F1 Manager 22 review
The twenty two year wait is over
I've previously reviewed the mainline F1 game on this site, and at the time I thought we might be at the peak of what was possible with an F1 gaming experience, but I was wrong. That's not to take anything away from F1 22, if anything it's a testament to the brand new experience that F1 manager 22 offers.
This isn't he first time that we've seen a Formula One management game, the last one came in 2000 from EA, and if you're familiar with that entry you should feel right at home with the 2022 edition. The (team) principle is exactly the same as it was back then. You control a Formula One team as the team principle (if you didn't get that joke a minute ago you might now) and guide them through the season taking full control of absolutely every aspect of every session and every little bit of car development, all while keeping your three drivers and countless members of staff happy while the board members breathe down your neck.
Management games aren't for everyone, there's a reason FIFA is a lot more popular than Football Manager, for some people it's just a bit too much to keep track of and not enough actual "game" but for many that's the joy of it. There's something so rewarding about taking a club like Wigan to a promotion spot in Football Manager, and in a similar way it's super rewarding to bag points with a lower end team after a long period of testing, development, qualifying and racing in F1 Manager. I don't think I've ever felt as good playing a driving game as I did watching Esteban Ocon "defend like a lion" to help Fernando Alonso finish in fourth at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, and aside from this I don't think any other racing game will have me actively cheering a driver on ever again.
As I mentioned before, there's a lot to keep track of and at times it might feel like too much, but the game does an excellent job of holding your hand through the first parts of the season to help you get a feel for what you'll have to do. Its not quite as simple as just deciding when to send your driver's out in qualifying, you'll have to micromanage the development of car parts and facilities to maximize your team's chances of winning. I would recommend paying attention to the tutorials even if it feels like you know it all already, because missing just one bit could see you take your team straight to the bottom of the table.
Graphically the game is really impressive. I'll acknowledge that it doesn't quite have the visual polish of the absolutely gorgeous F1 22 but it's not a million miles away. Every driver has a face scan and every car and track is mapped to the most minute little detail, as far as sports management simulators go this has to be one of the best looking of all time. It is worth saying that the drivers and pit crew don't quite look as good as in F1 22 but with EA's budget for that game you'd probably hope that this would be the case. There are some really great touches such as drivers changing race suits in their photos when they change team, something that would be a nice addition to games like FIFA and NBA 2K. The full TV broadcast package along with commentary makes every race feel even more special as well. But maybe my favourite added detail is the real life driver and engineer voice lines, hearing the real Charles Leclerc respond to your (hopefully better than the real Ferrari) team orders is so great and it really goes a long way to making you feel some sense of affinity with your team.
My biggest criticism is the lack of multiplayer, F1 Manager 22 is an exclusively single player title. This isn't really a problem in itself, I always love a really good single player title, it would be nice to be able to compete with a friend for points though. I'm not really the type to complain about things like this though, I do understand that it's really never just as simple as making it multiplayer there's a lot more to it than that. I also think that with the price of modern day games, you absolutely do pay for what you get with this one and a single player only game for £43 feels absolutely fair enough, especially when compared to games like the 2K sports games that are now pushing £100. I can dream though.
There are a couple of missing features and technical issues here and there, for example sprint races are completely absent (as they were in F1 2021) and driver rating regression and unlapping under safety car are currently not in the game, the latter two will likely be patched very soon though. These are the only issues I've encountered and heard of though, three issues in a game as in depth as this really isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. I've been extremely impressed by the state of release as it becomes sadly so common to have a massive day one patch to fix countless issues, F1 Manager 22 is a largely smooth and faultless experience.
If you're a management sim fan this game is 100% a must buy, if you're not but are a Formula One fan it's at least a must try. It won't be for everyone, these things never are, but those that love it will really love it. I can totally see F1 Manager absolutely swallowing up whole weekends as you get your teeth sunk into a title fight or a scrap for best of the rest. I myself have yet to win a race with Alpine but I apologize in advance for the scenes that will follow when I do, this game is phenomenal and it does a brilliant job at sucking you right into it. Formula One Manager 22 is a game that was so obviously made by Formula One fans for Formula One fans.
I won't be rating this one formally but you can probably tell how I feel about it. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it. What I would also recommend is checking out the Cloven Hoof podcast, it comes out every two weeks and it gets better with every episode, and you can't prove that wrong until you listen to it so check it out.