F1 2017 has now hit the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. In this review, we’ll be focusing on the PC version. There are only two real differences on this. The first is that for the PC version, you don’t need to pay to play the game online, whereas you need an online subscription on the PS4 and Xbox One variants. The other difference is the degree of customisation of the PC version in terms of graphical output which we’ll discuss more in depth later.
Graphically, the game is beautiful. During the length of gameplay so far, the game has been played on a two year old Asus G751 gaming laptop. This has a GTX 970M GPU along with a core i7 4710 and 16GB of DDR3 RAM. At no point was there ever any slowdown at the highest settings when running the game at 1080p. Its clear a lot of time and effort has been put into how the tracks look in the game, as well as the cars themselves. When it comes to the older cars especially, its amazing how these look.
Thankfully, there are a slew of control options available for the game. For those that feel inclined to do so, they can use a keyboard to play the game. There is also the option to use a steering wheel. There is already a lot of options and tweaks available on the Steam forum for those that want to have a specific setup for this game and their wheel. The majority of people though will use a controller for the game. This would be recommended over a keyboard since you’ll have full analogue control of not only the steering but also the acceleration and brakes, and also gear changes. Given that there is a wear and tear aspect as mentioned above, having fine control of your F1 car is paramount.
It should be noted from the start that F1 2017 is a pretty simulation heavy game, much like earlier iterations in the franchise. For those that haven’t played an F1 game in quite some time, it feels a lot like the excellent F1 World Grand Prix on the Nintendo 64. However, the beauty with 2017 is that even though it is simulation heavy, that shouldn’t put you off. There’s so much customisation in terms of the gameplay settings that you can
Thee cars do handle well, and you can definitely feel the difference of wet weather driving compared to that on a dry track. Causing damage to the wing also greatly varies the handling depending on the severity of the damage caused. The overall sense of speed in the game is definitely there.
Part Racer, part strategy game
The racing in 2017 is brilliant. What adds to the depth of it though is the degree in which you can get involved with the actual mechanics of your car. The way that you earn new parts is to hit certain criteria during the practice and qualifying session. This then allows you to choose how you’d like to upgrade the components in your car.
Likewise, there is also an ongoing damage system in the game. Whilst components such as wings, tyres and fuel can be amended easily, it’s the engine and its components which add depth to the game. During the course of the game, your engine and its parts such as the gearbox will break down over time. Depending on your driving style, these parts can wear down quicker than normal.
Given that you’re only given 5 versions of each part per season, you need to prioritise how much time you’re going to spend on the track. Will you be using all of the practice and qualifying sessions in order to gain the maximum amount of points to increase the spec of your car? Or will you be more conservative to make sure that things go smoothly during the career.
The biggest issue is the gear box, though. You need to use this for a minimum of 6 races. After treating it pretty poorly at the end of race 4 mines was sitting at 87% wear. I then had the choice of treating it more gently and getting through two races (hopefully) or replacing it early and getting a grid penalty.
Added to this strategy, you can even decide what fuel blend you use. If you go for a lean blend, you’ll end up saving fuel, but going slower. You’ll also cause increased damage to the EC due to the poorer blend. The flipside is to go for the rich blend, but then you burn through it a lot quicker and you could end up running out of fuel.
It may not seem like much, but it does genuinely add a layer of depth into the game which is extremely refreshing.
A variety of modes
There is of course the Championship mode in the game. This allows you to pick a team of your choice. What’s nice is that the top tier teams such as Ferrari aren’t locked out from the start. This means that you can pick them and blast through the career if you so wish. During career mode you’ll be given constant updates on how you’re performing compared to how the team thinks you are.
There is also a time trial mode which as the name suggests lets you blast round the track of your choosing and beat the ghost present on it. This is a fun option however it would have been great if there was also a quick race mode.
As mentioned at the start, there is also a multiplayer aspect too. Curiously, there is also a Grand Prix mode too. Unlike the career mode, there isn’t the same degree of customisation present. As an added bonus, you can even do the Grand prix with classic F1 cars which is an added bonus.
So far, so good with F1 2017. However, it’s not without its flaws. The first is the lack of a quick race mode. It’s pretty annoying that this wasn’t included as it is a great way to spend 10 minutes doing a few quick laps round your favourite track.
This second criticism is more tied to the PC users. There’s been one or two instances that the game will randomly crash, and sadly this isn’t an isolated incident. Thankfully this can be fixed with a patch update. Tied to this is performance issues. There have been cases where the game will grind to a halt and then pick right back up again. The issue here is that in a game which requires razor sharp decisions, the last thing you want is for the game to hang. Again, this can be fixed in a patch update.