I ended up buying this off a mate (well, his boys that played it to death last week during the first week of school holiday, and then didn't feel a need to keep hold of it as they'd "completed it mate!" - so gave them £38 cash for it as it was the line between CEX trade in and cash values)
First of all, no crashes on the PS5 so far, played a few hours on different modes here and there, so maybe the new patch fixed some of that. The most next gen feature here is the loading times, again a revelation in terms of experience. The presentation and options appear slick, although the "XP-Level up things" seem a bit limp to be honest, I'm not sure where pitcoins fit in either and why on earth I'd want or need them. It doesn't at this stage feel like a barrier to anything.
Overall the driving experience is good, and the AI so far seem great. There is an entire menu of online options that don't appear to unlock until Autumn of this year though, not sure why they are waiting for so long during the lifecycle of the game that will only last 12 months before the inevitable 2022 version. Online racing on any driving game doesn't appeal to me at all, so there is one sole mode where you can race a lap-time challenge thing, but it needs more modes like this that probably won't materialise.
Graphically its fine for me, but I'm a bog standard 1080p screen person, so can't possibly comment on the next-geness of it overall. Not had the sound bug yet, but I've only started playing this from patch v1.04
The complexity of the game though is never explained, a lot of options to the driving that aren't conveyed at all. The weirdest thing then about this game is "Breaking Point" - the story mode. It's not a beginners guide at all, it is more like a couple of episodes of Hollyoaks (yes it's that bad) stitched together, that assume you know what its about and know what you are doing. The cast seems to be made up of people that might actually exist in real life, versus the main protagonist that looks like a randomly generated video game character that moves and talks like one.
The story part is not that obtrusive at all, the cutscenes are thankfully fairly light and brief, but if you are looking to this as a softly-softly introduction to racing, it isn't, at all. It throws you straight behind the wheel of a car on several occasions without any kind of warning. The objective here is just get on with it, you've played this game before, right?
Some races start mid-way into the action, or some at the beginning, but neither do a decent job of explaining the objectives satisfactorily. They are no audible announcements, they are displayed on the the screen - just to the left of the screen, usually a few seconds after you are driving. This is of course ridiculous, you are already at maximum concentration to notice, and I crossed the finish line on one of them thinking I'd done a good job of finishing in the points to find out I'd failed the objective because I needed to beat both McLaren and Renault drivers to the finish. Oh right, well, I have to beat 4 drivers from teams I've never been introduced to, and need to know their driver names? Right, which ones are those again?
Return to my trailer to receive phone calls from my generic video game character's Mum, read my social media feed (do you think Kimi does this too?) and read my emails at a weird perpendicular angle to the screen for some reason, all in a days work for a Codemasters version of how exciting F1 must be if you are in it. Looking forward to buying a place in Monaco so I can live in relative seclusion financially.
If you've never played an F1 game from this series before, starting with the story mode is therefore probably the worst possible option available to you, no matter how they dress it up (if I remember FIFAs story mode at least gave you some training tips!). To start off, just do some Time Trials on your own, learning the controls, tailoring your controller or wheel preferences, and repeating that cycle until you get it right. Once you have a general level of understanding, then the story mode will probably be OK to start.
Bottom line though the driving and racing aspect of this title feels good, and the AI is pretty good as well.