Wednesday 17 July 2019

F1 2019 review: Finding top gear

(XO/PS4/PC) ★★★★★ Age: 7+

F1 2019
F1 2019
F1 2019
The Sinking City
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

The annual grind of a regularly updated franchise rarely produces much of a shift (hello, FIFA). This year's F1 might also appear to have accelerated too hard by coming out two months ahead of the usual schedule.

But, happily for motorsport fans, such cynicism is unfounded as veteran series developer Codemasters has had a team working for the best part of two seasons on F1 2019. In many areas, the host of improvements can be filed under the heading of subtle - collectively, though, they add up. Graphically, for instance, it was already a handsome game, so the tweaks are modest. But with cleverer AI, cosmetic customisation and enhanced esports - the list of progress is not short.

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The headline addition is the F2 feeder series, which in the past groomed F1 champions such as Lewis Hamilton. It effectively creates an engaging but criminally short story mode where you compete against two other drivers to earn the chance to play with the big boys in F1.

You can play an entire season of F2 in race mode, too but why bother when the snapping, snarling beasts of F1 are more challenging yet fun to drive? That is 2019's great gift: its authenticity crossed with a variety of driver aids that caters to your skill.

It's tough to beat the wild adrenaline rush of screaming round a corner at 200kmh, the on-board camera juddering as the outside wheels kiss the kerb, the tyres at the edge of adhesion and Sebastian Vettel breathing down your exhaust pipe.



The Sinking City

(XO/PS4/PC) ★★★ Age: 18+

The Sinking City

An ambitious attempt to shoehorn a detective mystery into a bleak setting inspired by horrormeister HP Lovecraft, The Sinking City just about keeps its head above the surface. The titular town - a depressed port on the edge of nowhere - teems with oddballs, fish-people (no, really!), racial tension and political machinations.

It's up to you to navigate these choppy waters, solving clues by questioning everyone, examining everything and occasionally submitting to nightmarish visions.

It's clumsy stuff but still funny, creepy and engaging at times. Ultimately, what you need is patience for the vast dollops of dialogue and the monotonous criss-crossing of the port necessitated by your quests.


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