F1 24 review: Positives overshadowed by handling controversy?

Handling has been a major talking point when it comes to the new F1 24 game, and for good reason. Unfortunately, it is not what many were looking for.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1, F1 24
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1, F1 24 /

On Tuesday, May 28, the Champions Edition of the F1 24 video game, the 17th entry in Codemasters' F1 series, was released, and three days later, the Standard Edition came out.

The game, which features both Formula 1 and Formula 2, can be played on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, and it can be purchased here now.

But is the latest Formula 1 video game worth buying?

No driver changes, one circuit removed

For the first time in Formula 1 history, there were zero driver changes between the 2023 and 2024 seasons, meaning that each of the sport's 10 teams still have the same two-car lineups they had last year.

The only minor exception is the fact that last year's game started out with Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri (now RB) before Daniel Ricciardo replaced him during the season. Ricciardo continues to compete for the team alongside Yuki Tsunoda.

As for the circuits, the 2024 Formula 1 schedule consists of two more races than last year's schedule, giving it a record-breaking 24 Grands Prix. But both of those races were initially on the 2023 calendar, and as a result, the tracks actually did appear in F1 23.

Those two races, the Chinese Grand Prix and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, are contested at Shanghai International Circuit and Imola Circuit, respectively.

In fact, F1 24 actually lost a track from F1 23.

Algarve International Circuit, the host of the Portuguese Grand Prix in 2020 in 2021, is still in the game, but Circuit Paul Ricard is unfortunately not. The French Grand Prix has actually been contested more recently (2022) than the Portuguese Grand Prix, yet Portimao remains in the game while Le Castellet does not. Both tracks were among the 26 included in last year's game.

Driver ratings generate buzz

Driver ratings are always a subject of controversy, but that is to be expected in any sports video game; everybody has an opinion.

There is nothing specifically wrong with the ratings, but the numbers always make for a fun talking point. That part of the game is still a major plus.

However, as everything has in recent years, the price of the game has increased over time as well, and though it's the same as it was a year ago, a $69.99 price tag ($89.99 for the Champions Edition) is still somewhat steep for a game that, in general, doesn't seem to be much of an improvement from last year's.

It's the same reason some individuals stopped buying Madden NFL, and even Madden is guaranteed to have various players in different rosters, plus several rookies, added from year to year.

As a simple byproduct of the quiet driver market last year, F1 24 can't even say that. The only changes this game has on that side are, in fact, the driver ratings.

F1 24 not an improvement from F1 23?

Video game franchises that have new releases annually are often criticized for their lack of changes. Beyond everything that did remain the same from F1 23, F1 24 did feature some major changes elsewhere.

Unfortunately, if anything, this year's game took a step back.

While graphically it remains in the top tier of modern gaming, the attempt to make the handling more realistic with EA SPORTS Dynamic Handling seems to have backfired, and the highly touted physics changes have ended up doing more harm than good.

Though past editions of the game have had their realism questioned due to the "arcade" feeling when it came to actually driving the cars, either with controller or with some kind of wheel setup, those physics are arguably more realistic than this year's.

They are certainly more enjoyable.

In Formula 1 terms, it's almost reminiscent of 2022, when so many fans bought into the narrative that Mercedes would be "back" any time they introduced an upgrade to the car. They only ever ended up falling further behind.

The verdict: Is F1 24 worth your hard-earned money?

There will likely be further significant changes to the physics, because these complaints (even if slightly sensationalized) have been rather widespread since the game was released a few weeks ago.

Will those changes be enough, or will there ultimately be some kind of a reversion back to the system utilized in F1 23?

While fans may be able to get used to the new handling over time, there have been questions as to just how much testing was done before the new system was implemented. Even then, that adjustment may make it more difficult to adjust back, once those inevitable changes are eventually made and the kinks are ironed out.

On the content side, there were some nice improvements to career mode, but there is no new entry into the fan-favorite Braking Point story mode, which got a major update last year for the first time since F1 21.

Overall, F1 24 is worth it if you want to play online (which, of course, has its own set of struggles when it comes to many lobbies), because at the end of the day, no matter the kind of criticism it generates online, the majority of fans are still going to buy it, and the majority of the fanbase is going to flock to the shiny new item, rather than the "obsolete" F1 23.

The same thing is true when it comes to watching Formula 1. No matter how much complaining happens on social media about the sport being in a bad place, the TV ratings and attendance numbers come in and are at record-highs.

It's no different here.

However, if you're just in it to have a good time and/or don't plan to spend too many hours in-game over the next 12 months or so, your $69.99-$89.99 (plus tax) may be better spent elsewhere. Maybe you're better off waiting for a store sale, by which point the game will have likely been improved.

Rating: 7.2/10

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I'm not going to be the one to tell you not to buy it, but I'm also not going to be the one to give a glowing review of a game that does leave a bit to be desired. What I will do is simply say that F1 23 is still an enjoyable enough game to justify passing up on purchasing this year's edition.