F1 2020 Review (Video)

F1 2020 is officially out if you pre-ordered for early access. Codemasters sent over a copy about a week early so I could let you all know what I think about it. You can watch the video below for the full review or if you feel like reading instead just scroll below the video. Enjoy!

Video review

I don’t need to explain just how crazy this year has been for F1 fans. At the time of this review it’s early July and we’ve already had several false starts to the season with it finally kicking off in Austria.

Now, more than ever Codemasters has come in clutch with a brand new Formula 1 game that promises to be a wonderful playground escape for F1 fans all over the world.

Codemasters sent me F1 2020 about a week early so I can figure out if it keeps that promise.

In this review I’m going to focus on the main new features like the My Team mode, the new tracks Hanoi and Zandvoort, the Michael Schumacher content, customization, physics, and graphics. Finally I’ll sum things up with Pros and Cons.

My Team Mode

The My Team mode makes the player a team owner and driver throughout a full career. So in addition to all the challenges that come with being a driver, players will also have to deal with keeping all of the departments of their F1 team happy and well funded. Since happy employees mean higher quality work, having low morale in one area can literally manifest itself as stalled development or even broken parts on the track.

Players are also responsible for seeking sponsors, hiring a teammate, and keeping that teammate happy as well.

The morale of each team department, the abilities of the 2nd driver, team acclaim, and team resources are all determined by scheduling different types of activities in the days between races. These activities can raise or lower stats depending on what they are.

For example, scheduling a film shoot at the facility may boost the team acclaim and help bring in sponsor dollars but lower the morale of all your departments. Scheduling a party for the aerodynamic department may raise their morale but could also lower the morale of another department.

These activities also have an impact on team funds. Players might gain money doing media events at the cost of morale. Parties or training will boost morale but will cost money.

Players can also spend resources upgrading each department individually which will have an effect on the quality and speed of parts production.

This is all on top of managing the same R&D tree from previous games, and race strategy as a driver. It’s a lot and it goes DEEP.

However Codemasters does provide options for those who don’t want to be quite so involved. For players who just want to focus on driving they can just do a normal career mode. For those who care more about management than driving, nearly all driving aspects of the My Team career can be simulated making it easy to see the results of managerial choices instantly.

There is more there but that’s the gist. The My Team mode is easily my favorite thing about F1 2020 and it’s something I wish Codemasters had done a long time ago. I couldn’t find a single thing about it that I didn’t like.

I even got interviewed by a virtual Will Buxton!

By the way, is it just me or does it look like my team principal is just an aged up Christian Horner?

Whatever, doesn’t matter, let’s move on.

Customization

Customization has expanded a bit since the previous game as a compliment to the My Team mode. There are a predetermined selection of liveries, suit styles, helmet styles and more but each can have their colors fine tuned to create custom color schemes.

Just as before, players can choose from the exact same selection of pre-made avatars from F1 2019 to represent them. is a new Michael Schumacher avatar and an avatar modeled after 2019 F1 Esports champion David Tonizza.

Although just as before there is a woefully unbalanced amount of female avatars vs male. Of the 49 total avatars (including the DLC of Schumacher’s). Only 8 of them are female. Considering the current times we live in and the real life pledge that Formula 1 made to push for more diversity in the sport. I think this should be the last F1 game to which the male to female avatar ratio is so imbalanced.

I do give them a lot of credit for the ethnic diversity of the avatars available. Which is something they have been very good about for a while now.

New Tracks

The two new tracks are Vietnam’s Hanoi Circuit and the freshly updated Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

Visually both tracks look very good. I didn’t find any flaws with any tracks in F1 2020 including these two new ones.

Really the story when it comes to Hanoi and Zandvoort is how to drive them. Keep in mind I’m definitely not the best F1 player and I reviewed this game with a control pad and not a simulator setup. However, I found Hanoi specifically to be deceptively challenging.

It’s a long course that throws nearly every type of turn at you and two very long straights. Though for me, the most difficult part was the very fast rhythm sections. They demanded every ounce of my focus and I still could never quite nail them.

Hanoi will definitely be a fun course for the more highly skilled players. It could even end up being a favorite.

Zandvoort is definitely challenging in it’s own right. It’s a beautiful course with really fun banked turns. It also has a rhythm section that is pretty fast. Though not as tricky as Hanoi.

Michael Schumacher Limited Edition Content

In F1 2019 the limited edition content featured Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. In F1 2020 it’s all about the legendary Michael Schumacher. The Schumacher content includes 4 car liveries, 4 helmets, 5 suit designs, 1 extra character emote, and 4 iconic cars from his career 3 of which are from the 90s. The fourth is the Ferrari F1-2000 the car that started his four year championship streak.

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t that impressed with the racing suit designs. The helmets are definitely cool, but what we’re paying for are the cars. The ability to drive Schumacher’s Benetton B195 at Spa is worth the extra 10 bucks alone.

Graphics

Visually speaking F1 2020 is a great looking game. Though the last few entries were pretty good looking as well so I wouldn’t say there was a huge jump here. The areas in which I saw the most improvement were the human character models which look less like plastic dolls and more like real people. Material textures appeared sharper especially on track surfaces. There was also no screen tearing to speak of this time around. As noted before, I reviewed F1 2020 on an Xbox One X so depending on the platform, your results may vary.

If you’re lucky enough to have a very high end PC that allows you to play at maxed out graphics settings then you’re likely in for a visual feast.

As of the production of this review, Codemasters has not revealed if there will be upgraded versions of F1 2020 on PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X. If that changes then I will post an update.

Gameplay

Gameplay and physics remain largely the same as far as I can tell. I played exclusively with a controller and not a steering wheel so there is going to be a lot of handling nuance lost on me. Though I can say with confidence that the controller did a better job than I expected.

The controller was able to communicate changing conditions like a wet track gradually drying and offering up more grip, the uncertainty of severely worn tires, or underseer caused by a damaged front wing.

The fact that I could feel those things with a controller speaks to the engineering behind the Xbox controller and Codemasters’ ability to optimize for it.

Though if we’re all being honest Codemasters F1 games are made for a steering wheel. There are more options available than there are buttons on a regular controller and there will be conflicts trying to map things out.

If you can make the investment to get a proper wheel then I would highly recommend it.

Pros and Cons

PROS CONS
My Team mode is deeply layered Not enough female avatars
Graphics continue to be very good Most of the Schumacher cosmetic DLC is underwhelming
Physics remain excellent
Plenty of events to explore

Verdict

If you’ve bought every F1 game before this then there is no reason to stop now. If you’ve never bought an F1 game before this is the one to get. There are plenty of ways that this game makes things more accessible for those looking for a casual experience but it still takes nothing away from the more hardcore players.

If nothing else, the My Team mode alone makes F1 2020 well worth a buy.

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