F1 2015 was supposed to be the greatest racing sim ever. It was supposed to be tinkered to suit anybody of any skill level and still remain challenging. It was also supposed to be celebrated as an authentic representation of the megabucks motorsport. But in the end, it wasn’t. It received horrible scores everywhere and after a few weeks of release, no one seems to be playing it anymore. Why?

F1 2015

This version of Codemasters ongoing F1 series was never a true racing simulator, but it wasn’t a full arcade game like Need for Speed. It is something in the middle, with some realistic entertainment behind the scenes to make the player feel like a true racing star. It was never a hardcore game, but still tried to deliver some sort of challenge to be actually fun to play. We all know yearly franchises that aim to deliver something good with each release: Call of Duty, FIFA, you name it. Any genre has an AAA that will sell year after year, but they all try to deliver something new. F1 2015, unfortunately, has done nothing to refresh itself, and it simply seems more of the same, but more boring. It was also the first for current generation consoles after taking a gap year. We were hoping the franchise would evolve. Instead, Codemasters has struggled to change or add much at all.

Sure, it looks better. The newest version of the EGO engine delivers fantastic graphics. Realistic weather. Global illumination, a really cool per-object blur, new physics simulation, whatever. It does look good, like any other game of this generation with a huge amount of money to back it up, but we know by now that this is not enough to enjoy a game. Graphics are not everything.

The Pro Career mode -in which you pick one of the official roster of drivers from the 2014 or 2015 season- is the same as the regular one. It doesn’t delivers more content, just a different difficulty. It serves to remind you how shallow this edition is. The only other options are time trial and quick race; have you seen these game modes in other racing games? Me too. It is a bold decision taking out previous popular modes like the career mode that allowed you to put your own driver up against the superstars of the Grand Prix circuits and take your rightful place amongst them, and if you’re going to cleave content, you best be delivering revolutionary gameplay overhaul to justify it.

As far as driving goes, hardcore fans can go full-on with mechanical faults, full control of your speeding and punishing penalties for marginal errors, but if that’s not for you then you can go all the way back to ridiculously simple controls and get fitted with stabilizer while you enjoy the AI doing everything for you.

Unfortunately, many people also experienced tons of bugs with the PC port, and this is one of the main reasons the game scored so badly everywhere. Many people is stuck at the main menu unable to play. Others can’t finish a single race, and those who can, experience huge FPS drops. Controls are poorly binded and some of them don’t work at all, specially well known pads for PC like the Xbox controller. And the most infuriating thing… the game sometimes crashes.

Audio, just like in the graphics department, is spot on. All the commentary, car noises and pit crew interaction feels great. Car interiors are intricately designed and tracks are recreated so well that fans can instantly tell which one they’re on from a screenshot alone.

It’s difficult to find many reasons to recommend this over any other racing game. The lack of variety is truly notorious. Some AAA games feel like they would be OK-ish if they didn’t cost $55 – $60. This time, even half the price would not be worth it when F1 2013 is still there. There’s much work to be done for the next installment.

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