F1 24 review: An excellent racing sim that is more of an iteration than an evolution

F1 24 is a fantastic racing sim, for both veterans and newcomers alike (Image via Codemasters)
F1 24 is a fantastic racing sim, for both veterans and newcomers alike (Image via Codemasters)

F1 24 is an excellent racing game, and on some levels, it does feel like an evolution of what its predecessors) delivered. But also, at times, it feels like a regression, especially when compared to F1 23. That's not to say I didn't like playing the latest F1 title, it's a fantastic entry that I'm sure most fans of the series would enjoy a lot.

However, there are some glaring issues with F1 24, which not only hold it back from greatness but also make it a tough sell, especially on PC. I've been a massive fan of Codemasters and have been playing their games from the early GRID series to their latest EA Sports titles, such as F1 and WRC.

And knowing how passionate the developers are about their craft, I always look forward to their next title. F1 24, in some aspects, does feel like a proper evolution of Codemasters' signature racing game design. This is especially true with the revamped co-op career mode, progression, and the absolutely fantastic dynamic handling system.

However, there are also aspects of the game that feel stripped back, missing, and vacuous, which becomes even more obvious when contrasted against the previous F1 titles. To me, F1 24 felt more like an iteration of Codemasters' existing formula, instead of an outright evolution of what they already did in the previous F1 games.

F1 24: A perfect racing game for beginners, bogged down by poor performance on PC

Visuals, audio, and presentation

One thing that Codemasters have always nailed in their games, be it the GRID series or the recent EA Sports racing titles, is the presentation. WRC, their most recent, did make use of Unreal Engine 4. However, the majority of Codemasters' games are built using their proprietary EGO engine, which is also what powers the visuals of F1 24.

The incredible visuals of F1 24 (Image via Codemasters)
The incredible visuals of F1 24 (Image via Codemasters)

In my review of F1 23, I called it one of the most visually stunning racing simulation games I've ever played, and that was coming from someone who regularly plays titles like Forza Horizon and Gran Turismo 7. With F1 24, Codemasters have further pushed the envelope of graphical fidelity in racing games.

The lighting in particular is the major highlight of the latest F1 title, making every circuit, car surface, and even the tarmac itself look incredibly life-like. There's also an incredible amount of detail packed into each of the circuits, which adds to the game's overall immersion factor.

I also like how minimalistic the HUD is this time around; it's easy to keep track of your lap times and position on the grid without compromising clarity. I should also mention the impressive use of camera motion blur in the game, which adds a lot to the sense of speed while driving the F1 race cars at near supersonic speeds.

Lastly, I should mention the audio design, which, much like previous Codemaster games, didn't fail to impress me. The car sounds in particular are what I found to be the highlight here. Coming from the rather underwhelming car sounds of Forza Motorsport, F1 24 is a massive upgrade in the audio design department.

Gameplay and driving mechanics

Things that racing games live and die on are the driving mechanics and the core progression system. Some games might excel in the driving experience part, a la Forza Horizon or Forza Motorsport, but fail at delivering a meaningful progression system; the reverse is true for titles like the recent Need for Speed and Gran Turismo games.

The driving experience in F1 24 is top-notch (Image via Codemasters)
The driving experience in F1 24 is top-notch (Image via Codemasters)

F1 24, thankfully delivers on both fronts, akin to previous Codemasters titles. The biggest new addition this time around is the "dynamic handling" system, which makes massive improvements to the game's handling model. One of the biggest complaints I had with the previous F1 title was regarding its handling model.

You see, while the handling model in F1 23 was good enough for a wheel and pedals setup, it never felt right on a controller (let alone a keyboard). The deadzones, and also the clutch controls, never felt right to use on a controller. This is what most newcomers and casual players will want to use for a racing game.

However, the dynamic handling system files this issue by automating the process of adjusting your car's settings before entering a circuit. You still have the option to manually tweak each and every single setting yourself, but if you don't want to do that, you can completely skip it and focus only on the racing.

F1 24 also features new and improved physics simulation, with more realistic suspension kinematics, and also more impactful vehicular degradation. Heat and tire wear-and-tear feel much more impactful to the racing this time around. Additionally, the weather also affects driving, with cold and rain making it more difficult to maintain grip on the asphalt.

