The 2021 Formula One World Championship has been epic so far, but can the newest official F1 video game capture that epicness virtually?
The latest release in Codemasters’ popular F1 video game series, F1 2021, is a huge leap into the future for the franchise, boasting a number of new features, visual updates and gameplay changes.
One of the reasons for this is that F1 2021 is the first-ever Formula One game to be released on next-generation consoles like the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. And, F1 2021 is also the first game to be published by EA Sports, following their high-profile acquisition of Codemasters.
* Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show, the podcast is available on Spreaker, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.*
To celebrate the release of the Deluxe Edition of F1 2021, which is out now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5, Mirror Sport have reviewed the game. Here’s what we thought.
F1 2021 – Braking Point
The game’s headline feature is the all-new narrative-driven mode, named Braking Point. The mode lets players choose from one of five teams for a shot at stardom in F1.
Through the eyes of young Aiden Jackson and others, friendships and rivalries form over three seasons with on and off-track moments forming the heart of this compelling story mode.
Braking Point is unlike anything you’ve ever seen within an F1 video game, with cinematic cut scenes and emotive characters who are entwined within an immersive gameplay story. You’re guaranteed to go on a rollercoaster of emotions as you play through Braking Point, and you may change your mind about certain characters as you progress, but with others, you won’t.
The notable characters all have well-crafted and deep personalities. There’s the young and talented Jackson, the experienced and pessimistic Casper ‘Cas’ Akkerman and of course, the devilish Devon Butler, who is brilliantly evil.
There’s also Brian Doyle, the direct liaison to the team principal, and Zoe Akkerman, Akkerman’s wife, who contribute to the story more than expected.
As you play through Braking Point you will get to know these characters, their strengths, their weaknesses and what makes them tick, making the experience as deep as it can be, considering the mode’s relatively short length.
For hardcore Formula One fans, or hardcore sim racers, Braking Point may feel like a slightly watered-down F1 experience. For example, there are only three difficultly levels for Braking Point; easy, medium and hard, with hard being not particularly difficult for experienced players.
Just like Netflix’s popular Drive to Survive series, some of the content might feel like it’s aimed more towards beginners and newcomers to F1, but you’ll enjoy the ride nonetheless.
Braking Point will keep you coming back for more as you explore different perspectives within the world of F1, also experiencing the highs and lows of racing, which is what makes the sport so great.
F1 2021 – Gameplay Tweaks
Lee Mather, the Franchise Game Director of the Formula 1 video game series at Codemasters, previously told Mirror Sport that they have received a lot of feedback from current Formula 1 drivers about the gameplay and how realistic it is.
And it shows.
The gameplay and driving physics have also been updated for F1 2021, with Codemasters introducing an improved tyre model and changes to how the game calculates floor downforce. Due to the changes to aero balance, tyre balance and mechanical grip balance, the setups are much harder to nail down.
This means that nailing a perfect lap is harder than in the previous game because, combined with the setup changes, any mistake in braking, cornering and traction out of corners will cost you big time. As will being too greedy with the kerbs, because if you drift too wide onto those surfaces in F1 2021, you’re more than likely to spin out when you step on the power.
If you do spin out and hit a wall, the game’s new crash model will punish you, with cars now able to sustain damage to the rear wing, diffuser, barge boards and even tyre punctures are now much more common.
Understeer is also more prominent in F1 2021, which is to be expected considering how much downforce has been lost in real life due to the 2021 regulation changes.
And if you couple this with the changes to the A.I., which is now much more aggressive in both defending and attacking, the racing is now more exciting than ever before. In short, EA and Codemasters’ F1 video game franchise is moving towards more of a simulation feel with its gameplay, and that’s a good thing.
F1 2021 – New Features
With the power of the next-generation consoles, F1 2021 is the best looking Formula One game ever, with improved textures, 120 FPS and gorgeous ray-tracing.
There’s also been a lot of work audibly, with the sound of all four engines now more realistic than ever. Loading times are also remarkably reduced.
Both Career Mode and the popular My Team mode remain for F1 2021, but players are now able to experience Career Mode with a friend online.
You can choose to take to the circuit as part of the same team or choose to race as rivals in the new two-player Career Mode.
Career Mode has also received updated Research and Development and Practice Programmes and a new Quick Practice option.
Formula 2, the ultimate training ground for F1, is also included, with short, medium, or full season options and 2020 and 2021 season content.
There are also more ways to customise your racing experience in F1 2021, with the addition of Real-Season Start, allowing you to start a season from where the season is in real life, you can also choose Casual, Standard, and Expert race styles.
If you choose the Casual mode, you’ll only get a few options to change, but if you choose Expert, you can pretty much change your in-game experience in unprecedented ways. In Career, elements such as the frequency and types of faults experienced, the rate cash is earned, and how resource points are allocated can all be tweaked.
F1 2021 Verdict – 4/5
– Reviewed on Xbox Series X
With the raft of new features, the addition of Braking Point, vast customisation options and significant gameplay tweaks, F1 2021 is the most complete official Formula One video game ever made.
F1 2021 has something for everyone, whether you’re a newcomer to F1 or an avid fan of the sport, it’s (almost) as epic as the real thing.
The official videogame of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship, F1 2021, will be released on Friday, July 16, 2021. but, if pick up the Deluxe Edition of the game, you can access the game three days earlier on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Benefits for the digital Deluxe include seven soon-to-be-unveiled iconic F1 drivers for use in My Team, complete with customisation content, 18,000 PitCoins, the Braking Point Content Pack, and three days early access.
F1 2021 supports Xbox Smart Delivery and PlayStation’s free upgrade when players switch to an Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5.