F1 22

If, unlike the children of billionaires, you’ve never had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a sports car designed to pass from your view in the blink of an eye, welcome to the next best thing. F1 22 is the shiny new toy in the wonderful library of racing games that brings new life and colour to the simulated driving experience.

This is the first release to sit firmly under the EA Sports umbrella, and we’re seeing a massive personality uplift for F1 22. New colourful menus, updated car models and reprofiled tracks all bring a freshness and polish to a game which was in serious need of a facelift.

The lively, summertime dance party menu music does its best to liven up a previously dull affair. Much like other EA Sports games, music plays a big part in the signature style, and showcases some talented artists like Diplo, Charlie XCX and Deadmau5. It adds flavour to the experience, which makes you realise just how much we had been missing this from previous versions. The music even bleeds out onto the track during racing, where you can hear the party sections of the crowd pumping out while you do battle on the tarmac. It’s a nice atmospheric touch that brings tiny dabs of joy to proceedings.

F1 22

There has been a cavalcade of positive improvements for F1 22, mostly in the quality-of-life uplifts. The game looks sharper, the tracks feel more accurate, and things react the way they’re supposed to. Some of the changes are more positive than others. F1 22 curbs no longer send you into a vortex of doom the moment you glance in their direction, and instead now feel like there’s some sort of physical grip that actually resembles tarmac.

Handling is almost completely new, as you would expect with the new real-world 2022 car designs and regulations. The cars seem to dance around corners, with wheels made almost entirely out of glue. It does mean that all your favourite settings are completely null and void, and returning fans will need to spend some time finding their feet again. It feels refreshing to revisit some of the classic racetracks with entirely new machines, as you will discover new ways to attack the time sheets.

There’s also a new overwhelming number of graphs and reports that you can access during practice sessions, which provide feedback on your performance. You can see where you’re losing time and come up with strategies to help chew into those lap times. It’s one of the more in-depth features which, while not essential to the game, can really take your experience to the next level.

F1 22

The AI, while not entirely friendly, is definitely more aware of you on the track. No longer are the AI drivers determined to stick to the racing line at all costs (usually a piece of your car). Frequently they’ll recognise your pace and leave you the space you need so as to avoid any potentially nasty incidents that would see you hurtling into the barriers. It’s almost as though they’ve learned patience, either that or they’re lulling you into a false sense of security before destroying you with pure pace.

The personal touch continues with F1 Life, which lets you live out the dreams of being an actual F1 driver, like constructing your home entirely out of marble, parking a state-of-the-art supercar in your lounge and kicking back with your entourage. You can purchase new cars (which are drivable in some limited game modes) to park in new rooms, or spend some of the in-game currency on a variety of clothing items or furniture to adorn your lavish lifestyle. While these upgrades can cost you some serious real-world money, they’re not essential to the experience and truly represent the essence of bling. While some may baulk at the microtransaction system, it’s really here only for the times you truly feel like you haven’t spent enough money on the game already.

“The AI, while not entirely friendly, is definitely more aware of you on the track.”

All of these changes lead to a positive experience. The F1 cars have been faithfully reproduced and look spectacular. The stunning visual upgrade of the real-world racing has transferred into digital form and, as good as they look, they race even better. Sticky wheels and incredible speeds are yours for the taking, and once you’ve dialled in your settings, the game just starts to click.

F1 22 is a colourful and fresh expression of the popularity of F1, which never fails to entertain. Fast, gorgeous Formula 1 machines zooming around famous circuits, simply oozing style. The driving itself is an intoxicating experience, with the cars being livelier than ever before. F1 22 is a complete package with a range of options to suit everyone, from the casual Sunday driver to the hardcore league racer.

F1 22 is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and Xbox One.star 4 and a half

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