Well, despite seeing the bad reviews, I decided to buy the game and digitally download it, since it was 66% off in the sales and therefore only a fiver. I have waited for a new Formula One management game since the millennium, when “F1 Manager”, based on the 1999 season, was out and still playable. Unfortunately, time moved on and the software became out of date, I have not been able to play F1 Manager for a number of years. I decided to give this game a go, despite the lack of a license (I don’t usually buy F1 based games without a license to use the real names because it’s just rubbish), but seeing that it has an editor you could edit the names to fit the real world anyway. Below is a list of mainly negative, but also some positive things that I’ve found with the game after two days of playing it.
When the game starts up, it has difficulty remembering if you have “windowed” ticked or unticked in the options menu. After each event, the window freezes. Initially I believed the game had crashed and had to force exit through task manager. This turned out to be just the game taking forever to get to grips with what you are asking it to do, although this seemed to stop once I gave the game a chance to move beyond the first quarter of the year. The game does not autosave. You have to save it after everything you do, just incase the game DOES crash.
You can seem to add as many teams as you please in the editor, although it’s restricted to between 10 and 20 when you start a new game. You can seem to add as many new drivers as you please in the editor, although if you assign more than two drivers to a team, when you start a new game, it will randomly choose two drivers, rather than the first two added. So you can’t have the third one as a reserve driver. It does list all the drivers available to the team once you are in game, but obviously you have no control over which drivers begin the season with other teams.
Sometimes the game does not work properly in terms of race results. If my fifth attempt to start a game, I managed to complete three races, but neither the Constructor’s Championship or Driver’s Championship have been updated (all on 0 points). In “Track Winners”, it also says Race not yet held, even though the race has been held. Whether or not the points are updated, it shows ALL drivers that have been created/already there from the editor, with the teams they are assigned to, even if those teams are not actually competing in this game. After coming out of the game, and going back in an hour later, I took part in a fourth race. After this race, it awarded points properly, but only from that race onwards. The other three races are still ignored.
The “tutorials” are so beyond basic that it does not truly help you. You have to work it out for yourself. So on that basis, your team is ten seconds off the pace in every race, even if you edited the team and drivers to be 100 strength. The car set up does not bring you any closer to the field. During training, it does not offer feedback from the driver or suggestions on how to improve the car’s performance. The drivers go out on track on their own accord even after you call them back into the pits. They return to the pits, but before you can pause, they go straight back out and run out of fuel. If your car breaks down during qualifying, you cannot repair and replace the part that has broken because you are in Parc Ferme conditions. As a result, your broken car will retire after one complete lap.
The main positives with the game are if you’re a fan of editing, then you should just about enjoy this. However, when editing teams, it does not tell you if any drivers are assigned to them. So if you forget, you have to go through every driver to see which team they’re put into, if they are in a team at all. Then if you’ve forgotten to assign drivers to a team, despite the vast number of custom made drivers who are “unemployed”, the new game will start with randomly named drivers signed up to the team instead.
You can’t edit or create engines. So while you can put in the Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari teams, they will be handed randomly named engines that have nothing to do with any of them. Still though, you can create a team called Motori Moderni if you really wanted to! You can’t create customised team personnel either. I remember a game called Championship Manager 99/00 (a football management game) which had an editor that edited absolutely everything. I wish we could have had an editor on that scale for this game.
What I decided to do was base a game on the 1993 season. All 13 1993 teams, my own custom made team and the Life team (remember them?!). The only team I could ever get near, though, was Life, because I Set them to a rating of 4/100, while the other teams were 60/100+, even though my own team was set to 100/100, as were my drivers, myself and Juan-Manuel Fangio!
At this point, I do not know what happens when a driver’s contract expires from other teams. All drivers in the editor have their contracts by default set to end in December 2013 (you can extend of course), but I started a game in the year 2011, which means absolutely no one’s contracts expired and they continued into the next season. So after their contracts expire, at this point, I don’t know if the computer controlled teams hire drivers that are on the market that were made in the editor, or hire randomly named drivers. I’d like them to hire one of the 60 available drivers but unfortunately you never know what it will do.
I am going to try a twenty team grid and do research from the get go, and just not bother adjusting the set up of the cars for races. It seems to be a waste of time, especially if you have no feedback on what should be adjusted.
If you’re a fan of editing, then you should enjoy this game. If you also have patience to see through the bugs and just get on with it, then you should enjoy it no matter what. It’s not the best game in ever invented, and it does look a lot like Pole Position 2012 (according to screenshots on Amazon), but until someone goes out of their way to build the absolute ultimate F1 management game, like they would with football management games, then this is the best we’re going to get for now.