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F1 2021

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Codemasters
Release Date: July 16, 2021

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Campaign Preview - 'F1 2021'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on July 9, 2021 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

F1 2021 is a new next-generation racing experience, featuring the teams, drivers and circuits for the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Pre-order F1 2021

With the launch of F1 2021 just days away, I have spent a few laps in the game's Braking Point mode. This story-driven mode features the fictional Aiden Jackson as he commences his rookie season as an F1 driver. The plot follows Aiden as his relationship with teammate Casper Akkerman evolves and as his rivalry with Devon Butler develops. The developers have stated that the drama of Netflix's "Drive to Survive" series was a big inspiration behind this mode and, so far, that drama is certainly present.

At the outset, the only cosmetic choice you have is which team Aiden will race for. You can have Aiden make his Formula 1 debut with Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Haas, or Williams. As far as I can tell, this is purely a cosmetic choice, but it does go beyond the liveries and race suits. Pick Alpha Tauri, for example, and you get emails from real-life team principal, Franz Tost. The mode does a good job of blending the reality of who currently races and works for the various racing teams, so the story feels better grounded in that same reality.

After a successful victory in claiming the F2 championship of 2019, Aiden's first few races in the (fictitious, COVID-free) 2020 season of F1 are a rude awakening. In the first race, you merely have the goal of getting closer to your teammate Akkerman, who is currently running up in 10th place. Once you close the gap, however, it triggers a cut scene of how the rest of the encounter unfolds.

As Aiden's youthful vigor compels him to try to overtake his more experienced teammate rather than defend their positions, he ends up alongside Akkerman as Butler also rushes forward. The three run side by side for a moment before Aiden makes a mistake and collides with Akkerman, sending him off course. Akkerman is fine, but it clearly puts a chip on his shoulder regarding his new teammate. In the very next race, Akkerman goes to pass Aiden and purposefully punts him off the course, and it's then that the gameplay tasks you with making up the positions you've lost.

It is this mix of cut scenes and gameplay that makes the mode compelling, and I look forward to seeing where it goes from there. It seems like poor Aiden has very few allies in the paddock, but it overlooks the support he gets from team liaison Brian and regular phone calls from Aiden's mom. In between races, you are in your room in the trailer, which lets you take phone calls as mentioned, check your emails, and read through totally-not-Twitter to see what social media has been talking about.

I do not know where the story goes from here in F1 2021's Braking Point story mode, but color me intrigued. Butler loves to stir the pot, which is to be expected, as he is clearly the one with the most-punchable smirk and therefore the obvious antagonist, but I did not expect the relationship with Aiden's teammate Akkerman to start so poorly, either. Aiden needs some big wins, not just for the championship but even to rebuild his own confidence and his team's confidence that they signed the right driver. I am sure there will be plenty of more drama for me to check out between now and when our full review of the game is ready.

Previewed on: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB RAM, NVidia GTX 2070 Super

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