F1 2021 bet big on a story mode you prefer to watch on Netflix
A while ago in Braking Point, the new story mode of F1 2021, where protagonist and rookie Aiden Jackson addresses the press after colliding with teammate Casper Akkerman on the penultimate corner of the Australian Grand Prix. Aiden and Casper are essentially squeezed together by Devon Butler’s dive inside the narrowest corner of Albert Park; Devon is the unequivocal heel of Braking Point and is on a mission to drive a wedge between the two teammates, whether on the track or in the paddock, in the smartest way possible.
As Aiden prepares to answer a reporter’s questions, he’s concerned to notice who but Devon, also speaking with the press not too far away. And Aiden hears every word Devon says, as his rival talks uninvitedly not of his own performance, but of the fact that Aiden isn’t ready for Formula 1, and Casper must be wondering what his team thought when signing the rookie.
Journalist asks Devon if he has ‘advice’ for Aiden. It’s very cliché, the way the worlds of these three characters revolve around each other, the irrational level of emotional investment they have in each other.. They are in their own little hyperpersonal bubble, as if all the rest of the grid doesn’t exist. It’s less F1, more WWE.
More precisely, it is the dream scenario that Drive to survive producers will probably go to bed wishing every night. Got the old vet bickering with the young hotshot, their rivalry fed by the straight haired asshole running for a competitor, pulling the strings.
I’m not going to blame the Codemasters developer too much for writing an extremely predictable sports narrative with core characters. I’m sure the studio is very limited in how the leadership of F1 will allow them to represent the series. It becomes immediately clear once you notice the lack of other F1 personalities that appear in the cutscenes (apart from two admittedly funny cameos at the end) and the fact that Jackson and Akkerman do not report to any director. real team, but a “liaison officer” who behaves like a replacement for Zak Brown, if Zak Brown was British.
I don’t even mind that Braking Point is particularly short— I got over it all in about six hours. For me, the real meat and potatoes of the F1 video game franchise have always been the expansive career and My Squad modes, along with the wealth of online multiplayer, esports, and league gaming options. These are still there and still just as reliable. Braking Point is a fun little escape from it all.
The problem with F1 2021 is that the fun little escape has obviously occupied most of the team’s attention during this development cycle, and Braking Point doesn’t have any compelling appeal – whether we’re talking in terms of challenge, gameplay, or story – to show it. Functionally, the mode immerses you in storylines, sometimes halfway through and other times from start to finish, and the events themselves are interrupted by a combination of in-engine and computer-generated cutscenes to advance the plot.
it is these most disappointing scenarios. They are pretty ordinary and play out in a predictable way: orders like “catch up with your teammate”, “pass Devon” or “finish in the points”. There is very little element of surprise to what happens on the track, and the real game-changing moments – like collisions, orders based on radio team politics and untimely punctures – it all happens in cutscenes. It would have been more immersive to hit players in these dramatic circumstances while driving the car, although I suspect that would have introduced barriers to programming and narrative logic as well.
Ultimately, the goal presented to you is what you are meant to achieve and will achieve in each case. While playing at Braking Point I remembered a very old and not particularly great racing game from 2003 called R: Evolution of the race. There was also a narrative component, albeit in a sillier way. But I will never forget a race in the game’s campaign where you, the player, are ordered to start a race on the last lap. A satisfying explanation of why is never given, but at that point – driving, trying to bring home the best result and suddenly being told that you have to deliberately lose to satisfy a well-dressed, glasses-wearing financier. sun tempting his fingers between sips of whiskey – is extremely powerful. Nothing so unexpected ever happens at Braking Point, and it seems like a missed opportunity to me.
It also makes F1 2021 the first entry in this otherwise very consistent annualized series that made me want more. Because most of the development effort has been spent on Braking Point, the rest of the game has remained largely unchanged. (Or, if we’re talking about the classic car list, deleted.)
There are a few others changes. My team’s R&D tree has been graphically reorganized to be a little less overwhelming, and you now have the option to embark on a seasonal career with a friend online, in multiplayer mode. The latter is a neat addition, I imagine it would have been lovely to have while being isolated at home last summer.
Otherwise it’s F1 as you know it, potentially prettier and loading in the blink of an eye if you get the chance to play it on new hardware. I tested the PlayStation 5 version, and it really looks and works fine. Frame rate never flickers from a locked 60 fps. There is an amazing level of detail, especially at great distances, where you can see every tree draped over the hills overlooking the Red Bull Ring, every umbrella in the stands when it starts to rain. The only performance issues I encountered were rampant screen tears and stuttering during cutscenes in Braking Point’s engine and ‘Meet The Press’ interviews, although these can hopefully be. resolved fairly easily in a post-release update. The replays are also quite choppy.
(Speaking of which, yell at Will Buxton, who appears in a number of narrative scenes and delivers performances easily comparable to those voiced by the fictional characters here. The dude has a future in voice acting if he decides to hang up on it. motorsport journal thing.)
Finally, I will salute the way F1 2021 approaches the adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller, modulating the resistance of the throttle and brake “Pedals” based on wheel slip and general vehicle behavior. I think there are more tweaks to be made in this regard, as sometimes I wasn’t sure why the triggers were stiffening or slacking, but nonetheless this is a decent first attempt at using one of the more common features. most innovative of the PS5 pad.
F1 2021 looks like a year of rebuilding. Rebuild to what, I’m not quite sure yet. This is the franchise’s first release under the EA Sports label, but its development was well advanced by the time Codies was acquired by the publisher. Next year we may see a version of Madden and FIFA Ultimate Team to enjoy the F1 crowd. But above all, I only hope that if this series attempts a racing story again, or continues the one started in Braking Point, it reaches out to gamers and fans with a little more imagination.