F1 2021 review: Braking Point story mode, my team changes, and more



In F1 2020, I took advantage of 4,811 flashbacks in more than 122 hours of track, or nearly 40 per hour. Flashbacks occur when the driver, in single-player mode, rewinds the game to the point where he made a mistake, like a bold move that turned out to be horribly reckless, for a replay. In F1 2020, the The flashback menu option is unlimited or no user support.

But in F1 2021, die-hards and perfectionists like me who shamefully admit their flashback addiction may cut back on their use again. Racing with a high, medium, or low number of flashbacks (or unlimited, or none) is a simple difficulty setting, one of many being brought back or added to the game in anticipation of a larger video game audience following a spectator sport in motion.

Limited Flashbacks are hardly the biggest or best inclusion in a sports title with a narrative mode, two equally deep career arcs, and a drive-thru multiplayer mode greatly helped by new lobbies. For me personally, more than any other detail, the limited flashbacks unlocked the real Formula One racing world – one that is dangerous, messy, risky and more meaningful than the neat, golden view of myself I had had for the past five years.

With the return of Aston Martin this year (and the new Alpine livery), the F1 grid includes British Racing Green, the Bleu de France and Rosso Corsa for the first time in years.
Image: Codemasters / Electronic Arts

This is the version that thousands of new fans have come to know over the three seasons of the hit Netflix series. Formula 1: Drive to survive, a large and new audience that Codemasters clearly expects to come and use this video game. They will find a lot of what makes Drive to survive such a frenzy – breathless cockpit sound, reluctant pen tops and fierce corner battles – inside “Braking Point”, F1 2021the story mode of.

It’s more than an integration package giving basic lessons. Braking Point’s 17 chapters pose a reasonable challenge without resorting to staged events, like a big erasure or a leader inexplicably losing power. However, all of its chapters have a state of win / lose failure, and that hampers a rather rote story: Hotshot rookie Aiden Jackson clashes with former teammate Casper Akkerman, before the two unite to take down the super. -Heel Devon Butler in 2021. final in Abu Dhabi. But Braking Point is still expected to offer six to eight hours of sports theater and superstar lifestyle worth seeing to the end.

Unlike Madden NFL’s Face of the Franchise or NBA 2K’s MyCareer Preamble, which are played on the simplest difficulty of their game, Braking Point offers the user three options, the most difficult of which is primarily intended for advanced players using a steering wheel and a manual transmission. Normal difficulty is really only if you want to speed up the chapters, which all pay off with customization unlocks.

AlphaTauri's Devon Butler is the villain of F1 2021's Braking Point story mode

Hard-hitting Devon Butler face is back F1 2021Braking Point’s story mode, and he’s even more devious than he was in F1 2019.
Image: Codemasters / Electronic Arts

Braking Point’s biggest limitation is that unlike Madden or NBA 2K, the story doesn’t stretch F1 2021The excellent Career or My Team modes. A story with a pre-made character certainly doesn’t fit into My Team’s pilot / team owner vanity, but I don’t see why it couldn’t continue in Career, with an option to continue as Jackson or your pilot. created. The biggest improvement to Career is a remarkable two-player cooperative / competitive fork, where two friends can ride in a shared alternate reality. It always depends on the coordination of race times by two users, a big reason why so many multiplayer racing leagues (introduced in F1 2019) collapse shortly after training. But the context is more intimate than that of NBA 2K’s MMO MyPlayer, and players can be teammates, unlike Madden’s connected franchise. It’s a milestone I’d love to see more sports video games take, especially MLB The Show.

My Team, the revolutionary mode of F1 2020, comes back largely in the same condition, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same experience. Codemasters has shaken up the format of outdated practices and development incentives to serve both my team and my career, and it’s a deep breath of fresh air. Instead of going through the same six training programs on each track, players now get three randomly assigned mini-games (from the old list of six, of course), as well as three bonus objectives that significantly affect the development of the car. These bonus objectives are met outside of the mini-games, prompting the car to be taken out for several unstructured laps for something other than role-playing hell. For those who don’t like training at all, there is a time allocation mini-game that allows players to develop their car without just simulating the entire session in the background.

Training bonuses will be delivered as cheaper parts in a new, streamlined R&D format that abandons the old series perk tree approach. Progression through the car’s various system upgrades is still largely the same as the perk tree, with low-impact changes opening up bigger breakthroughs later. Crucially, however, there is a difficulty modifier that reduces or increases the resource points generated by your team in practice. This same modifier can change the amount of money a team earns, or Acclaim, the reputation stat that helps you sign famous pilots to My Team.

A menu in F1 2021 showing all of the difficulty options a user can select

Image: Codemasters / EA Sports via Polygon

Slowing the flow of assets is a real service for long haul players like myself, who last year could make the top 10 qualifying with a brand new car, facing AI struggles in the 90s or 100s This effectively gives us a ‘hardcore mode’, which fans started to get excited about shortly thereafter. F1 2020the launch last summer. Better yet, there’s a modifier that will introduce random incidents into your race weekend if you really want more realism. Previously, technical faults affecting the car before the race were quite rare. (And in F1 2021, Random engine failures during a race are always triggered only by worn parts.) The ones that did occur were usually minor, skippable delays in a practice. Now it looks like you might have more frequent, longer lasting system crashes, maybe even wiping out a qualifying session. It might not necessarily be “fun” – that’s why this is a user-to-implement setting, not a default – but it looks more like the real thing. life.

It all folds into what charmed me F1 2021 in the first place: the grain, the aggressiveness and the errors that make up a true grand prix, all the errors and imperfections that I had stamped out with Wite-Out thanks to unlimited flashbacks. I can feel the game’s new track surface modeling – or I think I do, anyway – when I slow down, whipping left into turn 2 in Bahrain without redoing, hoping I have enough downforce on my front wing to push the car back to the right at turn 3.

I used to make rules for myself about using flashbacks – never in practice, once in qualifying, only for a crash in a race – but I always broke them. Now if I know I only have two flashbacks for a full race it absolutely changes my strategy. If I only have one flashback in qualifying, that makes this second round where I’m more of a bet, as opposed to a review, where I can always save a tenth of a second on my time by trying and retrying and by retrying the Albert Park Turns 11 and 12 Complex.

It even shows in Braking Point, an experience where I’m meant to be the hero and the superstar. From the start, my teammate Akkerman got me out of the question during the Chinese Grand Prix. A shaken Aiden Jackson vowed revenge. The aim was to overtake Akkerman before the end of the race. I did, but by the time I reached him in the twisty Shanghai Turns 1-4, I couldn’t hold my line and rushed towards Akkerman, forcing him off the track. He recovered, and there was no penalty, but it’s something I would usually flashback just because I would rather not take advantage of such a collision. Well, I didn’t have any more flashbacks, Casper.

The Codemasters F1 series has taken me hundreds of hours since 2017, and in return it has given me a wealthy new sports fan, even in my late forties. And now, F1 2021 teaches me to expect imperfection, to recognize my mistakes and to forgive myself. The result may be messy, but it’s mine.

F1 2021 launched on July 16 on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, the Windows computer, Xbox one, and Xbox x series. The game has been tested using an Xbox Series X download code provided by Electronic Arts. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find more information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.


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