F1 24: Unfortunately, fans are right, the game is undriveable F1 24: Unfortunately, fans are right, the game is undriveable
The complaining is for real. F1 24’s handling is bad. To the point of undriveable. For me anyway. But I’ve been driving this game... F1 24: Unfortunately, fans are right, the game is undriveable

The complaining is for real. F1 24’s handling is bad. To the point of undriveable. For me anyway.

But I’ve been driving this game on a gamepad for eight years, currently using no less than an Xbox Elite Series 2 to tune my inputs for maximum stability and smoothness. And it’s true, just being away from the game for a good two or three months requires me to almost re-learn how the car behaves, if I intend to drive at a high difficulty or set respectable lap times in Time Trial.

But whenever the game has thrown me a problem that seemed to me to be intractable, I’ve always reminded myself that millions play this series; that gamepad is the preferred method of play; that I’m not special in either talent or knowledge here, and I’ve always found a way to keep playing. Maybe it was a car setup or a calibration setting, but — as a point of pride — I still found a way to solve Baku’s inscrutable downforce demands or the Hotel Hairpin at Monaco.

That’s going to take a bit more work this time, if not one hell of a title update from Codemasters altogether. I am not the only one with this complaint.

Redditors are already pining for F1 23 — which I agree, is probably the best-handling game in the series, but I still had to spend time understanding it, and it was still a white-knuckle ride, especially in those all-out qualifying laps.

In F1 24, the first lap I ran, at Bahrain International Circuit in Time Trial, I went off the course the first 12 times in the final corner of the out-lap. This is a corner I can take in my sleep. It’s not a double apex, but it has an early exit where you can really lay on the gas and get a huge head of steam to start your lap. After finally juddering out of it and down the straight to start my time, I barely saved the car from going off track to take turn 1. The resulting chicane sent me exploding into the barriers like Nikita Mazepin.

At Austria, I finally said the hell with it and put on the training wheels — steering assist, which I have never used, which also sets traction control and brake assist to full, which I have also never used in conjunction (usually one has been full, with the other off). That finally got me around the Red Bull Ring without a deleted time, it was just six full seconds slower than my fastest time in last year’s game.

I’m hardly the only one having this kind of experience. The YouTube Channel F1 Games Experience reported back in April that of 52 closed beta testers he’d contacted, all 52 of them said the game was undriveable.

Jarno Opmeer, an esports driver and a two-time Formula One Esports champion, called the handling “dogs**t” about four days ago, in a clip circulating widely among the game’s many unofficial social media channels and forum threads. Opmeer is also someone who has driven Formula One cars, with Renault Sport Academy.

Elsewhere there are complaints about vehicle and world physics turning some courses into drifting competitions while allowing more skilled drivers to take Silverstone’s fabled Maggots and Becketts at full speed, or Australia’s terrifying turns 11 and 12 by literally drifting through.

F1 24 needs to swallow a spoonful of hard medicine

Though this is not death-in-the-family level sadness, I am no less melancholy at the idea that driving F1 24 on a gamepad is so difficult as to bar me from what looks like a hell of a game elsewhere.

A preview event in April showcased a driver career (as opposed to a created team) that has gotten a lot of love and a lot of depth. Everyone japes at F1 World as a microtransactions hub, but you can have hours of fun there without spending a dime.

Mostly, I consider many of the conversations I’ve had with Codemasters developers over the years about this beautiful video game to be career highlights, so to level this necessary criticism at them makes me feel like a nickel. But guys, I can’t play your game; I can’t see all of your hard work.

I don’t know if the newer and more sophisticated physics are to blame but I’ve never driven cars so twitchy in any motorsports game. I don’t know if this is an accommodation for driving wheel peripherals that’s catching gamepad drivers in the blast; that seems unlikely, as dedicated wheel drivers are also complaining about the handling.

Meantime, I will keep trying. I’ll keep googling “F1 24 handling” and “F1 24 calibration gamepad” and “F1 24 brake throttle deadzones” in hopes someone in some forum found the key to free this game. Until then, I suggest Codemasters get to work bringing back F1 23’s handling however they can. I know that’s not as simple as swapping a busted wing at Zandvoort.

But absent any explanation or advice for how to make F1 24 driveable, if Codemasters wants us to see the rest of their hard work, this is the only shot they have.

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