A star rating of 4 out of 5.

F1 2021, the latest in a series of Formula 1 simulator games from the seasoned developers at Codemasters, is sure to receive a lot of attention.


Ever since Codemasters was acquired by EA late last year, fans have been wondering if the F1 gaming franchise would flourish or flounder under new ownership.

The good news is that F1 2021 is most certainly a flourish, by whichever metric you’re using to assess its pros and cons. In fact, we like it so much that we’re naming it our RadioTimes.com Game of the Week.

If you’re a hardened fan hoping to find a new challenge, you won’t walk away disappointed. And if you’re a newcomer that discovered a love for Formula 1 over the last year, it shouldn’t take you too long to catch up.

Emotions run high in F1 2021's Braking Point mode.
Emotions run high in F1 2021's Braking Point mode. EA/Codemasters

The biggest thing that EA/Codemasters’ marketing department seems to be shouting about is Braking Point, a brand-new story mode that blends real-life races with fictional figures that you get to control.

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Much like The Journey trilogy (a narrative-focused game mode that EA spliced into FIFA 17, FIFA 18 and FIFA 19), Braking Point is a really fun experience that a lot of players will enjoy.

The graphics look great in the races and in the cut scenes, and there’s tightly wound drama both on the track and off it. There are 16 chapters to the story, with each one requiring you to complete a certain task in a race – you might be trying to catch a particular rival, or you might just be trying to finish the race despite some serious weather conditions or technical issues.

Clearly inspired by the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive, Braking Point sees you jumping between two playable characters: a young rookie driver and his veteran teammate, who quickly learn to utterly loathe each other.

Although this rivalry does become a little bit of a hammy soap opera at some points, it’s also pretty darn compelling to be a part of – we kept wanting to come back to it, and we’d be very happy if the next F1 game included a Braking Point sequel.

Where to buy F1 2021:

F1 2021 graphics
The graphics in F1 2021 are stunning. EA/Codemasters

In terms of the gameplay itself, racing in F1 2021 feels brilliant whichever mode you’re playing in. Braking at the right time is vitally important, of course, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as perfectly executing a pass after laps of careful preparation.

It’s also nice to have quite so many different game modes to choose from. Other than Braking Point, you’ve got a hefty Career Mode (which you can even play co-op with a friend), loads of multiplayer options (including split-screen), the impressively deep My Team (where you can create your own F1 team from scratch and even choose from some classic drivers), and plenty of quick little solo things to kill time with (of course, there are time trials aplenty).

That being said, despite the considerable amount of content in the game, it does feel like a few little corners have been cut behind the scenes. For example, in Braking Point, you can tell the cut-scenes have been edited in such a way that you often can’t see your character’s face when they’re speaking.

Presumably, this saved Codemasters from having to render too many different versions of conversations. Although Braking Point does give you dialogue choices, this editing decision and the general flow of the story does make it feel – at points – like your choices don’t actually do much to influence where the story is headed.

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Overtaking an opponent in F1 2021 is so satisfying.
Overtaking an opponent in F1 2021 is so satisfying. EA/Codemasters

We also would’ve liked a little bit more tutorial content at the start – after all, a lot of new F1 fans were made during 2020, so there will probably be plenty of franchise newcomers picking this game up.

Newcomers might need to work out how to get good without much help, basically. And meanwhile, returning players might notice a few things that are missing – for example, there aren’t any classic cars in the game this time around, which means the much-loved Classic game mode has been stripped out as well.

Thankfully, there are some treats in store for seasoned veterans of the franchise. The Expert race style, for example, allows you to limit the assists on offer and increase the challenge factor (you can increase damage and collisions, and make low fuel mode harder), which will be very welcome for anyone who was starting to find this franchise a little too forgiving.

With Braking Point adding a whole new kind of fun to the franchise, and Expert upping the ante in terms of difficulty, it feels like F1 2021 has something for everyone. It really does feel great to play, and the graphics are often stunning, so we’d say it’s a game worthy of a spot on the podium… even if it did cut a few corners to get there.

F1 2021 launches 16th July 2021 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. We reviewed the PC version.

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