June 1, 2023

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F1 2021 review – old dog, new tricks

The headline news, really, is what hasn’t changed. Having gained momentum over the years until it’s become, for my money, one of the most complete racing game packages around, the most striking thing about this year’s F1 game is that EA Sports logo when you boot it up, Codemasters having sold up to the mega-corporation earlier this year.

Which is, of course, too recent for any real impact on F1 2021 (not that Codemasters needed any help with the more nefarious plans people commonly associate with new overlords EA – the podium pass and various pre-order bonuses of earlier years are present and correct here, and once again are thankfully completely ignorable). Indeed, the moving target of an F1 circus that’s still weaving its way around the pandemic sees three tracks – Imola, Portimao and the all-new street circuit in Jeddah – coming as free post launch DLC. What’s here, then, is familiar stuff.

Then you have to factor in the fact this is a transitional year, both for the sport itself as it introduces the budget cap and braces itself for 2022’s radical new cars, and for the series as it makes its debut on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X. Given all that, it’s remarkable that Codemasters has managed to get the game out while the season remains in balance; even more remarkable still that they’ve done so while adding one of the more enjoyable new features in recent years.

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