In recent years, Formula 1 has become one of the most boring sports possible, dominated by the same equipment and the same driver, apparently left without real competition. F1 2020 contrasted quite strongly with the monotony installed in the real sport, Codemasters delivering a solid and well-balanced racing simulator, in which not only Mercedes were destined to win. Fortunately, the 2021 season of Formula 1 seems much more dynamic, with a Verstappen capable of silencing Hamilton and a much more cohesive Red Bull team. This change played out and the newly launched F1 2021?
It must be said from the beginning that, although the entire Codemasters studio also dealt with this title, F1 2021 is the first game in the series (after many years) published under the auspices of EA Sports (following the acquisition of Codemasters at the beginning of the year). And, as in the case of any sports title published annually by Electronic Arts, there is the question mark regarding the changes and novelties added to the previous edition and whether they really justify the full price of the game.
Fortunately, I can say that the Codemasters team has shown interest in providing as much content as possible for F1 2021, including absolute news, such as the Breaking Point story mode. Those who have gone through the similar story The Journey in the FIFA series know what to expect: we will play the role of a young driver, who makes the transition from F2 to Formula 1, facing certain adaptation problems, such as fierce competition from parc fermé, the hostile attitude of his teammate, ecc.
However, what starts somewhat mundane and predictable takes an interesting direction once we enter the second competition season of F1 (the action takes place over two years: 2020 and 2021). Without offering spoilers, I can tell you that Breaking Point takes a turn similar to what I encountered last year in The Last of Us Part II, keeping the proportions of course.
After all, the story mode in F1 2021 has a satisfactory ending and, despite the fact that it does not involve real drivers at all, it offers a very interesting perspective on the teams in the second echelon of the competition. Also, from certain points of view, Breaking Point can be seen as a kind of tutorial for the whole experience in F1 2021.
And that's because the level of realism in the Codemasters game is quite high, even when you resort to lower difficulty levels or various assists. You will lose control of cars much more often than in other racing games (the first impression reminded me more of Project CARS, for example), but the frustration is diminished by the presence of the Flashback option, through which you can roll back time, before a accident, and resumed the race from that favorable moment. Thus, F1 2021 urges you to "learn" the circuits, but also to get acquainted with speed and sensitive control, without penalizing yourself too much for mistakes. But you need patience.
The golden rule, in addition to mastering sharp reflexes, is the use of a control method that allows progressive acceleration and braking. In other words, at least a controller equipped with analog triggers. However, my recommendation goes to a set of steering wheel and pedals, able to offer a much more realistic and credible experience.
The game can take on a whole new dimension, especially if you give up some of the helpful options and opt for manual use of DRS or communication with the speakers. You also start to feel the height variations and unevenness of the tracks you run on, elements that are hard to perceive when you limit yourself to gamepads or keyboards.
Fortunately, the support that F1 2021 offers for different types of pedals with pedals is particularly generous, the model I had the opportunity to test (Thrustmaster T150) being automatically recognized by the game both on PC and in editions of PS4 and PS5. The impression you are left with, however, is that F1 2021 is a bit difficult (or realistic) to be tasted by the "mainstream" audience.
Otherwise, the title of Codemasters offers almost everything you would expect from an official F1 product, with many game modes: Grand Prix, championship, single player or co-op career mode, the ability to create and manage your own team, local split-screen multiplayer, ecc. However, some of the options characteristic of this year's season are missing, such as the new Sprint qualification system or some of the circuits (Portimão, Imola and Jeddah), but promised for a future free update.
In terms of visual appearance, the cars look very good again, and certain elements related to the damage that can be applied to them seem to be better represented (such as damaged tires). Last but not least, the circuits received additional details, such as thick grass in some parts.
However, the problem remains of certain characters, such as those who enjoy boxing after a race, who still appear as if they were extracted directly from the PS3 era.
In conclusion: Overall, F1 2021 is a quality game, building on the solid foundation offered by last year's title, enriching and improving it in many ways. However, the game seems more geared towards die-hard fans of the Great Circus, being a bit difficult for beginners in Formula 1.