With F1 2021, Codemasters has developed this year's offshoot of the racing game simulation that Electronic Arts has brought onto the market. The further development is as consistent as it is successful. If you are not into action racing, but want to do your laps in “real” cars as close as possible to reality, you will not be able to pass the new F2021 edition in 1 either.
For three years Codemasters had been developing F2000 racing series titles for Electronic Arts from 1 onwards, before continuing to do the same for over a decade. Codemasters has been part of Electronic Arts again since 2021 - the debut could not have been better, because F1 2021 is again setting standards, albeit more on the level of detail. The racing game came onto the market under the label EA Sports and Electronic Arts could hardly have chosen a better series for publishing: Like Fifa, Madden and Co, the F1 series also delivers annually. What's the biggest difference between EA Sports' previous sports games and F1? In the latter, one notices the further development over and over again. F1 is one of the best-maintained franchises on the games market.
“Braking Point”: Story yes, but shallow
This year's offshoot of Codemasters F16 series was released on July 2021, 1 - and the return to the Electronic Arts label has not harmed the brand. On the contrary: F1 2021 presents itself with improved details, consistently good, even if without major innovations. Is that even necessary? Probably not, because content, gameplay and closeness to reality form a symbiosis at F1 that is unparalleled in the games market. In short: F1 2021 is the best offshoot of the series so far.
Die-hard fans of the series will probably not only play Formula 1, but also watch them on television. Both are exciting. When the drivers fight for the length of their nose on the tracks, avoid accidents by the nearest margin and set lap times beyond what is humanly possible, then that can captivate you. The video game also succeeds in this to an extent that is in no way inferior to that of the live broadcast. No other racing simulation is as realistic as F1 2021, even though the developers themselves do not focus on realism, but on a kind of hybrid experience. The real sensation is that Codemasters was able to top the success of the previous year's title at all. The title was almost perfect last year.
First of all, the story mode “Braking Point” is particularly noticeable - yes, the pun is intentional. There is a linear campaign that is reminiscent of the content that EA games such as Fifa or Madden are already familiar with. Longshot or The Journey provide entertainment and bring some variety to the screens, but so far have not been the big hits. The stories were solid but superficial, silly in places, but overall entertaining. It's similar with F1 2021: The campaign is okay, but in the end it remains mediocre. So if there is anything to criticize about the new Formula 1 offshoot, then this is it.
The mode is one of the most obvious changes. In the end, “Braking Point” doesn't convince all along the line, but you shouldn't just ignore the story, because then you miss out on sequences with an entertainment character. To watch Aiden and his teammate Akkerman on the fingers, to take in the trappings of racing and also to witness the family dramas - all of this is fun. The other long-term fun factors (career and MyTeam) correspond to those from the previous year. That was great cinema and it will be again this year. In the end, however, it is often more about getting your hands on the wheel again. Because on the racetracks, F1 will develop its full potential in 2021.
F1 2021 has to be tamed
The game is a beast when it comes to propelling your speedster to peak performance - and F1 is beastly when it comes to keeping racing cars on the ideal line. F1 2021 is challenging and appeals to several types of players. Codemasters also takes care of that: the developers have built in three different modes from which you can choose according to your racing style: beginner, standard or expert. Ultimately, it's simple: the higher the level, the more difficult the game. Beginners can quickly celebrate their first successes with the casual level, while racing professionals can show what sheet metal they are made of in expert mode. The learning curve can be adjusted, but it is steep. Because the driving experience of F1 2021 is so great, you will want to leave the entry level quickly, because that is limiting.
The racing feeling is supported by the excellent graphics and the crisp sound. When the turbochargers whine in the live view or the sounds in the cockpit view reach your ears slightly muffled through the virtual helmet, you feel as if you are there. The feeling of being right in the middle is palpable and contributes a large part to the action realism of F1 2021. The optics do the rest: tracks and vehicles, the new damage model and the detail improvements make the new offshoot a feast for the eyes - and for the first time also on the new power consoles Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X | S. Even if you ultimately have to look for changes compared to the previous year, they are there: Everything looks prettier, more intense and more realistic - especially when racing on a wet track.
The damage model is especially fun. When other racing cars - not infrequently your own - are dismantled on the high-speed track, debris is flying around. If you activate the maximum for the damage model, you even have to watch out for the underbody of your speedster, because it will be affected in some cut courses. All the damage is not only visual, but also has an impact on the gameplay. Not all damage amounts to a termination of the race, but it is not uncommon for you to be close. The driving experience changes, cornering becomes a challenge, which sometimes also leads to (desirable) moments of frustration. The claim to do better is there. That motivates.
The lead foot is not the racing driver's best friend, F1 2021 is about cleverness. Not least because the AI has also improved significantly. In the end, this leads to exciting moments: Tough duels in the corners, but from a player's point of view, the computer opponents remain fair. Annoying, because if you are overtaken in a tight curve, it often means that you have made a major blunder. Driving with foresight is essential, especially in expert mode. Once again, it's much more challenging, but also more relentless and sometimes unfair in multiplayer mode. Human opponents know no mercy. The annoyance factor is always noticeable, but that's a good thing. In the end, F1 2021 also lives from the emerging emotions, the ahs and ohs and wows that you encounter from time to time in the racing moments. Splitscreen is also possible, but the 2021 offshoot is cooler in full screen size.
Number of players: single player, multiplayer, esports
Age: USK from 0
Difficulty: medium to difficult
Long-term motivation: high
Genre: racing game
Sub-genre: racing game simulation
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Platforms (Test system): PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Costs: from 59,99 euros
Everything is better, a little more beautiful, closer to reality, richer, more exciting. What Codemasters is bringing to the screens with F1 2021 is real fireworks for racing game fans. One can only criticize in the detail area, for example with the German comments and the voice output. However, this can be improved manually and independently: Simply set it to English and you have ironed out the point of criticism. Otherwise, the developers and Electronic Arts are drilling a thick board with F1 2021. The game modes are entertaining and fun, and there's even something to be gained from the campaign if you don't expect a blockbuster story that is polished down to the last detail. “Braking Point” fulfills its purpose, is actually quite good in parts, but mostly mediocre. At the same time, there is the potential to give the entire F1 series a drift in the direction of innovation, because under the patronage of Electronic Arts the influence of the games giant has not yet been felt this year. That could be completely different in 2022 - maybe with even more story, trimmings and a presentation that is much more clearly based on the live TV giant Madden NFL.
For free: What matters is on the pitch, as Lewis Hamilton likes to say so beautifully - or is it anyone else from the world of sport? As soon as the racing cars are at the start line, the engines howl to warm up and you wait for the action, the adrenaline level rises, because one thing is clear from the start: You can't afford to make a lot of mistakes. Unless you play continuously at the beginner level, then you collect trophies en masse.
The controls are therefore a star of the game. Whether with a gamepad or a steering wheel - F1 2021 is easy to control, in both cases you get a racing feeling. Beginners as well as experts can adapt the settings to their personal taste and skills. What sounds irrelevant, especially for those new to racing games, has a decisive advantage of having fun, because with the racing aids switched on, successes can be celebrated more easily. Conversely, the degree of difficulty can be gradually increased on several levels, so you can experience peak times lap after lap under increasingly challenging conditions.
The aim must therefore be to switch to the higher levels as quickly as possible. The more realism options you switch on in F1 2021, the greater the fun and frustration. Both only exist together. But the joy is even greater when you can successfully complete a race or even a Grand Prix. And then? Just back on the track until Codemasters releases a new offshoot in the coming year. Probably a little better, more beautiful, closer to reality, fuller and more exciting.
Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API