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F1 2014's a strange game, then, and one I can't even accuse of being just a casual reskin. It's a quantifiable step back for the series, saved only by the fact that what's there remains a satisfactory companion piece to this year's season if you're fortunate enough to have a decent steering wheel. There is at least one other new layer of authenticity for this year's game, though; charging full whack for what amounts to a slight downgrade is the kind of one-sided deal that would do even Bernie proud.
Honestly, there isn't a huge amount more to say about F1 2014. It's more of the familiar Formula 1 gameplay with a couple of added tweaks, but ultimately it's not a reinvention of the series. The biggest disappointment for me is that the game has clearly been developed for the lowest powered machines available on the market, and only had cosmetic improvements pushed on the PC. I can't speak for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions at this time, but it definitely feels like a "last gen game running on high settings" than a new experience. Averting your gaze from the impeccably modeled exterior of whichever car you've gone with to the flat and lifeless surroundings definitely has the power to detract from things at times. Here's hoping the next-gen version releasing next year brings the improvements to make it a worthy upgrade. Right now, however, it feels a bit like the sport itself in the Schumacher era; reliable but a bit predictable, and ultimately similar to the season before with not much new to show for it.
F1 2014 contains the same fun and exciting racing as the rest of the series, but sadly also contains the same UI, cutscenes and animations, too, while lacking the Classic Content of 2013.
The lack of any significant additions to this year may not be enough to sway owners of last year's game to take the plunge. If you don't own the previous game, however, and want to get in some Formula One racing action, F1 2014 just might be worth getting into.
Stripped down and lacking new ideas, F1 2014 definitely feels like a stopgap; the racing itself has been honed over several incarnations to the point where it's pretty damned sharp, but with the omission of classic mode and a relatively scarce list of new features, there's a sense that Codemasters are resting on their laurels here while they concentrate on the next-gen F1 title they've got in the works.
Despite a solid core of intense races bolstered by beautiful cars, F1 2014 fails to add anything new to the series while removing features that made previous titles more robust and more fun.
F1 2014 feels stripped back compared to last year's entry to the point where certain popular features have been removed. However, is there still enough content here to tide Formula One fans over until the series' makes its debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?
Bereft of a new-gen equivalent, F1 2014 is a stopgap game thrust into the spotlight that takes last year's version, strips back the Classic content, and adds in this year's cars. With the right setup, you can still get a pretty thrilling ride out of it, but to be honest you're best ignoring this hasty knockoff and investigating next year's effort instead.