The new career mode and other game modes

The career mode has been one of the most marketed new features of the latest F1 game. Instead of the previous title's unique story-driven campaign, the career mode in F1 24 is much more streamlined to feel like the bog-standard thing we see in most EA Sports titles nowadays. That isn't inherently a bad thing, but it did leave me a tad bit disappointed.

The career mode feels a bit shallow compared to previous F1 titles (Image via Codemasters)
The career mode feels a bit shallow compared to previous F1 titles (Image via Codemasters)

Don't get me wrong, the career mode is still quite robust in the latest F1 title. The gimmick of this year's iteration is that it allows you to either take control of an existing driver or create your own custom avatar to work towards the F1 license. I was initially a bit skeptical of the changes made to the career mode, but over time, it did grow on me.

Not only do you get the choice to pick from modern F1 icons like Lewis Hamilton or Verstappen, but also legends like Hunt, Senna, Schumaker, Montoya, and more, are also playable. There's also the new driver accolades system that rewards you based on how well you do in a circuit or how many milestones you complete.

What's even better is that if you choose to play as a pre-existing F1 icon, your accolades earned will be based on the real-life achievements of said racer and also their racing career. This feature pretty much makes F1 24 feel like an RPG, albeit with racing as its primary mechanic, instead of combat.

Lastly, I should mention the co-op (two-player) career mode, which also received some major overhauls compared to previous F1 titles. The biggest new addition is the shared career mode progression, allowing you and your friend to progress through your respective campaign at the same time, even when playing in co-op.

Few shortcomings

I admittedly enjoyed my time with F1 24 a lot, going through the career mode, the career challenge mode, and also a little bit of co-op. However, despite my high praise of the game's visuals, presentation, driving mechanics, physics simulation, and everything else, I do have a fair few criticisms, starting with the career mode itself.

Despite my complaints, F1 24 still stands as one of the most impressive racing games I've played in a long time (Image via Codemasters)
Despite my complaints, F1 24 still stands as one of the most impressive racing games I've played in a long time (Image via Codemasters)

You see, I really liked the Breaking Point story mode in the last couple of games. In fact, I liked it so much in F1 23 that I even went back to play F1 21 and F1 22 just to get a full picture of the Breaking Point story. As someone who likes a well-written story in his video games, I really liked these brief, but impactful campaigns.

While I do understand the intention behind the brand new campaign, and on some level, it does feel pretty great to play, especially with the inclusion of racing legends as playable avatars, and the accolades system, I would admit, it never felt as impactful or memorable to me as the career mode of F1 23.

Apart from the career mode changes, the game also has quite a few technical issues on PC. For disclosure, I played F1 24 on a PC with the following specs:

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 5600X
  • GPU: Nvidia RTX 4070
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1 TB Gen-4 NVMe
  • Input: Xbox Series controller

With this PC, I was averaging roughly 70 to 80fps at 1440p with High settings, without ray-tracing or any form of upscaling.

Despite using the abovementioned PC with specs far surpassing the recommended system requirements, I faced frequent stuttering and a handful of crashes. To be fair, I do think these issues will be fixed by the time the game releases in early access, but it was still something I had to put up with during the review period, and bears mentioning.

In conclusion

F1 24 is a fantastic racing sim, one that iterates upon almost every aspect of the previous titles in the series. Although the career mode feels like a step back from what the previous couple of titles in the series had to offer, the new and revamped career mode has its own perks, which are bound to attract the attention of long-time F1 fans.

F1 24 is more of an iteration than evolution (Image via Codemasters)
F1 24 is more of an iteration than evolution (Image via Codemasters)

If you're a fan and veteran of the F1 series or the actual sport itself, F1 24 is an easy sell. Now, if you're new to the series or even racing games, the latest F1 title is a perfect game for you as well, thanks to the intuitive controls, revamped handling model (courtesy of the new dynamic handling), and above all, the fantastic racing experience.

F1 24

The scorecard (Image via Sportskeeda)
The scorecard (Image via Sportskeeda)

Reviewed on: Windows PC (Review code provided by EA)

Platform(s): PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC

Developer(s): Codemasters

Publisher(s): EA (Electronic Arts)

Release date: May 31, 2024

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