F1 22 VR Screenshot

Welcome VR intro to the greatest motorsport

Codemasters has finally brought the world’s greatest motorsport to VR, ignoring the real drama for thrilling racing. It’s a strong adjustment, although it doesn’t quite take the pole position. Read on for our full F1 22 VR review!

Keeping an annual sports series fresh is a tough challenge, but Codemasters has done well with F1 22. For the first time in the series’ history, we have an official Formula 1 game that can be played in VR so you’ chose the PC version (sorry PSVR owners). As with Star Wars Squadrons, VR support is completely optional, but crucially, it covers the entire game so you can jump in and out at your own leisure. This is possibly the most ambitious entry yet, so it’s a real shame that F1 22’s performance isn’t always as good.

Before we get into the VR specs, it’s worth explaining to mainstream drivers what has changed in F1 2022. There are some major overhauls outside of your standard roster updates. The 2022 season has seen some significant regulatory and aerodynamic changes, which Codemasters has accurately reflected. The car physics has been revised, the steering feels refined and you’ll find a new adaptive AI system that reflects your performance, who can be a little hesitant to overtake at times. The 2021 Formula 2 season is represented and we also have the newest circuit of the 2022 calendar, the Miami International Autodrome.

As for VR support, it’s somewhat limited, but you’ll find it where it counts. There are no interface tweaks for the menus here and you can’t 3 . selectrd person view like in the flat game where you are placed directly in the cockpit but only while racing. You’re not locked in place with the camera, meaning you can go through the car if you stray too far from where you synced. It probably won’t surprise you that your standard motion controls are also not supported, for this you need a standard gamepad or steering wheel. Wanting to go all in, I opted for the latter, with a Hori Racing Wheel APEX that did the job well.

Once I started racing, I was amazed. As a lifelong F1 fan, the game captures that rush of the opening moments of a Grand Prix really well in VR for me. Between wider circuits like Monza and the narrow streets of Monaco, I felt that tension as soon as the lights turned green. Over the years, F1 has always been home to some close-knit battles. Hamilton vs Verstappen, Schumacher vs Häkkinen, Prost vs Senna, every era has that fierce rivalry that went down in racing history. When you face Lewis Hamilton and Charles LeClerc, trying desperately not to cause an accident as we round the corner, you feel that sense of presence.

This is a game that demands your full attention, VR or not, and wins feel very exciting. Once you put on your headset, you no longer have the advantage of seeing cars sneaking behind you without actively looking in your door mirrors. Instead of a HUD, speed stats are displayed through the cockpit’s steering wheel to maintain immersion, and you can radio in for updates. When it rains, water drips down your visor and your view is never greatly obstructed, nor is the spray from vehicles ahead. F1 22 ticks a lot of simulation boxes and honestly I’ve never had so much fun with a serious racer.

Unfortunately, F1 22 has some VR performance issues at launch that I didn’t notice noticeably in flat mode. For full context, my gaming PC uses a Ryzen 7 2700X and GeForce RTX 3070, which meet the recommended requirements for VR, and I used a Meta Quest 2 over both Oculus Link and Virtual Desktop. But until I dismissed the images from the auto-applied graphics settings, performance faltered pretty badly at certain points. We drive through the first chicane of Monza, crash into the back of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and take us both outside as the view from the headset isn’t ideal. To make matters worse, that wasn’t a one-off, so I’m hopeful that this will be fixed in a post-launch patch.

F1 22 VR Gameplay

As well as individual races, there are plenty of modes to choose from, but unfortunately Codemasters has ditched Braking Point, F1 2021’s new story mode. Still, we have a familiar Career Mode where you can play one of the 20 existing drivers between the 10 teams. Alternatively, you can start your own custom team through MyTeam, the choice is yours. Multiplayer is packed with local split screen (although obviously not in VR) and online play, the latter offering casual and ranked options. Solo players looking to shake things up can set up their own Grand Prix weekends or seasonal calendars in addition to time trials. Finally, “Pirelli Hot Laps” introduce new challenges that grant XP to your “Podium Pass” for new cosmetics, ranking your achievements between Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

F1 22 VR Review – Comfort

F1 22 doesn’t offer comfort options for VR players, but this isn’t an experience she really needs. No motion controls are used at all, no vignettes when turning and the only movement comes from the car. This puts you right in the cockpit without a 3rd person view option like you would find in flat gameplay. As such I would recommend playing F1 22 seated, there is absolutely nothing gained by standing.

Each of these works well for the most part. Competing against friends is as exciting as ever and while I was building a career in Esteban Ocon’s BWT Alpine, it turned out to be a lot of fun in my playthrough. For those who want something different, you also have playable supercars, such as the Aston Martin DB11 V12 in time trials and the Hot Laps, which handle steering and braking differently. It’s a new experience and I had fun with them, although it felt out of place. You can’t race it against other supercars either, a missed opportunity.

I’m just not enamored with the game’s big new mode, F1 Life. It offers a new hub area for other players to visit, allowing you to customize both your living room and avatar, all purchased with Pitcoin. There is a virtual showroom to view the cars up close, and you can also buy supercars here. I only wish it was more interesting, there isn’t much to do and to some extent it feels like an excuse for further microtransactions. Fortunately, F1 Life isn’t the key to the wider experience, so it doesn’t detract too much.

Other than that, F1 22 is a visual delight and Codemasters has clearly done the work for this presentation. Both the cars and tracks look incredibly realistic on high settings with great attention to detail. Once I switched to the lower settings for VR, it consistently reached those higher frame rates as well. If you’ve played past entries you’ll notice that visually it’s not a huge jump from F1 2021, but to be honest it would be hard to improve on what’s already there. This remains quite a lively experience.

F1 22 VR Review – Final Impressions

Codemasters has brilliantly captured the more exciting aspects of Formula 1 in VR for F1 22 and I have never felt so immersed in a racing game. While I’m sad to see the story mode go away and didn’t care much for F1 Life, I can see F1 22 appealing to both long-term fans of the series and newcomers looking for a fresh racer. Hopefully we’ll see a post-launch patch fix these performance issues, but if you’re happy to compromise at this point, F1 22 is a great choice and recommended.

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