The last two entries into the F1 game franchise have been brilliant to say the least. After the catastrophic disappointment that was F1 2015, Codemasters greatly improved with F1 2016 - with a refreshed career mode and greater emphasis on the player rather than the cars - the game performed brilliantly commercially and critically. And they repeated this success further with last year's entry, F1 2017 - with classic content being a big selling point for players. But there's always room for improvement, and this year's entry could potentially be the pinnacle of the franchise's continued progression...

WHAT'S CHANGED FROM F1 2017?

A lot. The career mode has been advanced further from last year - with the reintroduction of post-race session interviews, with a little twist.

The addition of a reporter named Claire and a time limit on giving answers has given the career mode further depth. Be careful about what answers you give to Claire though, as anyone of them can see an increase or decrease in your reputation within the paddock - basically, it's a one-way ticket to being a complete douchebag (if you're into that sort of thing). That agent lady Emma is still here, albeit on a less limited basis. She'll pop up after every race via voice message congratulating you on a good performance, or if you've underperformed - she'll berate you. Talk about motivation to succeed...

Eight more cars have been added to the Classics line-up - in particular the 2009 Brawn BGP-001 and the Ferrari & McLaren machines of Niki Lauda and James Hunt respectively from 1976. The classic cars are just there in the background, I suppose. Of course, you can race them in single-player, online and some of invitational events - but they are purely there if you're bored of career mode in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, nostalgia is a good thing - but the selections for the updated line-up are extremely predictable (with the exception of the Brawn GP machine). I think Codemasters should take some inspirations from my classic car wish list - which can be found here.

The manual deployment of ERS is another new feature in the game. Instead of having the deployment set to auto all of the time (which is an option if you wish to make your life easier), you can now deploy five different modes at any given time - which adds more realism to the game - but be careful of how you use your ERS, as if you leave it in hotlap mode for too long then you're screwed for the rest of the race...

IS IT A SIM?

It's a "simcade" game, meaning that amateurs and elitists can enjoy it. Always has been, always will be. Who cares? Just enjoy the bloody game...

CAREER MODE - THE CLOSEST YOU'LL EVER GET...

Career Mode is the biggest (and best) selling point for F1 2018. Like previous F1 games, you create your own driver, choose a team and race a full season in Formula One - hoping for a couple of race wins along the way. But with F1 2018, it feels like so much than that.

Like previous games - you have control over which part of the car you want developed and improved. The practice session programmes mean that you can get the best of the car and your own personal performance, and ensures that free practice sessions aren't completely pointless.

The races themselves have been vastly improved from previous games as well, with the multi-function display (MFD) easier to navigate in general, making sure that players are up to date with everything instead of second guessing information. Strategy plays a big part as well, as there have been a few instances where the race engineer has suggested a new strategy to me (mostly whilst under safety car conditions), with mixed results. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does make the races a bit more unpredictable and makes you think on your feet.

Despite the lack of in-game narrative, your career mode story almost writes itself with your results on-track, how you conduct yourself during interviews and who your rivals are. Currently, my in-game driver is a three-time world champion, drives for Renault and notoriously a complete douchebag in post-race interviews... definitely a movie idea eh?

FINAL VERDICT

With everything that I think is important discussed, here is my final verdict:

Rating
4.5/5. A SUPERB GAME ALL-ROUND, AND DEFINITELY CODEMASTERS'S BEST F1 GAME TO DATE.

YOUR OPINIONS PLEASE

Do you agree with my review of F1 2018? What do you think of the game? Let me know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading - and I'll see ya later...

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