The team at Codemasters gaming studio made some waves when they announced that their latest iteration of the yearly racing series, F1 2014 would only be released for the old consoles, leaving next-gen gamers sitting out in the cold. After more than a week of playing the new game, I can understand why the choice was made, and it’s not really a good one.

A common practice in Formula One for losing teams is to give up on the year, and start working on their car for the next season. Rather than dump more money into a non-competitive car that has no chance of making any serious headway in the championship, teams will start focusing all their money and effort into making a better car for the upcoming season. Rather than sink tons of money into F1 2014, Codemasters seems to have given up on current generation of consoles to focus their efforts on the upcoming F1 2015 game. What that means is that F1 2014 is little more than a re-skinned version of the 2013 edition, but with less content, and less reason to continually play.

Continue reading to find out our full thoughts on this latest game

F1 2014 - TopSpeed Review Exterior Screenshots / Gameplay
- image 575736
F1 2014 - TopSpeed Review Exterior Screenshots / Gameplay
- image 575734
F1 2014 - TopSpeed Review Exterior Screenshots / Gameplay
- image 575731
One of the best parts of these games has been starting in a lower tier team like Sauber, and through progressively better driving, you are given chances to join the faster and more prestigious teams.

Everything you expect to find in a yearly franchise game is here. Every team, car and driver has been properly updated, new handling and performance physics models have been implemented and additional tracks that are new to the 2014 season are faithfully replicated and included. They even faithfully reproduced that 200 mph vacuum cleaner exhaust note. It is all very well done. From a purely iterative and technical standpoint, if you enjoyed 2013, there is a good chance that you will find a lot of 2014 just as enjoyable. We start running into problems when we look away from small changes and look toward more substance.

Every year, the F1 games have been altered in little ways to make the game more approachable for new players and fans. This is a smart business decision for Codemasters to try and bring in extra revenue, but it has now been pushed far enough that it has poorly impacted the game. One of the best parts of these games has been starting in a lower tier team like Sauber, and through progressively better driving, you are given chances to join the faster and more prestigious teams. In a bid to make things easier and “more fun” for new comers, you can immediately start in any car you want. You can begin the game at the wheel of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes AMD Petronas and dominate every track you are placed on.

If you want a challenge, the game will allow you to pick a smaller team — it even rates the lower level teams as more difficult for you — but it is hard to sign a contract for Force India when Ferrari and Mercedes were just as happy to throw you a seat. The result, for me at least, is less desire to play the game. I used to play for hours on end hoping for even better drives, new lap records and more. Now with every car open from the start, I just found myself randomly playing courses, and never really wanting to chase through career mode.

When the next game, F1 2015 arrives early next year, the game will change dramatically.

Codemasters has also removed my favorite piece of the F1 2013 puzzle; Classic Edition. Last year saw the addition of classic tracks and cars from the 70’s 80’s and 90’s allowing you to live out your favorite historical F1 moments. Blasting through Monaco in Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F310 is unbelievable fun, and now just one year later is has all gone missing.

The real reason for the lack of content is simple to explain, and maddening for current players to hear. Codemasters has huge plans for what it wants to do with this game series, and the current consoles just can’t handle it. F1 2014 is little more than a stopgap; a simple checkbox on a contract sheet for yearly releases. When the next game, F1 2015 arrives early next year, the game will change dramatically. There are plans to provide dynamically updating content that mimics the changes the sport sees as the real racing season progresses, there will be new and interesting online integrations, and of course, the game will look dramatically better than it does today.

F1 2014 - TopSpeed Review Exterior Screenshots / Gameplay
- image 575735
If you own F1 2013 and love it, I see very little reason to upgrade to the new game unless you just really love the sport and want to experience the new turbocharged cars.

F1 2014 the game is a lot like the actual 2014 season of Formula One itself. There have been a lot of changes to make the sport more accessible and entertaining to new comers, but often at the expense of the old guard. The game still looks great for being a last-gen title, the cars are faithfully reproduced, the new handling and performance models feel on par with the new cars, and the addition of Sochi and the Red Bull Ring add some extra excitement to the calendar. Overall this still just feels like a filler game to satisfy a contractual demand until the next-gen F1 2015 arrives early next season.

If you own F1 2013 and love it, I see very little reason to upgrade to the new game unless you just really love the sport and want to experience the new turbocharged cars. If you are new to the sport, and are interested in checking it out, F1 2014 is the most accessible and easy iteration of the game that Codemasters has ever produced. It could be considered a great first step into the world of F1. As for me, I enjoyed the game for what it was, but I enjoy 2013 better. You will find me putting 2014 back on the shelf while I impatiently wait for the promising F1 2015 to come out after the holidays.

If you need to see a number to get a good idea of the game, I’d give it a 65 of 100. It’s a competent racer with good bones, there just isn’t enough substance to satisfy me.

F1 2014 was tested using a retail disc copy for Xbox 360 provided by Codemasters

Christian Moe
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: