A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that F1 2016 is a challenging F1 racing simulator. Cars may smash into each other and get damaged at high speeds, but racers aren't harmed. Drivers work cooperatively with a team of engineers and organizers in pursuit of race titles. Online races encourage friendly competition with other players. Gameplay is peppered with logos of real-world brands, which appear on cars, uniforms, and on track walls.
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What's it about?
Similar to previous entries in this realistic racing-simulation series, F1 2016 puts players behind the wheel of one of the fastest cars ever made and sets them upon some of the most challenging circuits in the world. In career mode, players join a team and race through 10 seasons of F1, aiming to match specific expectations and objectives set by the team sponsor along the way. Each weekend event consists of several race stages, allowing drivers to get a feel for the track and work with their team to properly adjust their cars before the game culminates in an epic grand prix championship. On the track, players need to push their car to its limit, adapting to simulation-style handling and driving physics while also protecting their car from any performance-reducing damage. After each race, you'll evaluate your performance, see whether you're living up to your team's expectations, and prepare for the next event. Other modes include single race events, a single championship season, and a new multiplayer championship in which players can compete in a complete season of races against fields of 22 human opponents.
Is it any good?
Unlike most driving simulations, this game is designed almost exclusively for fans of a specific kind of racing: Formula One. F1 2016 endeavors to almost perfectly recreate the experience of having a career as an F1 driver. You'll need to work out pit strategies, follow safety cars at the proper speed after track incidents, face off in intense rivalries with other racers, and learn how to properly adjust your car for specific tracks and racing conditions. And that's to say nothing of the driving physics, which -- if set to true simulation -- deliver an extremely realistic challenge as you fight to handle a race car that tops out at velocities of more than 230 miles per hour on straightaways while taking 90-degree corners at freeway speeds. (Rookies are advised to turn on most or even all the driving assists in the settings menu.)
Whether you actually enjoy any of this will depend on your interest in the sport. For example, the benefits of driving a formation lap before a race -- which warms up your car and primes its tires -- will be lost on non-F1 fans. It'll may feel like a waste of time. And few things are more frustrating than accidentally exceeding the pit speed limit and getting a penalty in a tight race, or bumping a rival and breaking an axle on the final lap of a 30-minute race and being unable to finish. It undeniably adds to the realism, but it doesn't necessarily make the game more fun. Some F1 fans might drool over the exceptional level of detail here, but if you aren't a follower of this particular motor sport, F1 2016 almost certainly won't be for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. F1 2016 is broken into weekend events composed of practice, qualifying, and actual competition, but how many of these weekends make for a satisfying amount of play time? Would you rather shorten these weekends so you could fit more into your scheduled playtime, or lengthen the races so a weekend of activity lasts nearly as long as it would in a true Formula One competition?
Discuss consumerism. It might seem as though simply being exposed to brand logos doesn’t have much impact, but do you think seeing Monster Energy's familiar "M" symbol repeatedly within a game over the course of a couple of hours of play might make you begin to feel thirsty?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.