F1 2014 Preview – The Warm Up Lap

With F1 2014 primed for release I had the chance to experience the console versions of Codemasters’ latest racing title, having previewed the PC version.

It was no small decision to skip next-gen consoles this time around for Codemasters. The scrutiny on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 editions of F1 2014 is arguably more ramped up than ever, especially in comparison to the PC version. Playing the same preview build as the PC version, F1 2014 offered up some interesting points of comparison off the bat in a graphical sense. I was immediately impressed by the similarity between the PC and Xbox 360 versions in terms of visuals. In comparison I had to resort to checking the display setup of the PS3 version – it was set up the same as the 360, but the graphics were worlds apart. Hopefully the PS3 version of F1 2014 will match up graphically to the other two upon release.

Having experienced the game already, I jumped into the console versions eager to experience some of the areas I hadn’t delved into already. This desire led me to the promising Scenario Mode, a section of gameplay focussed around situational challenges. These range from “pass Sebastien Vettel before the end of the race” to “win a 10 lap race from 17th on the grid on the wrong tyres”, depending on your difficulty selection. Split into different difficulties, this mode proposes a number of scenarios to the player which have to be completed in a certain condition. In the preview build I had the choice of either Very Easy or Hard difficulty challenges – with the difficulty names offering all the explanation you need into their challenge level.

You have one lap to overtake the 4 time world champion Vettel
You have one lap to overtake the 4 time world champion Vettel

Scenario Mode is where F1 2014 shows its competitive side, with challenge completion rewarding the player with medals depending on their success and difficulty level. There is also a leaderboard so you can really pit yourself against other players in this area.
I feel like these challenges are where the game could see real expansion. With real thought and control this area could be built upon by adding any number of scenarios for the player to test their hands. Codemasters could even build upon previous ideas, such as the classic content from F1 2013, in this area by implementing challenges recreating previous real life encounters. As it stands, the Scenario Mode is a fantastic portion of gameplay if you’re looking for something a little different to the career within F1 2014.

Whilst we’re still waiting for a better look at the Career Mode, there is not a lot more to F1 2014. There are Time Attacks and Time Trials to be enjoyed alongside the Scenario Mode in the Proving Grounds, and there will be Racenet integration for online play. The Proving Grounds is an area full of potential but until the full release it is hard to determine how much these gameplay modes will offer.

F1 2014 feels less gimmick-y, no classic cars or champions posing as bosses. With a well-honed Career Mode to be added, there is definitely a promise I felt was lacked in the previous title. There isn’t long left to find out for sure, with F1 2014 due for release on all three platforms on October 17th.