F1 24 Game Review: They Made It Easier

EA Sports F1 24 spices up the single-player campaign and makes the handling more accessible than ever.

byAdam Ismail|
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Before you read this, or even consider purchasing F1 24, I want you to ask yourself why you’re here. Are you the sort of fan who buys these games every season, or are you more like me, and hop back in and out every three years or so in the hope that more has changed? Are you a serious sim racer with a wheel and pedals and maybe a rig that doesn’t also double as your desk, or does the entirety of your "setup" sit in the palms of your hands?

These are the kinds of questions that will ultimately determine whether F1 24 is an entry to buy or skip. And, to be frank, it has almost nothing to do with the quality of the game itself. Contrary to Reddit-pilled outrage stokers comparing its graphics to those of a PS3 title, I happen to think F1 24 is as competent as Codemasters’ finest releases before it. But video games are expensive, and annual releases can only change so much. Besides, for the 2024 season, each Formula 1 team’s driver pairing is exactly the same as it was last year, so the typical complaint of "it's just a roster update" lobbed at Madden, MLB The Show, or FIFA, er, FC doesn't even apply here.

F1 24’s biggest changes pertain to the single-player career and driving physics. As soon as I received my review code, I went straight to the campaign which I typically do with these games anyway. Only, this time, I decided not to create my own avatar or select one of the existing 20 drivers but instead pull an "icon” out of retirement.

New for 24 is the ability to embark on a full career with many of the trappings and management aspects of the series’ long-running My Team mode, only with a real driver and team. But Codemasters also allows you to play as one of 10 legends of the sport if you so choose (12 if you buy the $90 Champions Edition), replacing a current competitor. I could’ve chosen Michael Schumacher or Mark Webber, but when Pastor Maldonado is right there, well—what would you do?

And so, I had everyone’s favorite Venezuelan race winner don the overalls once more, jettisoning Lance Stroll from Aston to partner with Fernando Alonso, purely because the image of them as coworkers is endlessly entertaining to me. In the new Driver Career mode, you set goals for yourself and your performance relative to your teammate. Fail to meet them and your contract will be in jeopardy. Occasionally you’ll also be approached by other teams for "secret meetings," where you’ll have the opportunity to hear them out and negotiate a deal for next season, or walk. I was approached by Williams immediately after my first Grand Prix, naturally dipped, and then was surprised to learn that Aston Martin was "pleased" that I turned them down. Not much of a secret, was it?

Overall, though, Driver Career doesn’t deviate much from F1’s previous single-player offerings, which I think is fine; these games always had the basis of a sound championship experience anyway, going all the way back to the middle of the last decade. You’ll be investing in part upgrades between races, and maximizing development by completing test sessions during practice, which I’ve always felt presents a great way to learn tracks. Not that I had a whole lot of learning to do, because I chose to reduce my season to 10 races and trim the fat. The F1 calendar is much too long these days, with too many lame street circuits, and I regret nothing.

My attention then turned to the physics, and here’s where things get interesting. If you’ve been paying attention to the community dialogue around this game and maybe seen glimpses of footage, you may know that gameplay didn’t look particularly encouraging in the days leading up to launch. Indeed, a pre-patch version of the game that I wasn’t able to try showcased a janky-looking handling model that didn’t at all jibe with the more advanced, purportedly natural-feeling dynamics Codemasters presented about a month ago.

Adam Ismail

I can’t speak to how that happened, or what that iteration of the game was like to play; that’s the problem with reviewing any video game in 2024, knowing full well that your thoughts and impressions can be completely invalidated tomorrow. What I can say is that I’m playing the game now, post update—with a pad—and more than anything else, I’m surprised at how docile car behavior has become.

The grip floor is certainly higher than it used to be, and the cars are far less edgy in corners than I remember them back in the days of F1 2020. You can miss your marks, break traction, take way too much curb and maybe lose a little speed, but you’ll almost always be able to recover—even in the wet. Especially in the wet. That’s the kicker: It actually takes a surprising degree of effort to totally lose it on a waterlogged track surface, and it's borderline impossible if you use the minimum amount of traction control. You can drift for days, at least on a pad, and that’s not a satisfying sensation behind the wheel of an F1 car. A turbocharged hot hatch in the snow, sure, but not here.

I hear the wheel handling could use some work, and I wouldn’t doubt that; I’m also well aware that anything a developer does to make a relatively realistic racing game more amenable to a controller-wielding audience is a direct and pointed affront to gatekeeping tryhards. That’s not really in the scope of this review, but I do think that Codies’ tweaks here have resulted in a driving experience that is a touch too forgiving in the sport’s least forgiving conditions. The good news is, as ever, that can and likely will change down the line, with the succession of physics patches that every racing sim gets post-launch nowadays.

Otherwise, I found there was plenty to like about F1 24. I’m happy to say that performance on my PC (AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU, Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU) was very good, enabling me to average about 70 FPS with full raytracing and most graphics settings maxed, using DLSS. Again, I’m very happy Codemasters is sticking with the Ego engine after WRC’s stuttery transition to Unreal.

The core here, then, is a stable experience—perhaps one that's too predictable for anyone who plays these games year in, year out. But it’s wrong to expect any one entry to reinvent an annual franchise like this, and F1 doesn’t require that sort of reinvention anyway. The work done to the career and the friendlier handling on pad will certainly be appreciated by a subset of the fandom. If you don’t think you fit into that group, consider saving yourself the $70. There’s always next year, or last year.

F1 24 Specs
Base Price (Champions Edition)$69.99 ($89.99)
Release DateMay 31, 2024
PlatformsPC | PlayStation 5 | PlayStation 4 | Xbox Series X and S | Xbox One (Game Trial available via EA Play)
DeveloperCodemasters
PublisherElectronic Arts
Quick TakeF1 24 evolves Codemasters' annual franchise with a deeper driver-focused career mode that traditional players should enjoy, though those looking for a challenge might be dismayed at how forgiving it is to drive with a controller.
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