Top positive review
Evolution and not Revolution, multiplayer full of bugs
24 August 2018
F1 2018 is a progression of the yearly F1 title by Codemasters, it takes 2017 and builds on it in several small areas. Those that have 2017 be warned, the step up isn't that big aside from the new looking cars, improved engine noise and handling.
Again there are 2 main areas; Career and Multiplayer modes. Career is virtually a carbon copy of last years outing but with more cutscenes with driver interviews/ media events and the research tree for upgrading your car is much easier to level up (as opposed to the nightmare of 2017 where each upgrade costs an arm and a leg). You can start your career in any team although the higher the team the more they will expect from you so i would advice starting in a lower to middle rank team for your first season. I myself chose to go with Mclaren and intend to stick with them throughout my career. Audio wise the cars sound much better and the weather effects have been improved especially the cloud cover but aside from that the game looks near identical to 2017. Zero effort has been made with the damage engine and the mechanic and options available are the same as last year too. The cars naturally feature the halo and while it can't be removed entirely you can have a section removed when in cockpit view should you so choose.
Classics basically feature a set of older F1 cars and classic versions of tracks, it's good fun and if you get the headline edition you also get included access to the 2009 Brawn championship winning car and the FW25 Williams from 2003. The Brawn is nothing short of stunning and sounds amazing!
Multiplayer is where you'll be spending most of your time once you've finished your first season or possibly sooner. Much like 2017 you can either create a lobby or search for one based on a set of parameters. There are ranked and unranked lobbies. It's a peer to peer based system which does let the side down and introduces a level of instability. If the host leaves the session it basically means the lobby crashes and everyone either gets booted out or your game will stop, forcing a reboot! One of my main gripes is codemasters really should be using dedicated servers at this stage especially given they've had the franchise for 8 years now! Unlike 2017 each racer now gets a super licence and you are graded for being a good or bad racer, the worse you are and it will reflect on your super licence. One good feature is the hopper system will pair good drivers with good drivers and vice versa for the bad ones meaning those bad racers that cause destruction should be kept separate from the rest of us (something that plagued all past outings) Sadly given the game hasn't been out that long this system is in its infancy so it will take time before the game can recognise the good from the bad. I also have to report (sadly) that multiplayer is currently unstable with lots of bugs causing crashes, network issue and empty lobbies to appear. The driver interviews are also pointless as they often ask the same or similar questions and sometimes don't relate to what actually happened in that session.. the worst part about it is there's a timer that counts down for you to answer and it isn't nearly long enough especially if you want to read the options first... i mean 10 seconds to read 4 options? Each a sentence or two long? Remove the timer and this aspect of the game will automatically be better albeit still irrelevant.
I'm pleased to see a return of Hockenheim to the game which has always been one of my favourites and was sadly missing from last years. Overall this is the best codemasters game to date and i approve of the subtle improvement to the game such as the slightly more responsive handling, manual deployment of ERS, improved audio and super licence system online but equally there are STILL issues that codemasters haven't bothered to address over several years. The corner cutting penalty system for example is far too trigger happy and the AI (computer controlled cars) in career are either far too dumb or far too aggressive! Also the super license system online is stupid, if you get taken off by someone else or go through a ghosted car you lose your status and your rating as a good driver goes down, the algorithms are clearly wrong! In career you can also select an "audible name", this is the name the game will use to describe you in cut scenes and i'm genuinely shocked at how few proper English names codemasters have decided to include. They might as well have not bothered!
VERDICT: The best outing yet regarding career mode but only minor differences and improvements over 2017. The added cutscenes may be for some but for me they add little value given the generic options you can select. Multiplayer needs a big update and fast to make it playable and stable and I do find it bad of codemasters to release the game with multiplayer as it is, The super licence idea is a good one but it has been poorly integrated into the game making a good reputation virtually impossible. Overall however and based on a hope that these issues will be resolved swiftly I will RECOMMEND this game. Just be aware of the problems before you buy it!
September 10th 2018: there has now been a series of updates to the game which appear to have fixed nothing. Single player works fine but multiplayer is full to the rafters with bugs. Ranging from crashes and freezes to not being able to see other players names and worse of all a corner cutting system that has been updated so it is beyond strict. Gifting you a straight penalty if you touch the line let alone cross it (remember you're classed as being on the track if you touch the line with any part of your car) the system has been updated so that now it is so trigger happy that if you dare to push to the limits of the car (like what most racing drivers do) you are instantly penalised and this adversely affects your safety rating. Codemasters say it's to create a more competitive game style but all it has done is hamper it. As of the 10th of September multiplayer is borderline unplayable. If I could rate the game now I would give single player 5/5 but multiplayer 2/5
17th September: There has been another update, there seems to be a small and i really do mean SMALL improvement in online stability but the penalty system is still ridiculously strict. You can now extend the time or turn off the time limit completely in the driver interviews in career mode but sadly you can't turn the interviews off completely. There have been new visual car updates to reflect the cars in real life, so the Mclarens new Nose and ferrari wing mirrors on the Halo are now featured in the game. Aside from that the game remains the same. Still no ability to have 50% or 100% race distances online though.