I tried to review F1 2015. I couldn’t.

F1 2015I don’t willingly buy games with a rating of 39 on Metacritic, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The release of F1 2015 earlier this year was one we lazily covered here at PRC.net, opting to link the numerous glitch videos by popular YouTube commentators as a replacement for a proper text review to drill home the point that you should stay far away from this game. At the time, it seemed like the right call. The stream of negativity surrounding the title offset any noteworthy boost in visual or technical fidelity, and those who had invested entire days worth of playtime into previous games lauded everything from a complete lack of a career mode, to the pace car being strangely absent.


But DiRT Rally prominently displayed that Codemasters wouldn’t be going down without a fight, and to their credit, F1 2015 was receiving patches on an almost routine schedule. Out of sheer curiosity, wondering how the game played as of late October, I started hunting around for a torrent, only to discover that even the major illegal rip providers couldn’t be assed with providing an up-to-date version of F1 2015. I’m not proud of it, but I paid $35 for a game with a rating of 39 on Metacritic, one which Gamespot describes as a game suffering from “technical hiccups” and “reliability issues.”

I’ve gotta say, I’m a little confused before I’ve even booted up the game for the first time. Some ambitious forum users and community contributors believe we’re in a Golden Age of Sim Racing, and F1 2015 is one of many fantastic titles to choose from. However, Gamespot begins their review with “let’s start with what works” – as if there are entire portions of the game that don’t work. I know Gamespot has criticized Grand Theft Auto V for being derogatory to women of all things in order to push a strange left-wing agenda, but they got rid of that guy a few months, and it’s sort of impossible to be subjective when it comes to technical issues.

F1_2015 2015-10-24 22-13-20-96A mere 80 minutes after my first time booting up the game, I’d already uninstalled F1 2015 from my Hard Drive, and sent an Email off to Steam requesting a refund; one which was carried out within the hour. Usually, I map a button to my wheel to take screenshots while I’m in the middle of a race, and those get sprinkled throughout the article. My FRAPS folder only has three screenshots from F1 2015, so that should give you an indication as to where we’re heading.

Earlier this year I shitcanned F1 2014’s poor AI, but was fairly satisfied with the rest of the game. Codemasters’ 2014 iteration of their officially licensed series drove very similar to Race 07’s fictional Formula One cars, and its flaws were only noticeable for those who have been playing driving game for far too long. There was a nice career mode to give people something to do, the game featured the largest roster of tracks ever (provided you made a visit to RaceDepartment), and it didn’t look all that bad. Most people are simply not going to be good enough to discover the AI strategy issues I ran into, and in the end it’s a game I can actually recommend picking up if Steam offers a sale on it. Hell, even 2013 might be worth a look due to the Classic content that has not carried over to future titles.

F1 2015 is basically the opposite.

maxresdefaultShipping with both the 2014 and 2015 seasons available, the game’s list of modes are woefully short, as are the basic features. Career mode has been cut entirely in favor of not one but two single season modes, one of which forces you to drive from the cockpit camera and removes the heads up display. The safety car has been removed, as well as red flags, even though they were prominently featured in previous games and worked as they should. The ability to tweak your camera view and other aspects of the game with XML files has been removed, meaning there will never be a modding scene on-par with F1 2014, which allowed everything from livery swaps to performance database modifications.

As I run a Driving Force GT mixed with G27 pedals, like many others I was forced to create a custom controller profile within the options menu. The first problem I ran into with this whole system, was that I couldn’t get my Force Feedback to work at all. I tried everything I could think of, and my wheel would rattle around only if I nailed the wall head on. I’m no stranger to Codemasters games, I know the ways in which each of the FFB sliders affects how my wheel behaves… In F1 2015, none of the sliders really did anything. Oops.

