Published on September 1st, 2021 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: F1 2021
REVIEWED BY: Christo Phero
F1 2021: Codemasters’s new F1 game is here. With a host of new in-game add-ons, does this latest edition warrant an upgrade over F1 2020?
Story: New console; new story. F1 2021 introduces ‘Braking Point’, a chapter driven story where you play as rookie Aiden Jackson, who faces off against his more experienced teammate, Casper Akkerman, and his extremely smug rival, Devon Butler. Though Butler feels as if he’s been stripped straight from the pages of a comic book (if he’d been twirling a thin moustache, it wouldn’t have felt out of place), the dynamics between Jackson and Akkerman more than make up for their rival’s cartoonish characteristics. The relationship between the new hotshot and the old dog past his prime evolves in a realistic manner, and never feels stagnant. The tension between the two ebbs and flows, and though it ultimately never dissipates completely, Braking Point’s ending feels realistic and earned. I hope the developer expands on this premise in the future, possibly incorporating more of the real-world drivers into the narrative (word of advice: dial down the villain, F1 doesn’t need a Dick Dastardly).
Graphics: Driver avatars are the big standout here! No longer unsettling, soulless animated mannequins jumping around on the podium, they feel more alive and share a close likeness to their real-world counterparts. As always, the cars look terrific. Given the update in hardware, there has been improvement on last year’s edition (the tracks look crisper), though ‘crash’ graphics still look to rigid and, ultimately, unrealistic when/if you find yourself in a collision with another car.
Gameplay: Like F1 2020, F1 2021 is a big game. There are a multitude of different ways you can play that allow thousands of hours of gameplay: Story (explained above), Career (single or two player, My Team or Driver modes), Solo (single Grands Prix and or Time Trials), Multiplayer (which includes weekly online events), and, if you’re game enough, the official F1 Esports challengers. How you immerse yourself in the world of F1 2021 is entirely up to you, the game’s level of difficulty and who you race against is all up to the player. As has always been the case with Codemaster’s F1 games, F1 2021 caters to everyone, from beginners to experts.
A special note on the PS5 DualSense controller – the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers made this feel like the most immersive racing game I’ve ever played! The controller alone makes this feel like an entirely new game.
Sound: If you were hoping to hear the scream of the 1994 Benetton B194’s V8 engine again in this edition, you’ll be disappointed. Codemasters have done away with the classic F1 cars for F1 2021, instead choosing to focus on other aspects of the game which came with developing it for next-gen consoles. The V6 turbo hybrids aren’t the worse things on the ears, but here’s hoping the classic cars are brough back for F1 2022.
Awesomeness: If you liked previous editions of the F1 franchise, you’ll no doubt like this too. For those new to Codemaster’s F1 games, I would recommend starting with F1 2020. That game had a lot more to offer than its successor. You can read my review of that title here. F1 2021 feels like the start of something new, containing a lot of cool aspects/additions not seen in past F1 games. Yet these are far from finished ideas. Though I’ll continue to play F1 2021 for the next 12 months, its biggest achievement is making me look forward to what F1 2022 has in store for us.
Final Word: If you’ve played every F1 game like me, you already own F1 2021, and are probably having a ball playing it. If you’ve never played a F1 game or haven’t played one in a while but want to get involved, go buy F1 2020. (Though the PS5 controller almost makes we say otherwise.)
Out of 5 Bugs!