F1 Manager 2022 review: Robust series debut that easily clinches podium
F1 Manager 2022 is a venture by Frontier Developments to offer players a different taste from the existing games.
It was well into 2022 when I first read about the title in development on social media. Naturally, I was excited to see what they had to offer, given my experience with Motorsport Manager 3 from SEGA.
As good as Motorsport Manager 3 was, it lacked in certain areas, with a major one being the scarcity of a license. Steam mods, of course, helped remove that problem and play with real teams, players, and staff.
This time, no such effort would be required as Frontier announced that their game would be wholly licensed.
The developers have stuck to their words, and it feels pretty refreshing from the very first moment. Having played Football Manager and Out Of The Park baseball games for years, the aspiring sports fanatic in me has always wanted to helm the Red Bull side and feel what it's like to manage these hypercars.
Despite having some rough edges, F1 Manager 2022 doesn't disappoint at all.
F1 Manager 2022: Become Christian Horner without dealing with Max Verstappen's antics
From the moment you log into the game, you can feel the excitement building up. Including F1's current starting video of each race day adds to the immersiveness, making it feel like a race day.
However, there's much more to do here as you can manage any of the ten teams. While the game graphically leaves little room for criticism, it's in the management department where it truly shines.
F1 Manager 2022 is an out-and-out management game. You will quickly know what to expect if you have played Football Manager or even Frontier's similar titles.
The main objective is plain and simple: start a career, manage your team, and help it reach the highest position possible.
Naturally, the emphasis on reality has been immense from the very start. Teams like Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes are significantly more robust regarding drivers and cars.
It doesn't necessarily mean that other teams should be ignored, and they offer exciting challenges in their own right. It might feel okay to win with Mercedes, but even getting one podium with a team like Alfa Romeo will mean a lot more.
As I mentioned earlier, the management part is the true gem of F1 Manager 2022. Frontier Developments has genuinely showcased its expertise in the tycoon/management genre and included every possible tool you would need to manage the team.
All the races, formats, and venues are official and follow the current F1 calendar. So immersiveness isn't an issue, but there are some fantastic Quality of Life (QoL) features.
Not every gamer will have sound knowledge of the intricacies of an F1 race, and the developers seem to have kept that in mind.
Autoplay can control many things if users feel like it. This will make all their jobs more accessible as the cars will automatically change temperature according to the conditions of qualifications and races. However, you can choose to do everything manually as well.
Taking control into your own hands is relatively easy and can mostly be done on the fly. I feel that AI best manages certain things, like determining airflow and tire temperatures, but that could be my inexperience.
One cool feature I love is the first-time guidance offered by F1 Manager 2022. Again, this is an option players can choose to accept or ignore.
Given that it's a brand new title, to begin with, I decided to keep it on. It's beneficial, to say the least, and allows players to get in sync with everything on the screen.
As for the races, there's no room for complaints as realism truly shines through. Both qualification and race day experience are on point, and we will get to more of them in the next section.
Motorsport Manager 3, despite the lack of licenses, offers an excellent management experience. While F1 Manager 2022 does build on it, there's a natural inheritance of some features from there.
What's not inherited, however, is the graphics, which get a complete overhaul in this year's release.
Frontier has taken the game's graphics as close to F1 2022. While it's not exactly on the same level, it's significantly improved compared to other management games. Whether qualification or race, users will love to witness all the actions happening on their screens.
Gamers are free to speed up the action if they want to. Up to 16x speedup will allow you to save some time if you're short of it. However, watching the races felt so good as it's graphically tremendous and accurate to natural life movements.
Simple things like drivers warming up their tires add to the overall immersiveness and make you feel that you're watching an F1 weekend race.
The recreation of the sound of cars in F1 2022 is again on point as it showcases these super engines' power. Small things like this made me feel that Frontier wanted to get it right with the first entry to the series.
Voice recordings of the drivers and their race engineers are also authentic, so Max Verstappen's radio with Gianpiero Lambiase sounds more like them rather than having a random nature.
In a management game like F1 Manager 2022, sounding might not have been the utmost priority for some developers. Nevertheless, credit Frontier for showing care in this area to provide an authentic race day experience.
I tested the game on the Xbox Series S, and there weren't many issues. Frontier assured me that a day one patch would resolve some problems. While I have yet to taste the update, the slight issues I had came from minor stutterings during the cutscenes in the team pits.
There was also a bizarre bug that sometimes botched up the direction buttons on my controller. I tested it out with two controllers, and it remained on both.
I was hoping to look past it, but it was inconvenient. I hope the Day One patch will sort out the issue with the day one patch and remove the bug.
Barring these issues, which seem to be regular staples of modern-day gaming (sadly), there weren't any other problems. Overall, the performance levels were satisfactory and matched the overall experience.
As far as the sports sector is concerned, the management genre has become extremely diverse. While traditional ones like football/soccer and baseball have long-running franchises, Frontier has taken a new step with F1 Manager 2022.
The early signs are encouraging for F1 Manager 2022 in what could be the start of a promising legacy. It offers an authentic management experience to players who can micromanage the smallest of items.
Alternatively, they can let AI do many more minor things and enjoy a more casual affair.
The AI feels challenging but overly tricky to manage. It naturally gets easier the more you get into a season and move on to the next one.
Every team offers something unique that you won't find with another. It's a management-game fan's ultimate dream, barring minuscule performance issues, and it's a great title, nevertheless.
F1 Manager 2022
Reviewed on: Xbox Series S (Review copy provided by Frontier Developments)
Platform: PS4, PS5, and PC (Steam and Epic Games Store)
Developers: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Release date: August 25, 2022