When it comes to racing games, Codemasters’ F1 2016 was my biggest surprise from last year. Here was an F1 game that was difficult to master, yet engaging and fun. More fun in many ways than watching the actual 2016 F1 season. The actual sport has gone through quite a few big changes this year – new owners bring fresh ideas and the cars are a lot faster thanks to tires that are not intentionally junk. As a result, Lee Mather’s team at Codemasters has had to do the same with F1 2017arriving on August 25 for PC (via Steam), PS4, and Xbox One.
To be fair, if they had stopped there, I imagine the game would still be a lot of fun based on how much I enjoyed the last episode. (Words I never thought I’d write, given my past with F1 games.) But wait, there’s more. If you’ve been watching F1 for a while, you probably think things were better back in the day – for a certain value of ‘old days’ which probably corresponds to the time you first became addicted to the sport. If so, then I have good news for you. For the first time in four years, classic F1 cars are making their in-game return.
In all, Codemasters has narrowed down a favorites list to 12 classic F1 cars. The team is keeping nine for now, but we do know that the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost will be in play. That car came tantalizingly close to having a perfect season, winning 15 out of 16 races that year. Even the supremely dominant 2016 Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid couldn’t quite match that win rate, having been beaten in two of last year’s 21 races.
Also present is the 1992 Williams FW14B, one of the most advanced race cars of all time. Under the campaign of Nigel Mansell and Ricardo Patrese, it featured a number of systems now banned from F1, including active suspension (which kept the car’s aerodynamic body at the optimum angle to the ground) and anti-lock brakes.
Finally, we know that the Ferrari F2002 of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello is also in the game. Almost as dominant as the MP4/4, the 2002 F2002 won 14 of the 15 races in which it competed, a feat that annoyed this McLaren fan at the time.
According to Mather, the Creative Director of Codemasters, the classic cars will be integrated into the career mode. “As part of your career, you will be invited to race throughout the season in modern, inviting events in the various classic F1 cars. F1 2017 with the addition of four alternate track layouts, as well as numerous new gameplay types. The classic cars will also be available to play in a range of other game modes, including online multiplayer modes and time trial.”
I’d love to know what those alternate track layouts are, but that’s something we might have to wait a while to find out, along with the news about the other nine historic cars. Unfortunately, unless you pre-order or buy the Day One edition of the game, you’ll have to wait a while to get behind the (virtual) wheel of the MP4/4. While the other 11 classics will be available to everyone, only the Day One game will get that McLaren legend at launch. (Codemasters says it will be available as paid DLC for the rest of us at a later date.)
List image by Codemasters