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F1 2021 review | PC Gamer


Need to know

What is it? The official video game of the 2021 Formula One World Championship.
Expect to pay $60/£50
Developer Codemasters
Publisher EA
Reviewed on Core i7, Geforce RTX 2070, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer? Two players offline, up to 22 players online
Link Official site

Short of fielding phone calls from your mum, it’s hard to imagine what could have made last year’s F1 2020 any more comprehensive. So F1 2021 has literally added phone calls from your mum. It’s all part of the six-hour-long story mode, which sees you playing as two drivers from one of the lower F1 teams, struggling with a tricky teammate rivalry and the ever-present menace of Devon Butler, a fictional driver you may remember from the brief story section of F1 2019. Refresher: he’s a git, and you’ll want to beat him.

But that’s exactly why this mode was needed. Rivalry systems have always added spice to racing games, and the difference some personality makes is amazing. You may well have made up enough positions to continue the story, but when Butler is only 2.3 seconds up the road, motivation to go faster is compelling.

The acting in the CG cut-scenes is actually pretty decent, especially when it comes to the older of the two team-mates. And while the story beats are completely predictable and the drama is rather hammy, the game is richer for its inclusion. It’s also reasonably reactive to your actions, too, with the fictional social network noticing when you win or beat a rival, which goes some way to making the universe more believable. It is challenging, though, and even the second of the three difficulty levels will be plenty hard enough for most, though it makes for some exhilarating and exhausting racing as you concentrate and drive your soul out for some 11 laps at a time.

(Image credit: EA)

Besides the story mode, My Team returns, allowing you to start a new F1 team from scratch, choose your livery and sponsors and set up your R&D department to focus on the areas you think will benefit you the most. And while classic cars have been removed from this year’s game, classic drivers like Senna, Prost, Nico Rosberg and David Coulthard are available to race for your team if you choose to enable them—and can afford the fee. Nice touch.

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