Codemasters' latest edition of the acclaimed F1 series, F1 2016 has been a giant leap forward compared to the previous installments. The graphics have become far more realistic and the gameplay is much more challenging than it ever was. While Codemasters is known for being easy on the PC, this time you will probably need more than a mid-tier PC to play the game.
Codemasters has introduced the new virtual safety car feature where you need to follow the speed limit while the car is being retrieved. You can now customize the weather. So in races like Bahrain GP or Singapore GP, which are hosted at night, you will get to experience how it feels to drive those circuits in day time. New races have been introduced just like the actual F1 calendar. This time you can actually get sacked by your team for poor performance.
So what about modification of previous features? Well the tyre grip is more challenging than ever. In previous installments the tyres used to lose grip after a certain amount of time irrespective of how you use them. But this time around, every little act has an impact on the tyres. Braking too early or too late, going marginally out of the track, or straying away from the racing line - all of them contribute to the grip of the tires.
The crash mechanics have improved. The cars used to have the same form of damage irrespective of the intensity of damage. However, they have fine tuned this aspect. Tyres get punctured when you graze metal objects and the damage visuals are far more realistic and so is the effect on your car.
Safety cars and penalties are more frequent than the previous installments. While it is good, I still don't think they have got it right. They still need to sort this feature out. It is not realistic enough.
Despite all the good things they have done, Codemasters still failed to give us a decent AI. The AI simply is not aggressive enough. When you try to overtake the AI, they hardly bother to defend, and dive bombing through the inside happens once in a blue moon. The driving is very challenging I admit, but beating the AI is still just a piece of cake. The AI rarely tends to opt for different strategies which is sort of disappointing, especially if you consider the fact that in modern day F1, strategies are often the deciding factor in a race. Hopefully they will sort it out in their next game.
The game is still not in the sweet spot. In my opinion there is room for improvement and it needs fine tuning.