There have been some sensational Formula 1 games over the years, but each one has come under its fair share of criticism.
There’s no getting away from the fact how the gaming industry has drastically evolved over the past 20 years. What was considered to be cutting-edge and high-resolution in those days is now considered to be retro and, in some cases, outdated.
Nevertheless, this is what makes racing games memorable. How many times have you found yourself coming back to a title from yesteryear? Or thinking how good it was driving around as Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button or even fan favourites such as Rubens Barrichello?
With F1 2021 the latest game in the virtual wheel-to-wheel bashing series, we are taking a look into the pages of gaming history to judge which game tops the tree of the critics.
So here we go then. Here are the best F1 games according to their Metacritic score.
18. F1 2014 (Score: 64)
A game that was expected to be released for next-generation consoles didn’t end up materialising and was effectively a reskin from F1 2013 with a lack of new features and exciting innovations.
17. F1 Race Stars (Score: 64)
In what was a bit of a gamble for Codemasters to take, Race Stars was a radically different game as opposed to the bog-standard race games that we had become used to. Nevertheless, it provided endless hours of fun and had some resemblance with the likes of Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing.
16. F1 2015 (Score: 65)
Similar to 2014, a vast lack of features were what critics were disappointed with here which left the game in the tyre smoke of its rivals.
15. F1 2009 (Score: 69)
While this game was fun to play on the Nintendo Wii, but the apparent lack of realism and clean-cut graphics was what marked this game down.
14. F1 Championship Season 2000 (Score 71)
Described as a “solid first effort” on the PS2, EA started life on next-gen consoles in 2000 in decent fashion and was equipped with impressive multiplayer and split-screen modes.
13. F1 World Grand Prix (Score: 71)
Old school racing at its finest, F1 World Grand Prix was received well in what was an expansion from “Official Formula 1 Racing”, with a nice blend of arcade and sim racing on offer to players.
12. F1 2013 (Score: 79)
A strong addition to the series from Codemasters. Critics were impressed with its ambiguous package of gameplay features, classic cars and tracks. The developers didn’t let the fans down with this one.
11. F1 2001 (Score: 83)
Some have described this as “one of the best sim racing games to date”, while others believe that it falls down with frame rate and physics issues. This one was definitely a divider.
10. F1 2018 (Score: 84)
This game was the result of the Esports Series which started in the same year, partly due to its focus towards dedicated players with fine handling and force feedback in steering wheels.
9. F1 2012 (Score: 84)
Again, some loved it. Others, not so much! F1 2012 provided an authentic feel for the hardcore racers with plenty of game modes for casual gamers.
8. F1 2011 (Score: 84)
Despite some bizarre handling capabilities in the game, the game took a lot of patience and was tricky to pick up and play for first-time players. Nevertheless, many others loved it.
7. F1 2010 (Score: 84)
Ian Brown comes to mind when we look back at F1 2010 and was the birth of the Codemasters’ franchise. The leap forward that the gaming series took at the time was astronomical and the first licensed Formula 1 game for many years.
6. F1 2016 (Score: 86)
Another game that hardcore sim racers loved and was hard on the F1 newbie. But many credited the developers for raising the bar from the year before which had not gone down well.
5. F1 2002 (Score: 88)
IGN described this game as a “must buy”, and it’s easy to see why. It was incredibly competitive to race against the computer. The graphics and sounds were at the top of their game at the time, providing an all-round enjoyable racing experience.
4. F1 2019 (Score: 89)
Critics were conclusive in their appraisal for this game, all of which were left thoroughly impressed. It was a title that catered to all skill levels and the vast improvement in new features and add-ons really was a crowd-pleaser.
3. F1 2017 (Score: 89)
The previous game was always going to be difficult to top – but somehow Codemasters managed it. The Ego Engine provided immense realism which provided as close to a fully realistic experience that was technically possible, with beautiful racing, immersive sounds and the feel of racing.
2. F1 2020 (Score: 91)
The fastest cars in the history of the sport and with MyTeam mode, Codemasters changed the game with this edition. F1 2020 was a huge step in the right direction and more exciting features than ever before.
1. F1 Challenge ’99-’02 (Score: 91)
This game was revolutionary for its time in 2003. Equipped with several seasons worth of tracks, liveries and drivers, this really was a journey to the top of the drivers’ standings. Easily one of the most entertaining racing games, of any kind, ever created. Well done EA for this masterpiece.
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