The first half of 2020 was undoubtedly stingy with emotions for all Formula 1 fans. If the other sports saw their seasons end because of Covid-19, the premier class of car racing had to opt for an early return in the pits a few days from Australian Grand Prix that would kick off the dance. In recent weeks, however, the situation has changed, with the start of the competition on a completely rethought calendar and the arrival of F1 2020, annual appointment for all gamers who love the maximum expression of motor racing. The feast of Formula 1 has begun: what will Codemasters put on the table?
Being in front of the main menu of F1 2020, for a fan of the discipline, is a bit like being a child inside a candy store. The options that are presented to the player are many and quite varied: in addition to the most basic possibilities, how to quickly try out a Grand Prix of your choice, without too many frills, or in some simple timed tests, the eye immediately jumps to the Pilot career, proposed this year in all its glory, or almost. It is in fact possible to make a run towards the world title starting directly from a seat in F1 or choose a more difficult climb, taking a seat in an F2 car, and play a more or less long weaning championship. The number of stages that will make up the season is in fact at our discretion and if we decide for a lighter calendar, the game will cut some of the appointments to streamline the championship. The effects of Covid-19 also had repercussions on the world of Formula 1, but not on the simulation of Codemasters which offers the player all 22 originally scheduled grand prizes, including new entries from Hanoi and Zandvoort which, due to force majeure, saw the 2020 appointment jump into reality. Nothing to do instead for Mugello: the circuits with which the circus has decided to integrate a season still to be defined, will not be present. If on the one hand credit must be given to the development team for having managed to offer the original season, on the other hand we must turn a blind eye to Formula 2, here proposed again with 2019 cars and drivers. A comprehensible choice by Codemasters, which still plans to update everything with a patch to be released later.
What represents the real novelty of the package is the Stable career. F1 2020 in fact supports the main mode with a new version of the more managerial mold, which puts us in the shoes of a pilot owner of his own team. If nowadays such a scenario can be unusual, in the 70s owning a stable and getting behind the wheel of your own productions was far from rare, just think of Surtees, Brabham or Merzario, just to do some example. The mode resumes and expands much of the classic racing career, integrating it with an all-round management of the team: in addition to the development of the car, the player is called to manage the team's finances, find sponsors, choose the livery and logo of the car and put a teammate from the drivers market under contract, then dealing with accumulate fame thanks to the results on the track and promotional activities, in order to raise funds to invest in the team structure or in the supply of power units. A modality undoubtedly to be refined, but which already in this version proves to be quite convincing. Trying your luck in Formula 1, taking the field with an eleventh owned team, is undoubtedly a fascinating and rather fun challenge for the player who wants to try his hand at an all-round experience in the world of open-seater single-seaters. The F1 2020 offer is completed by competitions with historic cars (present in good numbers and with some goodies), various Invitational events that represent real challenges, a Car showroom section where you can admire in detail all the cars in the game with lots of of anecdotes and the obvious online multiplayer section, increasingly appreciated by users and by the pilots themselves, who delighted in trying the eSport scene of the previous version during the quarantine period. This allows you to compete with other players in different events, classified and unclassified, and to participate in the online leagues created by the community, a series of customized and structured competitions over time.
The richness of the offer would still not be sufficient if it were not supported by solid and fun gameplay but, fortunately, this is not the case. When creating an official product such as F1 2020, there are several variables to consider, first of all the variety of the public to which it is proposed. Formula 1 is a popular sport, appreciated both by the most skilled fans and by the casual spectator, and meeting everyone's needs is fundamental for a game of this type. Codemasters' work fully achieves this goal, providing a series of options and aids to make the experience more enjoyable even for the most inexperienced players. Take to the track with your favorite car on one of the tracks in the world (tracks and single-seaters are faithfully reproduced, almost flawlessly) turns out to be fun and rewarding, knowing how to return an absolutely convincing feeling even playing with a simple controller and activating a series of small concessions useful to make the approach of those who simply want to sit on the sofa and enjoy a few laps in the cockpit of an F1 less complex. For the more careless player, the Flashback function is undoubtedly very useful, which allows you to start from any point of the most recent replay, allowing you to return to the wheel of your car at a time prior to a possible error. Everything is obviously activatable to your liking and the player more hardcore he can safely take advantage of the option to disable everything and get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in the most faithful way possible. The feedback returned by the cars is absolutely satisfactory and the sensations provided by different types of cars (whether they are F1, F2 or historic cars) are faithfully reproduced. The only small flaw is found in the AI of the opposing drivers during the races. On a scale from 1 to "Lewis Hamilton in a bad mood", the computer-controlled pilots come very close to this latter definition, appearing on the track in a perhaps too aggressive way. In some extreme cases they will even perform real ramming, almost as if their entry into the trajectory did not take into account the existence of the player's car. However, this is a very small burr that does not compromise solid, absolutely fun gameplay and that tries to meet every type of palate, succeeding almost perfectly. Getting into the cockpit (as long as you don't hate the Halo system to opt for another camera) and driving a single-seater looking for the best trajectories and the optimal use of DRS and ERS, is a rewarding and affordable experience of all.
Codemasters absolutely targets and offers a product full of options and certainly solid from the point of view of pure gameplay. F1 2020 is an inclusive title, capable of meeting the majority of the public, but which never forgets to be, first of all, a good driving simulator. And the latter is at the center of the unpublished Season Pass (which can also be purchased in the VIP version) which allows players to collect cosmetic rewards such as suits, liveries and exultations to show off in online competitions or in the new Scuderia Career mode. This, in turn, represents a pleasant addition to a product that is already very rich in itself and is destined to become the flagship of the offer. Even with some burrs here and there, F1 2020 proves to be a must have for fans of the premier class of motorsport, worthily celebrating 70 years of life and offering, above all, the little gem of the Deluxe Schumacher Edition, which allows players to take to the track with some special liveries dedicated to the German champion and with the historic single-seaters that have accompanied the highlights of his extraordinary career.