F1 isn’t just about the best technology, the fastest cars and the most daring drivers. Nope, it goes further than just the usual on-track action that takes place over any given weekend. See, in order for the full F1 experience, you’ve got to look to the Pirelli Hot Laps that have slowly and surely integrated themselves in as part of any F1 goers overall experience. You also need to consider off-track stuff too, especially the fashion which goes hand in hand with the most glamorous of folk.
It’s with all this in which EA and Codemasters are attempting to further redefine the game, highlighting the glitz and glamour of F1, with F1 22 taking the player beyond the standard F1 tracks racing, deeper into the race weekends to enable them the chance to get behind the wheel of multiple supercars and to create their own unique social hub that can be displayed to the world.
None of it is absolutely game-changing and we’re still fully onboard for the F1 racing, but equally, they are both nice little options to have. Just be sure you know in advance that no matter how fast and nimble a supercar is, it ain’t a patch on an F1 machine.
The supercars are probably going to be the standout new addition to F1 22 and whilst many will dismiss them out of hand, preferring to stick with the might of the F1 machines that make up the backbone of the experience, it’s a nice little change to be able to put a different car type through its paces. Available in solo mode as a Time Trial option or through the new Pirelli Hot Laps challenges are no less than eight of the world’s finest supercars: Aston Martin with their DB11 AMR, Vantage F1 Edition and Vantage Safety Car (the latter as DLC); through Ferrari and the Roma and F8 Tributo; McLaren’s 720S and Artura; and the Mercedes AMG options of GT Black Series, GT R Pro and – again, limited as DLC to Champions Edition owners – the Black Series Safety Car.
Putting these motors through their paces during a variety of time trials proves to us just how brilliant a true F1 car is. Stopping on a dime, accelerating without a care and sticking to the apex with ease, an F1 machine is totally built for the track. Not so much with the supercars and you’ll certainly need to adjust your driving style, preparing to brake much earlier for corners and getting on the power later than you otherwise would. With tire squeals a plenty, the supercar certainly struggles in comparison.
That’s not to say that Codemasters and EA have wasted their time integrating the supercars into F1 22 and as a little side project to drag players in, especially those who are looking to just waste a few minutes away from the main career that the game brings, it’s all been well implemented.
It’s also neat how Codies have included the Pirelli Hot Laps. Now, you won’t find any ex-F1 driver behind the wheel whilst you hang on for dear life in the passenger seat here, but instead you’ll be put through your paces in a selection of challenges. Bite-sized bits of track are plentiful and these will have you trying to keep to specific average speeds through certain zones, or drifting on the open corners without worry of ditching it into another car. Hitting specific checkpoints is also an option, whilst an Autocross option will see you trying to navigate well spaced cones. Time Attacks and Rival Duels round out the Hot Laps additions, with each of the challenges coming in a variety of difficulty levels – normal, challenging and hard. When you consider that each of these has medal types attached, then there’s a chance the Hot Laps could well keep you going for some time.
Taking part in the Hot Laps – and pretty much doing anything in F1 22 – help you build out your F1 Life. Slightly dodgy Test Drive Unlimited-styled naming and vibes aside, this is going to be something that will either appeal to racers, or be completely ignored. We’ll admit, we’re not the real target audience for F1 Life, mostly as customisation and personalisation of our gaming sessions, showing off our wares to others in the online space, isn’t something which particularly appeals. For instance, did we ever really bother playing around in our basement with Hot Wheels Unleashed? Not really. We’re too old for all that messing. Yet, for those that do want it, again F1 Life is a good addition.
It’s a place for customisation, letting you amend your player characters and the clothes they wear, fix up your Driver Profile to ensure it is suitable for the online world and attach as many Badges as you could ever see fit. F1 Life also lets you create your own living space too, amending seating types, furniture, the flooring, walls and any art you may have. Hell, you can even switch up the lighting and soft furnishings if you like. Again, ‘if you like’ being the key. We have enough hassle doing that at home and so aren’t overly keen on transplanting those worries into the virtual world.
More to our tastes is the chance to hit up the supercars we own, discovering more about them in the fact sheets, whilst the Virtual Showroom lets you do similar with all the F1 and F2 cars and drivers that are present in-game. With Anthony Davidson talking us through the key facts of the F1 stables, learning more about the sport is fun enough. Whether you’ll ever run through them more than once though is up for debate.
F1 Life rounds out as an interactive trophy cabinet, populated as you find success, as a place to store your favourite racing moments in the Theatre, and, for those frequenting the online world, as a multiplayer hub. It’s all quite fancy really.
Whether F1 Life is going to be of use to you as an F1 22 player will depend entirely on your own personal circumstances, yet there is no debate that the introduction of supercars and the Pirelli Hot Laps is a step in the right direction, building out the standard F1 on-track racing into a full weekend of fun and thrills.
We’ll find out for sure how fun those thrills are when we fully review F1 22 on Xbox Series X|S in the near future.
Huge thanks go out to EA and Codemasters for giving us time to bear witness to the on and off-track action found in F1 22. You’ll find the game coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 and PC on July 1st, with the Champions Edition giving access some three days prior to that, along with some additional content – namely those otherwise locked Aston and Merc Safety Cars. The Xbox Store has listings for both the Standard Edition and that of the Champions Edition. Let us know which one you decide to grab.