'F1 2018' Is a Great Sports Role-Playing Game About Calculated Risk

Here’s an apocryphal story from Formula 1 history. It’s the early 2000s, and the marriage between the Ford Motor Company and Jaguar is headed for the rocks. One of the major sources of friction is Jaguar’s struggling F1 racing team. A corporate accountant comes to the CEO, William Clay Ford, concerned about something he found in the company’s payroll records. It might be a massive screw-up in budgeting, or maybe even embezzlement. He shows the latest scion of the Ford family his findings about his company’s highest-paid employees and there, above all the C-suite executives and technical directors who command the biggest salaries in the company, is someone that nobody in Detroit has ever heard of. Ford looks at the ledger and blurts, “Who the fuck is Eddie Irvine?”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/j5n99d/f1-2018-is-a-great-sports-role-playing-game-about-calculated-risk

The Ford-Irvine anecdote is a bit wrangled in there, but I chuckled and it comes much appreciated.

Another thing I liked about Rob’s review is that he has the perspective that most people, who actually need a review about a new F1 game have: They have played one a long time ago. Most other reviewers compare F1 2018 too much to 2017, of which I played only 2 hours during a free weekend… or even to 2015/2016.

From the little time I spend with F1 2017 and comparing it to the last one of those that I played for over 10 hours (F1 2013), 2 things stuck out for me the most:

  1. The improvement in Force-Feedback was huuuuge. While F1 2013 felt like absolute garbage, worse than GT4 (a game from 2005), F1 2017 has almost sim-like FFB that is far better than what Forza and even GTS offer and seems to be derived from actually correctly calculated self-aligning moments including vertical load and pneumatic trail of the tire. I could see many sim racers prefer it over Project CARS 2’s FFB, but probably not over Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista or iRacing.
  2. The vintage F1 cars in 2013 were absolutely terrible and inaccurate and drove nothing like they should and in 2017 (the first F1 game since 2013 to have classic cars) it wasn’t much better, just more adapted to improvements in the modern F1 cars feel and difficulty. There was no enjoyment to be had for me since everything from before the year 2000 felt entirely wrong.

And that’s where Rob’s review failed me. No mention of how the controls feel, how it is with a controller, how good the driving aids are, how good the FFB is compared to other games. No mention of realism and where this would have to be filed among the console racing sims. [I also want to know more about telemetry and car setups, but I understand that this doesn’t belong in a review unless it’s marketed as a big new feature]

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Sorry, for posting again in a row, but I was just listening to Drew Scanlon / Danny O’Dwyer’s Shift + F1 podcast, with Danny again off in child duty and Rob again jumping in to replace him.

Honestly, I was “YESS!” when I heard Rob is on again. Not that I don’t love Drew, Danny and Dave (Lange), but with Rob on, at least for me, it’s even better.

I played a bit of it yesterday and I was remarkably impressed with just how different it feels to 2017. I’m playing pad with only some small assists on but the new physics model has that unique feel in how difficult those cars are to drive. I rolled Sauber for my first season and took Ericsson’s spot but I found they have a huge disadvantage in Aero. I’ve been able to complete the other performance programs but I am absolutely struggling in qualifying practice because the car is incredibly jittery at maximum top speed set up. Hit a raised curb (The inside at Melbourne 6/7 in particular) and you are immediately heading for a tankslapper against the wall. One of the biggest deals this season in the real sport is just how hard those cars are to drive under speed setups so I’m both frustrated and awed how they managed to bring that in with the new suspension and tyre physics. It’s a really unforgiving game. And now I have to decide if I want to tank qualifying and lose the research points but run a slightly higher grip setup for the race because I’m outrunning Stroll and Sirotkin on the Super Softs but I don’t want to be steaming into the wall.

I think the only complaint is maybe they should rethink putting the the ERS to the shoulder buttons. Fiddling with the MFD in complex sections is not so great but I’d imagine next year’s game will nail that down a little better. Or I’ll fold and get a better racing seat for my wheel like a galoot.

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