And what I’ve found shocking, is that Codemasters still makes no effort to explain to its users that Formula One steering wheels have a much smaller rotation range than your passenger car, or other race cars for that matter. I mean, given my experience with previous F1 games, I know to set my wheel rotation to anywhere from 270 to 330 in the Logitech Profiler, but a lot of other people aren’t going to know that.

gsaURimI took Kevin Magnussen’s 2014 McLaren to Austria, as it’s a track I’m now very familiar with thanks to both RaceRoom Racing Experience as well as Stock Car Extreme.

First, we’ll start with how it drives. These cars have the most grip ever in a Codemasters game, to the point where running laps isn’t all that satisfying. On consoles, I could see this being a lot of fun given the extra grip compared to previous releases, but with a wheel there was virtually no skill involved. I worked my best time at the Red Bull Ring down to a 1:09, and at Monaco I broke into the top 20 worldwide within about fifteen laps.

This is partially due to the game’s hilarious track limits. You can wall ride at Monaco without receiving any physical damage, time penalty, or lap invalidation, and some of the cut limits at the Red Bull Ring allow you to channel your inner John Deere tractor. Cheeky lines that would get you booted from most online leagues are deemed perfectly acceptable and within the rules according to the virtual stewards in F1 2015, as if those in charge of programming track limits deemed every flat surface within a five mile radius as legal. Of course, when the game does punish you for a track limit violation, it’s usually because you haven’t done anything wrong in the first place.

Yet for how easy it can seem to throw the car all over the track without being punished, the cars also light up the tires in the lower gears under acceleration, leading to these absolutely ridiculous death wobbles. The outcomes of these death wobbles are extremely hard to predict; for a few corners, you’ll feel as if Codemasters got tire behavior right, only to be thrown into the wall without having a single clue as to what you’ve done wrong managing your throttle inputs on corner exit.

The overdone turbo effect on the lower gears is insane, and I would argue that the 2014 Forumla One cars in Stock Car Extreme are both easier and more predictable to drive as a whole. The false sense of security the increased grip level gives you only bites you in the ass when exiting turn 2 at Montreal, or the Casino Hairpin at Monaco – the game suddenly decides extreme turbo behavior is authentic, and turns your 2014 Mercedes F1 car into a drift spec Nissan Silvia. Pedaling out of this death wobble feels unnatural, as the game is torn between punishing you, and throwing you into the wall.

The AI obviously doesn’t play by these rules. While it’s true that they seem to be much more competent at turning laps within a pack, at no point are they struggling with the same tire behavior as you are. AI cars rocket away after a hairpin in which you’re struggling to get the car to hook up and pussy footing through the gears. To Codemasters’ credit, when they are alongside you, they are much more composed than they’ve ever been in previous entries, but still not on an equal playing field with the player’s car.

F1_2015 2015-10-24 21-55-49-93Unlike what the screenshot above suggests, F1 2015 looks like utter ass, and it is impossible to capture how bad the game looks in motion with a still screenshot. Even on the game’s Ultra preset, it looks as if someone smeared a stick of butter all over my PC monitor, which is obviously the last way someone should be describing a supposedly re-done shader model optimized for next-generation consoles. Portions of each track look fantastic in terms of detail, but the overall effects are reminiscent of early Xbox 360 titles that tried and failed to implement new and exciting post processing effects. The framerate isn’t affected by this stuff, but your eyes certainly notice it.

F1-2015-8Ghost cars, engine exhaust, and even car reflections are coated in a thick layer of translucent sludge, as if someone’s gone a bit too hard on the third party rFactor shaders found on a sketchy Russian website housing illegal Forza rips. Driver models prominently displayed before the start of each race are more akin to mannequins than faithful recreations. The deeper you go into F1 2015, the more you wonder how someone gave any of this the thumbs up.mag80 minutes into the game, I was done. And I know we’ve got a bit of a reputation for being cynical bastards here at PRC.net that hate everything, so maybe it’s time to inject somebody else’s opinions into the mix who doesn’t hate everything.

