F1 24 review: Slick but lacking polish

F1 24 is the latest entry in Codemasters and EA SPORTS’ long-running Formula 1 game series and features all the teams, circuits drivers and cars from the 2024 season, alongside a full suite of 2023 Formula 2 content (the 2024 F2 grid will arrive in a post-launch update).

The developers have stuck with Codemasters’ proprietary Ego game engine for F1 24 so players shouldn’t expect radically improved visuals, despite long-overdue graphical overhauls for tracks like Spa-Francorchamps.

There are still disappointing rough edges on older track models like Monza and Hungaroring, for example, with occasional screen freezes cropping up during cross-play online modes. However, the game generally runs smoothly despite lacking the kind of polish you’d expect from a 2024 title.

The overall presentation is suitably slick, though, featuring Sky Sports F1 stalwarts like Natalie Pinkham, Anthony Davidson and — of course — David Croft, making players feel like they’re about to watch an authentic F1 event (in terms of F1 commentary, players can even substitute Crofty for F1TV broadcaster Alex Jacques if preferred).

Car handling has also been tweaked, with a new ‘Dynamic Handling’ system designed to produce more ‘realistic and predictable performance’ on both gamepad and steering wheel controllers.

In practice, the new suspension, tyre and aero models seem to be weighted more towards gamepad users, which is understandable given how most F1 24 players will use a pad. With all assists turned off, traction zones are now easier to master, while kerbs seem to be a benign presence in all but the most extreme cases: the Variante Tamburello and Gresini sausage kerbs at Imola can be monstered, for example, making gamepad progress much less frustrating.

Many hardcore F1 enthusiasts will prefer to use a steering wheel, and while handling feels mostly intuitive (after extensive force feedback adjustments), cars feel very ‘on-the-nose’ to drive, with initial oversteer trending towards mid-corner understeer. It may not be to everyone’s tastes but after some acclimatisation, it provides a predictable platform to help tackle the game’s extensive career mode (there’s no ‘Braking Point’ story content this time round — it’s a bi-annual occurrence).

F1 24

F1 24

Photo by: EA Sports F1 24

Not much has changed compared to its predecessors in this respect: players run specific practice session programmes set by their engineers, earning upgrade points to help improve their car. Additional buffs are also supplied by fulfilling objectives for the new-for-2024 Specialists — personnel with specific skills — who come and go throughout the season. Doing well increases the new ‘Driver Recognition’ stat, helping attract prospective employers.

For the first time ever players can choose to drive as one of the F1 grid, with each driver’s rating — including your own — increasing or decreasing throughout a season. The effects of these new additions are mostly skin-deep, however.

The new Challenge Career mode adds intriguing, bite-sized scenarios, with online leaderboards ranking the top-scoring players. More will be added throughout the season too, with the returning F1 World and My Team modes continuing to offer interesting diversions to the main single-player career. Microtransactions are present (but entirely optional), with the much-derided supercars now a thing of the past.

Is F1 24 worth buying if you already own F1 23? On balance, there are few genuine innovations to make it stand out from its predecessor. The Challenge Career is an interesting but limited addition; the reworked handling model is divisive yet forgiving; and the effects of the Driver Recognition and Driver Rating systems have very little bearing on players’ career mode choices.

The remodelled circuits bring the series up to modern F1 standards, however, and although the career mode is similar to previous incarnations it still provides an interesting and immersive challenge.

If you’re completely new to the F1 series or have skipped a couple of entries, F1 24 provides an authentic hit of F1-themed action, with a forgiving handling model appealing to the vast majority of players. This may alienate those seeking a more visceral driving experience, however.

F1 24

F1 24

Photo by: EA Sports F1 24

F1 24 price and console availability

● EA SPORTS/Codemasters

● PC (Steam, Epic Game Store, EA App), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S)

● RRP: £59.99 (Standard Edition), £79.99 (Champions Edition)

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