F1 2019 delivers Codemasters’ most realistic visuals yet

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Is F1 2019 the most photo-realistic racing sim of its kind? Developer Codemasters has developed some gorgeous games this generation after all: Dirt Rally 2.0 is among the best in its field and later this year we’ll see Grid rebooted on PS4 and Xbox one. But between those games, the F1 series is where we really see the team’s EGO engine get an upgrade each year, iterated upon with every release. There’s a sense of evolution rather than revolution then, but this latest F1 offering is definitely impressive.

While the graphical experience scales as you may expect across the console power ladder, it would be a disservice to Codemasters to call any version a disappointment visually. Each in their own way, every console is nicely optimised for. Loading up a race, whether that’s Yas Marina with its gorgeous volumetric lights on lamps or the classic Spa circuit, the quality of materials translates to every system. A physically-based pipeline is at the hart of the EGO engine’s achievements in Dirt 2.0, and it’s very much in effect here too. At first glance, the slick, dewy effect on tyres and the way rain splatters against car bodies looks highly authentic.

Additionally, lighting gets a big focus from Codemasters with a new volumetric system, marking a particular upgrade over 2018 which could look a little flat. This time, every roadside lamp and headlight casts proper beams of light outwards. Atmospheric effects like dust and dirt now fill in the air between too. It’s the final piece in the puzzle in bringing the series up to par with the genre’s best. Combined with the HDR implementation – which was already solid – it’s a genuine showcase material for modern living room displays.

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