It was a long – but rewarding – wait. F1 2017 is finally out and it definitely matched my expectations. From classic cars to an unbelievably good career mode, the game got everything that we all have been dreaming of ever since the first title, back in 2010. It took way more time than it should have taken, but the timing couldn’t have been better. The current cars are faster than ever, and the wider body and tyres allow for an insane “wing-to-wing” race (door-to-door wouldn’t fit, amirite?). The real thing might not be as exciting as expected, with not so many overtakes and barely entertaining, but F1 2017 is exactly what the real deal wanted to be: fast, wild, competitive. You will laugh, cry and sweat through every single race. After all, that’s what Formula 1 used to be way back then. Codemasters brought it back like never before. The spirit of F1 is back. Due to the fact that the 2017 cars got wider tires and body (and additional weight), resulting on more grip and downforce, the handling model had to be improved in order to provide a proper driving feel. It’s a night and day difference if you compare it to the previous title. You can finally feel the car instead of that classical “numbness” that had always been present in each and every Codemasters title. The force feedback was also gotten right, meaning that you can finally feel the weight transfer while cornering and also quite a few bumps here and there (most tracks are completely flat though). It’s definitely a huge step forward into the simulation field. It’s not there yet, but it comes pretty damn close. The success of F1 2016’s career mode made me think that Codemasters would keep that untouched on the next title, as most developers opt for when they get something right. Surprisingly, they went even deeper into it, allowing for an extremely complex upgrade tree, which is exactly like the real deal (it seems so). While the old one had a tree, it wasn’t quite as deep, with just a couple key elements (Engine, Fuel Efficiency, Chassis, Downforce and Drag). The new tree, though, goes way further into the underworld of F1 mechanics, which is definitely a huge positive aspect for die-hard fans of the category. Newcomers, though, might get a bit scared of such complexity. Complexities apart, it was definitely a step into the right direction when it comes to replicating the life of a pilot. As if it could not get any better, engine parts can get worn out as you push your car to its limits, leading to unexpected failures and moments of anger. As frustrating as it could be, that’s how it is. Formula 1 is not a magical world where everything goes wonderfully well if you don’t crash. Engines may fail, and this addition shows how compromised they are with delivering an unparalleled F1 title. Kudos for that. The graphics were also improved, which makes it even more immersive than before. The boring motion blur is still there, but you’ll get used to it, eventually. The textures were hugely improved, making it as closer as possible to the real thing. The color palette, though, is quite a bit off. It’s way too colorful and makes trackside details look rather dull. Nothing that changing the gamma settings could not “fix”, and that hardly takes the bright out of the great handling model and the game as a whole. Talking about eye candy, they added a Photo Mode. If you are into taking screenshots, that is definitely a huge selling point. You can pick any angle you want, and change saturation, exposure, brightness, contrast, shutter speed, etc… It’s pretty much like a built-in DSLR camera just waiting for you to take the most beautiful shots ever. Performance-wise, it’s pretty lightweight. I managed to get 60 fps on high/ultra settings with a GTX880M at 1080p. Not bad at all. And it runs on integrated graphics cards like any EGO engine title. Don’t expect to max it out, but it’s definitely playable on low-med settings. Oh, I almost forgot about the best part: classic cars! Yes, they are back! With classics like the MP4/4 and the F2004, you’ll be able to experience each and every of these beasts on a selection of special events (so-called invitationals) on career mode. And, of course, you can also drive them on Grand Prix mode, Time Trial, etc… It’s just like F1 2013’s Classic DLC, but miles better. Not to mention that it comes with the base game, except for the MP4/4 which is a bonus content until October 18th. It’s definitely the most complete F1 game by Codemasters, content-wise. It was definitely worth the long wait. The cars feel great, the artificial intelligence got smarter and faster, there are plenty of new game modes and, of course, the classic content. Bundle it all together and boom, you’ve got a masterpiece. That’s exactly what Codemasters achieved with F1 2017. Simulation-wise, it’s not quite there yet, but who cares? It’s complete and fun, and that’s the point. Anyway, who’d enjoy changing engine modes and braking profiles from corner to corner? Because that’s how the real thing works. Maybe it’s simcade for a good reason. It wouldn’t be as fun, not to mention that it would become a niche game, while the developers want the exact opposite (sales are important, ya know?). Codies found the perfect balance between simulation and arcade, and I got to say that I liked what I’ve seen so far. Also published on Simthusiast, my new website.