F1 22 in VR is the ultimate father power fantasy

With most annual games, there isn’t much to get excited about with a new year’s entry. Some new features and slightly modified visuals can be a nice touch, but the lapse of annual releases usually prevents this franchises like Madden of delivering major updates between the years.

F1 22 goes against that trend with its full VR support† PC players can experience the entire game for the first time through supported headsets like the Quest 2. Based on a VR demo I played at Summer Game Fest, it’s a major addition to the series. F1 22 in VR feels like the ultimate “father’s game” – one that enhances the simulation experience for those who don’t mind investing in an in-depth technical set-up.

Enter the cockpit

My demo wasn’t exactly an experience that most players will have access to. EA had a top-level racing setup during the show, featuring a high-end steering wheel with realistic feedback, pedals and a racing seat. The pièce de résistance was of course a Quest 2 headsetwhich brought me straight into the cockpit.

Fortunately, EA kept the controls simple for the demo, so all I had to worry about was controlling my speed and turning. I was placed on a standard F1 track and was free to drive around in first-person, using the game’s dynamic racing line to help me control my speed.

A driver drives in first person in F1 22.

The F1 series is already known for its authentic simulation experience, but VR brings another level of realism. Most of the time I hate playing racing games in first person, where I opt for a third person view of my car. In VR, that perspective becomes much more appealing. I peeked out my side windows to get a better look at approaching corners, stretched a bit in my seat to look over my tires, and even stopped to look at the sky (something that led to a few crashes, as you’d expect).

Of course, none of that would work as well as it does if the core races weren’t rock solid. Developer Codemasters is one of the best in the business when it comes to racing titles and that was immediately apparent when playing my demo. I wasn’t thinking about controls or game mechanics at all; I felt like I was racing, not gaming.

F1 cars round the corner in F1 22.

With its VR support, F1 22 seems like the kind of game that will mostly benefit those investing in niche simulation setups – hence the kind of hobbyist dads who love flight simulators and racing games. Games like F1 are at their best as they break down the barrier between reality and video game. Even without a fancy wheel or seat, the VR support goes a long way toward removing that last bit of friction.

I walked away from my demo feeling like that stereotypical dad, daydreaming about what I should buy to get the ultimate home cockpit† Although even without that, I feel like the headset just really enhances the sense of realism. I can’t really imagine playing it any other way.

I hope F1 22VR support will continue, but the game’s developers note that it depends on the adoption rate. It’s been a highly requested feature for years, but it’s unclear how that will translate into real players. Those who do buy in can play the entire game in VR, making this one of the most robust VR titles to be launched on the market. That alone makes F1 22 much more attractive than your usual annual upgrade.

F1 22 launches on July 1 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. The VR support is only available on PC.

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