Codemasters has been making officially licensed Formula 1 games for many years now, and it's reached a point where petrolheads can purchase them with confidence. The team has gradually built up its simulation of the popular motorsport, tinkering with the formula each year to get players closer to feeling like they're a real part of it. F1 2021, of course, is taking things up another notch. Not only will it be the first title in the series on PlayStation 5 as well as PS4, the studio is keeping the new features coming, with the headline attraction being Braking Point.
Braking Point is a story mode, which isn't completely new territory for F1 games, but it's being taken a step further here. Taking you through three seasons of racing, you'll play as Aiden Jackson, starting off in F2 and working up into F1 as the story progresses. It sounds like it'll be focused on a set of characters (including Devon Butler) and their relationships with each other; we're hoping for some super cheesy melodrama off the track. While you can't pick your character, you can choose one of five teams for which to race — Racing Point (Aston Martin), Alfa Romeo, Alpha Tauri, Haas, or Williams. With fully rendered CG cutscenes and a professional writing team behind the narrative, this should be a highlight.
Of course, you'll be able to carry out your very own racing journey in the usual Career mode, but again, Codies is adding new features. For 2021, you will be able to play Career with two players. While this is something fans have been able to do before in previous games, this is a much more fleshed out version. Essentially, you can play Career solo, as usual, or you can have a friend play with you, either in co-op or Contracts. The latter sees your buddy racing for another team, and you'll compete on the track and battle to take on contracts.
One interesting new idea is that of Real-Season Start. When you begin your career, you can either start from the beginning of the season, or you can jump in where the real-life season currently is, adjusting the standings in-game to real-world stats. You can hop in and replace a driver, inheriting their season points, and the game will update as each weekend passes.
Aside from that, the Career modes continue to be tweaked; My Team returns, this time with even more depth to the decision-making you'll do off-track, while the R&D aspect has been overhauled. It's no longer presented as a skill tree, with Codemasters opting for a far more streamlined presentation, which looks rather smart. Overall, something the developer is emphasising this year is player choice, giving you a much wider array of options in how to play F1 2021.
That includes a new Expert race style, which basically lets you completely customise the game's difficulty. While this applies to handling, it also lets you adjust things like the Meet the Press segments, mechanical faults, AI's research and development progression relative to yours, and so on. Casual and Standard difficulties will still be there if you're not bothered about making those adjustments, but Expert will let hardcore players sink their teeth into all kinds of metrics to make a truly custom experience.
It's worth noting how the PS4 and PS5 games will differ. Fortunately, Codies has confirmed feature parity on both versions of the game, so you won't miss out on any content. However, the new-gen F1 2021 will of course have various benefits, such as enhanced visuals, a choice between performance or graphics modes, ray tracing, faster loading times, 3D audio, and of course DualSense feedback. It'll even support Activity cards and Accolades, so it does seem to be making the most of Sony's new console.
It looks as though Codemasters has another successful entry in the F1 series on its hands. The game was "significantly into development" before EA's acquisition was a possibility, so it'll be no measurement for whether the publisher will make a significant difference in the series going forward — that will remain to be seen. For now, though, this appears to be building yet again on the franchise's strengths, and fans should have a real winner to look forward to on 16th July.
Have high hopes for this one, 2020 was superb for me… just hope EA don’t mess it up too much with “pit points” 🙄
NOT DEVON BUTLER AGAIN
Whilst I love (love) actual F1, and enjoy various racing games on PS5, I’ve struggled massively to play the codemasters F1 games with a controller. GT Sports motion control with the PS controller is fantastic, but codemasters haven’t enabled this in F1 2019 or 2020, and a decent steering wheel is hard to hide from the missus. Even casual mode is a struggle (for me) - and I’ve no idea why! Hopefully 2021 will be an improvement.
The new story mode sounds like they are taking a leaf from the Drive to Survive series’s success - which could be a good thing if done well.
Does it have crossplay?
Is this worth getting without a racing wheel? I sold mine a while back as I didn't have the room for it
I don't think the game looks all that great. Even as a PS4 game. I loved last years game, but so far this one looks rather dull.
is the Haas leading or being lapped in the screenshots I cannot tell lol
@MatthewJP I find them fun with just a controller. Definitely a difficulty curve but yeah, a controller should be fine.
@Palleon I used to race (AC, F1) with a Thrustmaster Guillemot wheel (from the 90s), but when my computer was updated to win 10 it didn't work anymore. Now that I have a PS I started racing again with a controller. In F1 it really took some time before I got used to it. You just need to stick with it and you'll get the hang of it. Though you'll never be as fast as with a proper wheel and pedals.
@nessisonett tempted to give this a go then, been a few years since having an F1 game pretty sure my last one was Button and alonso at mclaren. Could be the last decent one before EA ruin it....
Do we need to wait till release, to see a comparison between PS4 and PS5?
Does the PS5 version have ray tracing? I think they said the PC version would so you’d like to assume parity.
Wont be getting this one. My logitech wheel broke last year and im not forking out for another one so i sold all my racing games. Unfortunate tho as i do like rscing with the wheel.
Jumped to PC for this, but if the PS5 version is on par - time to come home to PlayStation and my 4KTV
@Waluigi999 🤣🤣🤣 so glad I work from home now so no need to justify random LOL from my station.
#9, Nikita Mazepin... lappped.
@Waluigi999 Number 9 is Nikita Massive-spin so yeah, he's being lapped!
@NickTheGeek I think there's a NASCAR game coming out or is out (Heat 5 or something?)
i bought a ps4 last year with F1 2020 along with horizon dawn and red dead redemption 2. Thought i'd only be playing F1 a bit but i've got crazy hooked on the multiplayer and end up investing in a racing chair and wheel. Honestly the best gaming experience i've ever had, its the arcade in your home, love it!
@Stoffinator personally I think its looks better. If you look back at say F1 2017 it had realistic levels of colour saturation but the last 2 have looked like the've had a highlighter pen thrown all over them and the saturation turned up to 11. Literally can't play them - makes them look like Lego racing rather than F1.
@Deanster101 what brand racing wheel and chair did you buy if you don't mind me asking
@DarthKiwi i went for the Logitech G29 for my wheel and a Challenge Playseat as it can be folded up and put away with minimal fuss, comfortable and pretty good value compared to others.
I’ve got a challenge playseat chair too, remarkable piece of kit. Looks like it will be flimsy but actually very sturdy and ultra convenient. Can recommend to anyone.
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