We’ve posted this video before, but a few months ago, Alan from TeamVVV did a stand-up job showcasing the frustrating experience you’re subjected to when playing F1 2015. Alan loves Codemasters games, and throughout the ten minutes of uncut footage he’s filmed of himself racing at the Hungarian Grand Prix to test out the game, nothing is safe. Just like we’ve mentioned above, he notes that the motion blur is ugly, the visual fidelity is a step backwards, the car doesn’t feel good to drive, and by the end of the video he is incredibly frustrated – just as I have been.

In an effort to buy into what RAVSIM wrote a few days ago, describing how we are in a Golden Age of Sim Racing and there are several phenomenal titles to choose from –  I picked up F1 2015. Much like MX vs ATV Supercross Encore, Assetto Corsa, Wreckfest, Project CARS, and Need for Speed Underground 3, F1 2015 is not a phenomenal title by any stretch of the imagination. Codemasters latest entry in their now long-running franchise only serves to reinforce the notion that racing games as a whole are going downhill in a hurry, and your average forum user recommending these games or downplaying negative reviews have no bloody clue what they’re talking about.



42 thoughts on “I tried to review F1 2015. I couldn’t.

  1. “Golden age of sim racing” – I guess that might be the correct term.

    According to Wikipedia;

    “The term Golden Age (Greek: Χρυσὸν Γένος Chryson Genos) comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five (or more) Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, Heroic, and then the present (Iron), which is a period of decline, sometimes followed by the Leaden Age. By definition, one is never in the Golden Age.”

    >”and then the present (Iron), which is a period of decline, sometimes followed by the Leaden Age. By definition, one is never in the Golden Age.”

    >”By definition, one is never in the Golden Age.”

    They sure got that right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s “the” golden age, it is also used as a metaphor, this was on the same page you quote…..

      “Technology and creativity spawn new genres in literature and theatre. The onset of a new genre will be its Golden Age:

      Golden Age of Broadway, the period from about 1943 to 1968 that brought musicals like Oklahoma! (1943); Kiss Me, Kate (1948); West Side Story (1957); The Sound of Music (1959); and Hello, Dolly! (1964) to the Broadway stage
      Golden Age of British dance bands, 1920s-1930s
      Golden Age of the British whodunit, early 20th century
      Golden Age of Comic Books, period between roughly 1938 and 1945, though exact definitions vary
      Golden Age of Mexican cinema, beginning in 1935 and ending in the late 1950s
      Golden Age of Detective Fiction, an era of detective fiction between World Wars I and II, epitomised by Agatha Christie.
      Golden age of the Italian Horror movie (ca. 1957-1979)
      Golden Age of Science Fiction, period from the late 1930s through the 1950s
      Golden age of Swordplay, period of sword skills between 16th and 18th century
      Golden Age of the Western, of the Western movie, 1930s-1960s”

      This can easily be applied to game genres too.


      1. I was being a smart arse, but this does make more sense.
        So technically the golden age of sim racing would be mid-2000’s then. ie.

        – NR2003
        – GTR 2
        – Race 07
        – RBR
        – rFactor
        – GT Legends
        – TOCA Race Driver 3
        – Colin McRae Dirt
        – Live For Speed

        So far not much has come through that would replace all of those ones.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Steam players online
      rfactor 49 24h peak
      Gt Legends 5
      Race 07 172
      Gtr 2 5

      F1 2015 715
      Assetto Corsa 1953

      Dont worry Modern games will be just fine.


  2. This game goes definetly to the same category with the likes of Assetto Corsa. If you want best possible F1 driving experience you can get in simulator rFactor is your top choice. Almost every F1 team builds their simulators using rFactor Pro as base.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So basically let’s take F1 2015, “review” it, write a long article with plenty of youtube videos in the middle, and then stick a title saying, “I tried to review F1 2015. I couldn’t.” Yep, seems legit, makes sense.

    To be honest, F1 2015 videos are the most entertaining to me right now, and I’m talking the career mode ones. The ones that, you know, have someone driving who can handle the car instead of complaining about it being difficult to drive.

    Oh well, better luck next time Codemasters. I see you trying hard, definitely made the AI much better than before.


