Codemasters' F1 2014 Is 'Most Accessible Yet', But Leaves Next-Gen Versions In Pit Lane
I don't think that it'd be an understatement to call the 2014 Formula 1 season one of the most exciting in recent years. After four straight years of Red Bull Racing domination, major changes brought on by the FIA have put many of our expectations in a blender and poured out some real surprises. We see cars with weird noses, hear engines that lack the soul of the V8s of year's past, some bizarre rule changes, and some serious satisfaction from the Mercedes camp from vastly outperforming their rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.
With 2014 being such a unique season for F1, Codemasters had its work cut out for it in preparation of its annual game release. As we've come to expect, F1 2014 mimics the current F1 season as closely as possible, with car designs and track selections being identical. For any F1 game release, Codemasters tweaks the game's mechanics to make the cars feel as realistic as possible, and with the sheer number of new changes brought on by the FIA this season, even seasoned players can should expect a bit of a learning-curve with this upcoming release.
An important detail to note about F1 2014 is that it's not going to be available for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Instead, it's limited to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the PC. And speaking of PC, judging by the box art which shows "PC Digital" at the top, it would seem that this is the first release for that platform that Codemasters is not going to release a boxed copy for. Admittedly, this is likely to annoy very few people.
It's also worth noting that the "Classic" mode that F1 2013 introduced is not making a return with F1 2014 - a little unsurprising, but it's disappointing that we won't get to drive around in other classic cars and around more iconic tracks. In an attempt to make the game as accessible as possible, though, Codemasters has introduced a 'Very Easy' difficulty level, and a mechanic that will adjust the difficulty as you improve your skills.
I mentioned above that the current-gen systems are out-of-luck with F1 2014, but that's a problem to be remedied near the start of the 2015 season of the sport. At that time, Codemasters will be releasing a currently-unnamed Formula 1 game that, by the company's wording, almost sounds like an episodic game, with tracks and other features being rolled-out as the season progresses. This game will not be available for last-gen consoles, with Codemasters focusing on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the PC.
For long-time fans of Codemasters' F1 series, a brand-new title is seriously intriguing. A couple of years ago, the company gave fans a treat with F1 Race Stars, a game that was quite well-designed but suffered a couple of gameplay flaws (such as the lack of a proper kart drift). I personally hope Codemasters is considering a sequel, though, because despite its flaws, it was still quite a well-designed and fun title.