F1 2017 review: Pedal to the Vettel

Matt Sayer 21 August 2017 NEWS

f1-2017-ferrari

This fuel-injected racer isn't just for seasoned pros.

Reviewed on PC. Also available on PS4 and Xbox One.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: I'm no Formula One aficionado. I'm reasonably familiar with big names like Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, but my knowledge of pitting procedures, tyre compounds and fuel regulations is as thin as the carbon-fibre chassis protecting F1 drivers from an intimate embrace with the hard asphalt. As such, I was apprehensive going into F1 2017. A studiously-authentic simulation of a competition I had little experience with? It seemed like a recipe for frustration.

I'm happy to report my fears proved to be unfounded.

f1-2017-ferris-wheel

From the get-go, F1 2017 presents itself as a vastly customisable experience. While there's no shortage of comprehensive statistics and vehicle tuning for seasoned racers to dive into, those drivers still on their F1 L plates (like me) can tweak every aspect of the game to better suit their capabilities. Along with a 100-point difficulty slider for dialling up and down the opponent AI, there are numerous driving assists you can turn on and off as you please. My personal favourite is the 3D racing line indicator, which oscillates up and down like a music visualiser to help you control your speed when approaching corners.

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Order F1 2017 for PC from Green Man Gaming

Win the 2017 World Championship, break every record in the fastest ever F1 cars, and race some of the most iconic F1 cars of the last 30 years.

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You're not alone when you're burning rubber around the circuits, either. Your pit crew chime in with helpful tips when it's time to change up your racing strategy or replace your tyres with a fresh set for better traction. Coupled with a library of tutorials that dig into the nuances of DRS (Drag Reduction System), pit tactics and engine tuning, F1 2017 makes a valiant effort to ease amateur drivers like myself into its complex gameplay systems.

f1-2017-classic-cars

It doesn't hurt that F1 2017 drives as well as Vettel himself. Steering is as snappy as it should be for cars packing nearly engine capable of over 1000hp, and the sense of speed when rocketing down the straights of Albert Park or careening around the corners of Monaco is superb, especially when you're using the cockpit view.

Despite their similar appearance, all the cars handle quite distinctly, too. This goes double for the dozen classic cars making their series' debut in F1 2017. These vehicles go as far back as 1988, and each feels considerably heavier than any of the modern cars. They still go like a bat out of hell, though.

f1-2017-crew

Presentation is another area F1 2017 absolutely nails. The game looks fantastic, from the sun-burned asphalt beneath your wheels to the lush grass swaying wildly on the sidelines. Plenty of attention has been devoted to the off-track action, too, with pit crews bustling about the garage area and even live TV feeds of other racers you can watch during practice and qualifying sessions. The detail is top-notch, going beat-for-beat with any real-life televised F1 event.

F1 2017's career mode is similarly impressive. Full-blown, high-quality cinematics chronicle your rise from new hire to F1 all-star, and while it's not as personal a story as something like FIFA 17's excellent The Journey mode, it adds a crucial human element to the racing that many other sim racers lack.

What stands out most about the career mode, though, is how hard it leans into RPG-style progression. As you nail your practice sessions, fulfil career objectives and, of course, win races, you'll earn resource points you can drop into a sprawling upgrade tree for your car and crew. You won't be chucking nitrous on your car, obviously, but over the course of your career, you'll be able to increase the aerodynamic properties of your car's front and rear wings, speed up your pit crew's efficiency, improve your car's fuel injections system and much, much more.

f1-2017-upgrade-tree

The only catch to F1 2017's tremendous depth is how intimidating it can all be. Even with all the tutorials and assists the game provides, you need to devote a lot of time to learning the ins and outs of each track and the subtle nuances of F1 handling if you want to take the chequered flag. Sure, you can crank down the difficulty and turn on all the assists, but that strips away so much of the challenge as to leave any victory feeling hollow. Much like real F1, you need to be on the edge of your seat at all times to get the most out of it.

We reviewedF1 2017 review on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.

F1 2017

7.5 VERY GOOD

What we liked...

  • Plenty of modes to keep F1 fans busy
  • Slick presentation on par with TV coverage
  • Career mode adds context to the racing

What we didn't like...

  • Complexity can be intimidating for F1 noobs
  • Requires a steep time investment to learn how to race well

VERDICT

As an authentic F1 experience, F1 2017 takes pole position. Even for a novice like me, its blisteringly-fast racing and deep customisation make for an undeniably thrilling ride. Just be prepared to sink a lot of time into practice sessions if you want to be the one spraying champagne from the winner's podium.

Available for PS4 Xbox One PC

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F1 2017

7.5 VERY GOOD

What we liked…

  • Plenty of modes to keep F1 fans busy
  • Slick presentation on par with TV coverage
  • Career mode adds context to the racing

What we didn't like…

  • Complexity can be intimidating for F1 noobs
  • Requires a steep time investment to race well

Verdict:

As an authentic F1 experience, F1 2017 takes pole position. Even for a novice like me, its blisteringly-fast racing and deep customisation make for an undeniably thrilling ride. Just be prepared to sink a lot of time into practice sessions if you want to be the one spraying champagne from the winner's podium.

Available for:

PS4: http://www.finder.com.au/redirect/deals/ozgameshopcom-secure.html?r=/ps4-games/f1-2017-special-edition-ps4-game

Xbox One: http://www.finder.com.au/redirect/deals/ozgameshopcom-secure.html?r=/xbox-one-games/f1-2017-special-edition-xbox-one-game

PC: https://www.finder.com.au/redirect/deals/gmg-secure.html?r=https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/f1-2017-special-edition/

For more information on how finder scores games, check our review guidelines.

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