch the space.

Fret not! The F1 22 developer has included a plethora of driving assists and customisation settings giving players the option to personalise their racing experience. If you are new to the game, you can bump up the driving assists without reducing the AI difficulty to still make it challenging. The trusty Flashback feature is also here that allows you to go back and pick up from an earlier point in the race, in case you manage to crash or lose position.

In F1 22, players can now also control their car during formation laps, pit stops, and safety car periods which vastly improves the immersion. The overall presentation could have also benefitted from such tweaks. In case you end up finishing on the podium, you are treated to the same cutscenes showcasing your pre-equipped celebration. As the novelty wore off, I was inclined to mostly skip these monotonous cutscenes. Maybe we could have got manual celebrations similar to EA Sports’ FIFA titles.

Codemasters has stuck with the Ego Engine 4.0 for F1 22. Now almost seven years old, it has started to show its age. Not to say that the game looks shabby, but it is significantly lagging behind other modern racers like Dirt and Forza. Nothing visually stands out in F1 22 — effects like rain and weather changes are handled similarly to its predecessor F1 2021. Even the car crashes visually appear similar, with comically hanging tyres glitching through the car’s body.

However, the plus side of the Ego Engine is that it does not require a high-end PC build to run smoothly on high settings. I was averaging over 60 fps on Ultra High graphics settings at 1080p resolution on my PC on F1 22.

f1 22 ea sports formula one f1_22_ea_sports_formula_one

Photo Credit: EA Sports/ Formula One

F1 22 review: new additions

The first time you launch F1 22, you are greeted with the newly-added F1 Life feature — a sort of hub area designed to mimic the lavish lifestyle of an F1 driver. Other players can visit your hub area, but I don’t really see F1 Life receiving any form of traction with the player base.

You can select from a handful of decorative items and unlock supercars to place on display. And that’s about it. Unlocking supercars is not even that of a challenge, and there aren’t that many for now. I was able to unlock six of the 10 available within the first few hours. You can then take these supercars on the track for time trials or the Pirelli Hot Laps. But, compared to the nimble F1 cars, the supercars do not offer the same sense of speed that F1 22 otherwise offers. This could have been the perfect opportunity to bring back classic F1 cars — a feature highly requested by fans.

F1 22 review: career and multiplayer

The Career mode is where the meat and bones of F1 22 reside. You can choose to start as a Driver on the hunt for the Driver’s World Championship — starting in F2 and earning your way into Formula One, or straight away being part of the Formula One starting grid. Here, you get the options to toggle practice sessions, adjust the length of the race, and even schedule a Sprint race before the final race day, if you feel like it. There are plenty of options here to modify your racing experience.

In F1 22’s My Team mode, things become even more interesting as you set up your racing team vying for the World Constructors Championship. This time around, you get three entry points — Newcomer, Challenger, and Front Runner.

The Front Runner entry point allows you to hire the top drivers and expand your facilities to become title contenders instantly. It is a great addition for returning players in my opinion who have already taken their teams from the middle or bottom of the pack to champions in previous games. Newcomer and Challenger in F1 22 require a bit more grind, as you invest in research to improve your car and hire better drivers.

This is where F1 22’s Department Events can be your ally — these are random events that allow you to make critical decisions affecting your team’s drivers, marketing, development, sponsors, and more. Each decision can give short-term boosts to your team, or have everlasting effects that may even be discussed during in-game interviews. This feature adds more depth to My Team, and its potential effects keep you honest while making these decisions.

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Photo Credit: EA Sports/ Formula One

All the modes that you can expect from a multiplayer racing game are here in F1 22 as well. There are ranked and unranked races, weekly events, and online leagues to keep you coming back. The online racing experience was overall relatively smooth for me. I did experience stutters and lag in a few races even with good ping, but there was nothing game-breaking about it for the most part.

And I’m glad that Codemasters have not forgotten about the split screen mode in F1 22 — allowing two players to play on the same system. Also, you can start a driver’s career with one other friend, where both of you can either join the same team or sign individual contracts with any team of your choice.

F1 22 has a solid base and ample of different modes for you to keep coming back. Whether it is single-player or online, you are not short of choices.

F1 22 review: final verdict

Given all that, F1 22 feels more like a pit stop than a podium finish. “F1 Life” is simply uninspiring and supercars feel out of place. Codemasters is seemingly laying the groundwork for future titles with this game. But in itself, the game needed more content.

Despite its shortcomings, F1 22 still manages to offer an exhilarating on-track experience that will leave any fan of simulation racing games more than satisfied. More casual gamers might have a hard time in the beginning, as they try to get to grips with the game’s mechanics.

If you already own F1 2021, then there are no exciting new additions for you here — even the “Braking Point” story mode is absent. I would recommend that you hold out for next year’s entry.

But if you insist on checking out how the new cars handle, or are simply hoping to pick up an F1 game for the first time, I think it would be best if you wait for the game to go on sale. (Or get the EA Play Pro subscription on PC). F1 22 is a solid simulation racing game — it is just not worth the full price.

Pros:

  • Immersive simulation racing
  • Positive updates to My Team
  • Improved car and track physics
  • Does not require high-end hardware
  • Co-op, split-screen modes still present
  • Accessible to new players

Cons:

  • F1 Life feels pointless
  • Lack of polish in the presentation
  • Glitchy car collisions
  • Shoehorned microtransactions
  • Supercars a missed opportunity
  • No continuation of Braking Point

Rating (out of 10): 7

We played F1 22 on a PC with an Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz, AMD RX570 8GB, and 8GB RAM.​

On PC, you can buy F1 22 from Steam and Origin starting at Rs. 2,999. F1 22 starts at Rs. 3,999 on PS4 on PS4 and Xbox One, and Rs. 4,499 on PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. Disc versions cost the same.

F1 22 is available as a limited trial with the EA Play subscription across all platforms that costs Rs. 315 per month. EA Play Pro, only on PC, comes in at Rs. 999 per month.

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