F1 2020 may seem detached from the current Formula 1 season through no fault of its own. But that hasn't stopped Codemasters' latest entry to the series becoming its the best one yet.
For many fans of Formula One, the sport is much more than just the drivers. For some, it's about the teams, for others it's about spending time with friends or family and some of us just like seeing cars drive really fast. And F1 2020 lets players have all of this whenever they want.
The biggest addition to this year's game comes in the form of the new 'My Team' mode which allows players to create their own team. In this mode you are a modern-day Bruce McLaren, racing as yourself alongside an up and coming F2 driver while also managing the team.
As the owner, you have control over your team's engine supplier, team colours, as well as organizing sponsorship deals to help fund research and development of the car.
The 'My Team' mode adds what the F1 game has been missing. In past iterations, I've lacked a reason to progress further than the first season and sometimes didn't even complete a season. However now I feel some sort of emotional connection, I want to see how far I can move up the field and see if I can win the world championship.
And for those who aren't interested in creating a team from scratch and managing it throughout the season, the regular career mode is still there, with this year's addition allowing you to perform a full season in F2 first before you join the elite in F1.
Yes, that's right, split screen is back! Nothing quite beats the emotion that split-screen gaming can bring to a room especially in F1/F2 where you can go from battling it out for first only for the opponent sitting next to you to make "accidental" contact with you and ruin your race as you limp back to the pits for a wing change.
The split-screen multiplayer divides the screen horizontally and can take some getting used to but it's a return to the good old days for a feature that is scarce across modern day gaming. The mode is also annoyingly limited to just one-shot qualifying for the race weekends.
The AI will often attempt to dive down your inside as you go to turn in to a corner and will punish you for taking corners too wide or for breaking too early. Although you may need to use the rewind function as sometimes they can be a little too aggressive when defending what would have been perfectly good overtakes only for them to clip your rear wheel.
Some Professional help
Although Codemasters' latest game may not be as accurate as some may like due to the changes to the official calendar caused by COVID-19, they have implemented advice given to them by current F1 drivers, such as McLaren's Lando Norris. These changes include less notable tweaks such as adjusting the traction control, to more noticeable things such as simplifying the ERS system. Previously there were multiple stages of ERS in the race. Now users just have an overtake button on race day and a hot lap option in qualifying.
This level of detail brings the game to the standard fans of the sport would expect while also allowing them to share some emotional moments with those who they spend their Sunday afternoons with watching the sport.
All in all, F1 2020 is one of the most engaging racing games fans can buy today.