Tech

First Drive: F1 2020, New tracks, better dynamics, new simple driving mode for beginners

This is my game – every year I wait for the updated installment of the officially licensed Formula One game. This year developers Codemasters have put some new tricks into the game to please not just the hardcore fans like me, but also the newbies who always struggle to get keep the car on the track.

While this may be my first drive of the F1 2020 game, this is far from a review.

In the code I’ve had access to, there’s no Career Mode, and let’s be honest – that has some of the biggest changes we’ll see in the 2020 game.

Speaking to EFTM, F1 2020 Franchise Game Director Lee Mather says My Team mode is a big change for the game “it contains a lot of very complicated systems. So as you’ve seen, you get to create own team, you get to apply sponsors. So that immediately brings into it a financial value. “

“So you’ve obviously got, an economy in the game. Obviously drivers have values, so you’ve obviously got to have the money to buy the drivers.

In the spirit of a true team management simulation there’s a lot for the player to do says Mather, “You’ve got to maintain your facilities. Uh, you’ve got to upgrade the vehicle, you’ve got to upgrade the facilities, you’ve also got to manage, uh, the staff that worked there as well. So you want to upgrade those particular areas

“Something we wanted to do was give the player the chance to experience a little bit of what running the team would be outside of just the technical side of the car. So that’s why we bought in things like the media side of it, so that you actually have to look after that team. “

But he also got me thinking about how I would be as a driver on track racing my “teammate” who is the driver I employ.

Saying “There’s also, uh, the driver trading as well. So you know, you will care about your second driver. I think that’s, one of the things that I’ve really noticed stand out to me is while playing the game, I really care what my teammates doing, which is something that in the past you always think, well, I just want to win, I want to win, I want to get to the front.”

Whereas now if you see your teammate battling with another driver, it really changes the way it feels for you on track and you sort of, you quite proud to see them doing well because you’re essentially supporting them and helping them as well.”

I’m pretty confident the My Team feature of F1 2020 will be the standout part of the game, with players around the world choosing team colours, logos, facilities and drivers – there’s lots of fun to be had.

Until then, let’s look at the game as I’ve played it today.

The only areas of the game available to me where Grand Prix, Time Trial, Settings and Split Screen.

Split Screen

I gave this a crack with my son. While I didn’t spend a lot of time on setup, we mirrored our displays and used two separate wheel and pedal setups.

The screen was split horizontally, meaning a very restricted view on my Widescreen Samsung Monitor.

I’m not sure you can split it vertically yet, but I would suggest that be in the final code – for those with widescreens it will be a must.

We had fun, but in reality, it was confusing, and we never quite got both wheels working together. One for the work-in-progress basket.

New Tracks.

Oh my, so long since we’ve had a new track to drive, I can’t contain myself!

Hanoi Vietnam. It’s there, It’s a great track, but, I can’t say any more. For reasons I’m not quite sure of, Codemasters didn’t want me to show or cover the new Vietnamese Grand Prix Track. What I will say is that it’s a great circuit. A mix of Singapore and Baku – but unique in its own way, with fast long straights, the tightest of turns and some fast twisty bits.

The real cracker here is Zandvoort – To be Max Verstappen’s home race, this is a cool track. A fast banked turn onto the main straight, some challenging right left kinks, a banked hairpin and fast turns too.

Early on I felt great about my times but as always my sluggish performance became real when everyone else logged in and dropped me to 20th on the leaderboard.

Time Trials on the new tracks will be a big part of the early game-play as everyone familiarises themselves ahead of their Career appearances at these tracks.

New Grand Prix Driving Mode

This will get all the kids playing, and make having your mates around for a crack at F1 2020 enjoyable.

CASUAL mode turns on a whole new level of assists.

When you run off the track it’s bumpy, but not slippery. You won’t spin out, and if you’re off track too long the car will reset in race position with a countdown till you take over again.

You’re not left half a lap behind after a silly mistake. It’s fun! But it’s still fast and you learn.

Plus, there is now steering assistance. Honestly, it’s “lane keep assist” like on many modern cars. Near the edge of the track and your wheel gently pushes you back in line. It’s actually hard to drive off track.

I’ll never race in this mode alone, but with mates on the Console version – this will be a bunch of fun, and the execution of it within the game is top notch.

Overall though, the new tracks are great, the new race mode a winner, and there are some tweaks to the driving performance that will make hard core regulars smile.

Tyre dynamics are improved over long stints for more realism, and personally I think the cockpit view has somehow improved it’s realism – that could be me playing on a PC for the first time instead of console, but I’ve loved it.

Can’t wait to play more of the game, particularly career mode. The game releases on July 10.

First Drive: F1 2020, New tracks, better dynamics, new simple driving mode for beginners
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