For the F1 license, it was a bit like the first corner. This 2021 opus was indeed expected in many ways. The first of the next gen, the first also since the acquisition of the Codemasters studio by Electronic Arts, the return of the story mode … New features that could almost cause fear of a big failure as the series has excelled for several years and had not really need a change. So, is the bet successful? We take stock.
Slight ignition delay
Finally, F1 2021 differs very little from its predecessors. First in the menus which remain almost unchanged, but also – which is more annoying – graphically. No real visual slap when leaving the paddock for the first time. If the game has been very satisfactory on this point for several years, we could have expected more especially since the next gen has started to show what it has in its belly with big successes like the last Ratchet & Clank. However, everything is not to be called into question, far from it, and we will underline the extremely faithful modeling of the faces and gestures of the pilots.
In terms of licenses, all the pilots are present: from Verstappen to Hamilton via Gasly or Alonso. In the Deluxe version, legends like Prost, Senna or Schumacher also enrich the “My stable” mode. As for the circuits, it’s a half-disappointment since Portimão, Imola, Jeddah are not present at the launch. However, a message indicates that these will soon be added in free DLC. For the new rules, including the qualifying sprint which is appearing this weekend at Silverstone, we will have to wait until next year.
If F1 2021 is slipping on certain points, it is nonetheless an excellent game, irreproachable on the technological aspect of the single-seaters and the driving sensations, which are even more realistic with the vibrations and the haptic feedback of the Dualsense on PS5. . And this year again, the multitude of options and aids to activate or not make the game accessible to neophytes as well as to purists. This year, three styles of presets (novice, standard and expert) are added to make it easier to get started.
Return of story mode, duo career and pilot evaluation
In terms of game modes, F1 2021 marks the return of the scenario in the story mode entitled “Breaking point”. The player plays Aiden Jackson, a driver who tries to move from F2 to the prestigious Formula 1. Besides his teammate Casper Akkermann, we find another driver invented by Codemasters: the hateful Devon Butler, who played the rival in the mode scripted from F1 2019. Not surprisingly, “Breaking Point” interweaves cinematics and moments behind the wheel with different objectives to achieve. What a change from the traditional “Career” mode which is enriched this year by a simple but innovative possibility: the career as a duo. Two choices are offered: run for the same team or for different manufacturers. Such a brilliant idea that we regret that it is not possible to launch a career together locally.
The very addicting “My stable” mode in which the player, in addition to being a pilot, must manage all aspects of his company (sponsors, finances, design of the car, research and development, recruitment …), also has right to a little facelift in EA Sports sauce: the pilots are rated in the manner of what the publisher already offers in Fifa’s Ultimate Team mode. Three criteria are taken into account to assign an overall score: experience, alertness and pace.
Although it seems to have missed the next gen turn, F1 2021 remains the benchmark for motorsport simulation games. Without revolutionizing the license, EA Sports has been able to bring a significant grain of salt to a series whose recipe remains well thought out. To put in the hands of all enthusiasts.
Game tested on PS5