Sometimes a game comes along that just feels like an idea that cannot fail. F1 Manager 2022 is the embodiment of such a concept. With the popularity of general motorsport, a boom led by F1, it’s only natural that we started to look beyond the act of racing for our video game fix.
F1 Manager is an elite-level tactical experience and I think it is crafted incredibly well. As someone who has sunk far too many hours into Football Manager over the years, the release of this game feels like a bit of a dream come true. With the best possible team behind it, F1 Manager 2022 builds the most incredible foundation for a possible blockbuster franchise.
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The Look & Feel
What immediately struck me about F1 Manager was just how great every aspect of the game looks. Whether it’s the use of the real TV broadcast introduction, the multiple ways to can experience a race or just the menu interfaces that make doing even the more boring admin tasks a joy, everything is so well presented and it makes the whole experience much more pleasant.
I even found myself in disbelief at how good the driver models looked. It’s likely about as close as I’ll ever come to being eye-to-eye with Lando Norris and it’s a pretty good alternative. There’s just a sense that F1 really gave Frontier everything they could possibly need, including access to drivers' likenesses, in order to create the most authentic feel imaginable.
The introduction to game mechanics seems a little too brief initially but the game is very intuitive and fans should pick things up in no time. Alternatively, players who are newer to F1 as a sport might struggle with the depth of the intro tutorial.
The Thrill of the Chase
Everything from the presentation through to how you can interact with each race weekend is spot on for bringing a real feeling of excitement. There is no wasted time between events and other than having to deal with part development/manufacturing, F1 Manager 2022 actually moves at a breakneck speed.
You can opt to take time to breathe and start scouting future talent be it drivers or engineers to cement the future of your team. There is also the option to spend money on improving your team facilities if they have fallen into disrepair or are just in need of modernising to help with team morale.
The marginal changes that can be made over the course of a race weekend truly do separate the good teams from the great. Making sure your drivers are happy with their car setups will take patience and a keen understanding of each track's needs. Nothing feels better than nailing a setup and seeing your driver go on to dominate the competition!
Choose Your Adventure
While the structure of F1 tends to come into question every couple of years with the disparity of team finances between the best and worst teams, this is something that lends itself very well to a tactical sim-management game.
Want to start at the top while trying to cement your team's legacy? Take on the role of Red Bull with their stronger financial structure, superior starting cars and expert team of mechanics and engineers.
If, however, you’re out to upset the applecart, take on the job a Williams and see if you can turn around their fortunes and compete for a title. The way each career will play out is vastly different and that’s exactly what is needed to maintain the replayability of games like this.
It doesn't matter which path you choose, there is fun and challenges awaiting you. Seasons may come and go fairly quick, even with a decent amount of time spent on improving the team, cars and facilities.
In future games, I'm sure that depth will be added and there may be interaction with the media
F1 Manager 2022 is about as perfect as a first game will ever get in a franchise. I can’t stress enough how well the basics are done and the building blocks that are in place could see this become one of the most anticipated yearly titles.
Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just getting to grips with the sport, this game will make sure you have all the knowledge and tools to succeed but leaves it completely down to you to make sure you put the pieces together.
Frontier was already an elite developer when it came to management or simulation games, but this just confirms that they are among if not the industry leader in the genre.