In addition to our main Game of the Year Awards 2022 (opens in a new tab), each member of the PC Gamer team highlights a game they loved this year. We’ll be posting new Personal Picks, alongside our main rewards, throughout the month.
There were a few nominees for my personal pick for Game of the Year. Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, the revamp to finally get me back into Destiny on a regular basis, would probably have been my first choice. Though Phil already grabbed that one for his, and his hours of play make mine seem unimportant, so that’s it.
The other game was Vampire Survivors, but luckily so many of the PC Gamer team saw fit to grace that game with some sort of accolade this year that it’s already receiving a much-deserved GOTY award.
That’s not to say my personal pick deserves less praise than these two, though. F1 Manager 2022 scratches an itch that I had previously only thought possible if I quit my job and become an F1 engineer. Given that would never happen, I am happy to have the opportunity to replace Toto Wolff as Mercedes team principal with little or no relevant experience.
After seeing what a simulation management game can do to someone out of my boss’ obsession with Football Manager, I’ve long wondered what it was all about. I’m not for football, although I’ve watched bits of the World Cup like everyone else – that Messi, huh, he’s got two feet of course – but make a game that puts me in the tire strategy and I’m sold.
It’s an adrenaline-rush to watch the tire degradation of two F1 cars in real time. No seriously. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by this – last year I realized I was a bit of a nerd for the details of F1 2021 setups (opens in a new tab).
While a management sim can feel slow, F1 Manager can be surprisingly hectic. During the races themselves, you have two whole cars to manage and high expectations from the sponsors as well. If you find yourself laser-focused on a car, sending radio message after radio message like you’re digital Bono (the Lewis Hamilton Race engineer kind not the U2 guy), you might find overheated tires and excessive fuel consumption. waiting for you on car #2.
The number of times I focused on getting Gasly over the checkered flag to find Tsunoda nearly empty with three laps to go and ruined tires.
One thing I’ve learned as team principal is that I’m more Ferrari than Red Bull when it comes to overall strategy. Sorry Tifosi. If that makes things better, I also have a worse record than Ferrari’s strategists for the 2022 season – it turns out F1 strategy is really, really tough. Despite all my clever strategies and attempts to “do something they don’t expect”, I usually end up falling back in the peloton and finishing dead last when everyone else on fresher tires and more sensible strategies does ground meat from my lap times. I’m even starting to guess if I know better than the team itself in real F1 races.
Ultimately, my goal in F1 Manager 2022 has been to elevate Alpha Tauri to the top of the championship and eclipse Red Bull and Christian Horner as the clearly far superior team manager. Alas, this may have been too much of an achievement for my rather poor team management ability, and Alpha Tauri is a worse off team than when I first ousted Franz Tost.
However, I have plenty of time to develop a strategy. One of the main reasons I keep coming back to F1 Manager 2022 and keeping the championship dream alive for Alpha Tauri (sort of) comes down to how and where I play the game. All my time in F1 Manager 2022 was spent on Valve’s superb Steam Deck, which just about manages to keep up with the action with the graphics settings on low and AMD’s FidelityFX super resolution scaling all the way.
F1 Manager’s menu-based action and low-enough graphics suit the Steam Deck perfectly. The pad controls work seamlessly with the Deck without any tinkering, and since it’s mostly a menu, you can lay the Deck flat and play as casually as you want, great for long flights.
Granted, the game is a bit of a battery killer, you might want to invest in a big enough PSU to keep it going, but you can get a good few hours of play before the Deck crumbles. Enough time to run at least one race weekend, as long as you’re not too precious to play in real time and don’t mind pressing the acceleration button wisely.
Although I’m not sure I feel the need to queue for next year’s release – I can probably restart my season and start Gasly for Nyck de Vries anyway – as a new management game franchise sportswoman who plays for my own interests, I can say that I finally understand what it’s all about with F1 Manager 2022.