    1. Who are you watching that doesn’t complain? It seems like the entire F1 community outside of people who left the Codemasters series (xOwnage in particular) whines constantly. “Auto-spin curbs,” “Slipstream OP,” etc. Constant complaining about how difficult the car is to drive. I got a few good videos out of Alex Gillon, the only one who out-and-out praised F1 2015’s new handling model.


  4. I yesterday quickly tested GP4 from 2002 and was amazed how fucking good it is on all aspects. It doesn’t even look that bad even now. Those claiming the golden age is now, really don’t have a clue how things once were. You know, we actually had complete working racing games back in the day. We had bunch of fine simulators at least starting from late 90’s GP Legends to Papyrus’ NR titles and finally through mid 2000’s SimBin creations. Many of the games spanning that time have still active communities and it is not because of nostalgia, but because those games offer features that are non existent in modern sims. Talk about progression here…


    1. Then why didn’t those developers stick around to create modern complete sim racing games? Or even those that remained, still receive mixed reviews, especially when they have so much experience from past games; for example simbin that then split up into sector3 and sms; then iracing, and isi. These last two seem to generate more consensus between those who buy those games, but their audience is still very limited, one more than the other.


      1. I don’t know the reason. Developers come and go for different reasons, I guess. Many of most famous devs of 8-bit era didn’t continue to PC or even Amiga and so on. I guess they mostly decide to do something else. Geoff Crammond has stated quite recently that he would have no interest doing anything else than F1 and because it would be difficult to get the license, it is extremely unlikely that he will ever start doing another racing sim. Why he isn’t working for Code masters right now, only he knows.

        Another thing is that doing a larger sim title has for a long time been a group effort. I’d guess that when Microprose for example went down, Crammond’s crew split up and many of them probably took jobs other than in game development. Same goes with Sector3, it is not the same as old SimBin. It is difficult to say why modern dev teams show outright incompetence on some areas. Do they just lack creative thinking on some fields of development, is it a project management issue or both, who knows.


      2. Would be interesting if Geoff was picked up by Codemasters for F1. It would be a big investment in salary and changing their software for it, but is possible that it can pay out if he takes the lead or co-lead.


  5. Explain this:

    F1 2015 video posted by a ‘YouTube’ F1 celebrity (kid with a capture card) 1000 views

    who the fuck watches that shit?

    I can’t explain it.


    1. well that reply fucked up epically.

      Explain this:

      F1 2015 video posted by a ‘YouTube F1 Celebrity’ (kid with a capture card) ~ 50,000 views
      Professional sim racing broadcast by Racespot ~1000 views.

      Who the fuck watches this shit?


    2. well that reply fucked up epically.

      Explain this:

      F1 2015 video posted by a YouTube F1 Celebrity (kid with a capture card) 50,000 views
      Professional sim racing broadcast by Racespot 1000 views.

      Who the fuck watches this shit?


  6. well that reply fucked up epically.

    Explain this:

    F1 2015 video posted by a ‘YouTube F1 Celebrity’ (kid with a capture card) ~ 50,000 views
    Professional sim racing broadcast by Racespot ~1000 views.

    Who the fuck watches this shit?


  7. Hopefully Codemasters lose the F1 license after next year, which I believe is the last game they’re contracted for. Even for a simcade game, these cars just feel all wrong and the graphics are seriously dire. This series has been stagnant for years and it’s clear that things aren’t getting any better anytime soon. They don’t listen to what the fans want, and these games just reek of lazy design. It’s pretty pathetic that 3rd party mods for the 10 year old rfactor can give you a more authentic F1 driving experience than the studio paid by FOM to make their official game.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Call me crazy but Dirt Rally is phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve experienced in a game something so close than driving a car in real life like in this game. Wish Codemasters would release a Grid game with the physics and the quality present on Dirt Rally. It would blow everything out of the water.


  9. F1 games are a joke. You can fucking drive everywhere and there´s a crazy excess of grip. Simcade my ass, they´re arcade games made to let everyone feel like WDC material. Fuck them.


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