Just as it is a certainty that Mazepin will be backwards somewhere in an F1 weekend, it is also a given that a new F1 game comes out every year. In previous years, the game got a little better every time, both with the handling of the cars and the gameplay experience. This year another good attempt has been made to further expand on that gradual progress with F1 2021.
But this year there are two big changes for the franchise. First, you will be presented with ‘EA Sports’ when you start the game. Developer Codemasters has been taken over by the major game company. We see more often that EA can firmly put its stamp on a developer. In addition, this is also the first F1 game since the new generation of consoles. Codemasters naturally wants to get the most out of the new hardware, but also has to take into account that few people are lucky enough to have a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X at home. For this review of F1 2021 we have therefore used the PS4 version.
When you start the game for the first time, you will see the official intro to Formula 1 this year, followed by a fresh new menu. You immediately see that the game takes every type of racer into account more than ever. You will be flooded with the different game options to choose from. These include: Braking Point (the career mode), My Team, two-player career, time trial and a single Grand Prix.
Braking Point career mode
The most obvious option and the showpiece of F1 2021 is Braking Point. In F1 2019 we already saw a cautious start with a narrative career mode. But when you just started to get into it a bit, the story stopped again. In Braking Point you will also start in 2019 as Formula 2 talent Aiden Jackson. That name is suspiciously similar to that of F2 driver Jack Aitken, but that will be up to us.
You then promote to a lower-ranked Formula 1 team of your choice in an alternative 2020 season where you did not need a vaccine for corona, but only a large glass of water and two paracetemol. In your rookie season, this time not only will you have to shake off the pesky Devon Butler, but you’ll also have to contend with your gruff, old teammate Casper Akkerman. Ultimately, the story continues into 2021.
How good is the story?
From the story you should not expect a high-quality drama that could have come from the pen of Shakespeare. The voice actors will also not receive an invitation to the Oscars. It doesn’t help that the whole story and the cutscenes are in Dutch, which makes it seem like you’re watching a dubbed western. Remember this is a story in a racing game. Games like this never had a great story. If you play storyline games, you’d better look at a different kind of game.
Still, the story does what it’s supposed to do
Earlier games could feel a bit monotonous at times. You completed a Grand Prix weekend, told the development team what to work on, and then you could move on to step one. With this story, you have a connecting factor that gives you a purpose to race. You want to beat your rival because last time he said something mean or pushed you off the track. In addition, you do not have to adjust much yourself. You get in the car and race at the exciting moment that matters. So this career is a good addition for the gamer who doesn’t necessarily need to micro-manage everything and just wants to enjoy the racing.
My Team for the more fanatical racers
For people who want to get all the small details right and take matters into their own hands, there are also other options. We already saw My Team last year F1 2020. Here you can build a team yourself and make the car and the team completely the way you want. In addition, you can enter F1 2021 also choose to race parallel to reality. The statistics and standings are updated in real-time so that you can actually race against Verstappen and Hamilton.
The cars react for the most part the same as in F1 2020. Of course, some minor changes have been made. It is slightly easier to spin the car and the kerbstones are less friendly than before. So you will have to drive a little more carefully. But if you struggle with that, there are plenty of tools that can keep you on the track.
Is F1 2021 worth your money again?
The big question is, of course, whether you should also get the new F1 game this year. Has enough changed to make this a whole new game? Of course you have the cars and drivers in the right places again this year, so if you want an update of the grid you have to F1 2021 get anyway. The biggest addition is the story mode. This gives a whole new experience for the racer looking for something different than finishing a standard Grand Prix weekend every time. If that interests you, you will be happy too F1 2021. The rest of the gaming experience isn’t revolutionary compared to last year. So if you’re really looking for something completely new, you won’t have the almost 70 euros for the game.