Codemasters F1 2018 vs. Microprose Grand Prix 2
War Between the Old And the New!
Okay, I've played both of these enough with wheel & pedals to declare my verdict. GP2 is better. Case closed.
I have the newest Codemasters F1 games installed on my computer. In F1 2017 I'm in the second season of my career. F1 2018 I have played a bit, mainly just watched ConeDodger playing it. It seems that if I want to play racing sims, I go towards more serious sims and online competition (iRacing). And if I want to simulate an F1 Season and play against AI I find myself playing GP2 or the other Geoff Crammond games!
Why would I choose Grand Prix 2 from 1996 that doesn't even have force feedback over the new shiny F1-games? Because underneath all the eye-candy it's BETTER I tell you! The Pacific Grand Prix in Aida (2nd race of my full-length season) was just about the perfect example:
I'm not trashing the Codies F1 series, they're definitely great games! To me they just lack drama and are a bit repetitive and “clinical” witch results me losing interest. Of course partly this is because the sport itself has changed; drivers nowadays are more professional and don't do many mistakes, cars are a lot more reliable and strategies not as variable as in the era of refueling.
Also I'm not a fan of the physics of Codemasters F1 games. Drive an F1 car sideways 160 mph and just casually catch the slide? Okey then! Of course you have to remember these games are intended for the masses, not just to the HC sim enthusiasts.
In career mode you repeat all the same training programs in every race and it gets kinda grindy. Also races are a bit repetitive, it feels as there's not much going on and not much drama on the track. AI rarely makes mistakes or crashes and the pace of cars around you is quite predictable. Dynamic weather is great though!
Even though GP2 doesn't have rain, races are usually more dynamic and unpredictable. Every race is different and you have no idea what's going to happen! There are just so many variables in the mix. Different fuel strategies means cars have very different and variable paces in different phases of the race. Because of more unreliable cars in the 90s we have more retirements (in Aida we had 10!). AI drivers make more mistakes and crash with each other. Also there is a random variable in each race which affects the performance of AI cars and players car, so in some races the pace just isn't there and in some you're just flying. Just like in real life!
Oh and the damage-model is better! This blows me away, in GP2 you can actually get damage to the rear of your car! WTF Codemasters?
The Pacific Grand Prix mentioned above is a great example of dynamic races of Grand Prix 2. Before the live-race on Youtube I did a full-length practice race and it was completely different! Had a very clean race (one spin which cost me around 6-8 seconds), no accidents, no damage, just clean driving from start to finish. I finished 6th and no chance to do any better.
In the live-race (spoiler-alert if you want to watch it on Youtube) it was absolutely nothing like that! Got spun around in the first lap (thanks Rubens, great team-mate you are!) and dropped to last, had couple of horrible pit-stops, accident with Katayama (brutal block by him, shame on you Ukyo!), lost my front wing clipping the grass and almost ran out of fuel in the end. But somehow, because of different strategies, better pace and retirements wound up getting 5th place and two points! I was so excited after the race I couldn't sleep all night!
There goes the front wing. Again.
Also it's so friking rewarding to drive the thing successfully! It's so demanding with wheel and pedals, physics are incredibly accurate and the car is violent and unforgiving. You don't even miss force feedback if you have your controls set up right.
AI in these games is surprisingly similar. You can race wheel to wheel, usually they give you the space but sometimes pull some idiotic moves.
GP2 is definitely a masterpiece of a game. However! You. Should. Run. Full. Length. Races!! Fuel & tyre strategy is a huuuge thing in this! If you run short races, you'll miss one of the most important aspects of F1 racing of the 90s. It's just amazing to first see your rival disappearing into the horizon with a lighter car, but getting him back at a later phase of the race when the advantage is on your side!