Archives by Day

April 2024

F1 23

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Codemasters
Release Date: June 16, 2023

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PC Review - 'F1 23'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on July 4, 2023 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Headlined with the return of the epic story mode Braking Point, F1 23 is home to every team, driver and circuit for the 2023 season, including the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix and Lusail International Circuit, Qatar.

It must be difficult to come up with fresh ideas for an annual title, especially one based on a form of motorsport that doesn't see monumental changes at such a pace. F1 23 has a lot of commonalities with last year's title, with elements like the career mode and the overall interface seeing minor tweaks. The larger changes are in the significant updates to the car physics and with the massive improvements to the game's playability using a controller. The new game's Breaking Point mode is both a continuation of the story and an upgrade from the same mode from last year's game, and it's a much more compelling feature this time around.

As I noted in my preview of a pre-release version of the game, the handling in the game feels significantly improved. Prior to release, the developers touted refined handling and physics as some of the main features of the game. In their words, they incorporated "actual F1 team feedback" to improve the handling for both wheel and pad players. They noted that the new physics give the cars more predictable behavior under braking, cornering, and acceleration, and the cars have a more realistic feel with improved balance between aero and grip.

What I'll tell you is I've never been able to modulate braking forces and get a feel for the grip using just a controller as I have with F1 23. They really weren't kidding with the more predictable behavior, either; I was able to quickly get a feel for the car and put down some consistent lap times without having to worry about car setup changes. With the controller in the past games, I had to either run one of the higher grip setups or roll my own custom setup to make that control method viable.

There is also the "Precision Drive" feature, which is a purported controller tech rewrite to enable more "control, precision, and finesse" for controller users. I really love the experience of using a wheel to play racing games, but I'm also a lazy person. In the past, using a controller felt like using a compromise in trading quality for convenience, and while I still think it's a more enjoyable way to play the game, these improvements in F1 23 make using a controller an incredibly viable option that doesn't feel limiting. I am certain that to truly drive on the limit, a proper wheel and pedal setup is going to be your best option, but I am just as certain that using a controller is nowhere near as limiting as it has been in the series' past.

F1 23 also continues with the "Braking Point" feature, itself a narrative-driven story mode that continues from where the plot of F1 2022 left off. Aiden Jackson is still the protagonist of the story, which takes place during a fictional version of the 2022 Formula 1 season in with both he and his rival Devon Butler race for Konnersport Racing. Konnersport is a fictional 11th team on the grid, with Devon's father Davidoff Butler being one of the significant financial backers for the up-and-coming team. Obviously, the situation is ripe for some dramatics between the two drivers, who clearly still have an active rivalry that is bound to spill over, especially with team leadership changes and other dramatics as they exit the 2022 season and embark into their 2023 campaign.

Braking Point continues to have interviews with the various characters, and it is even more apparent of what the influence has been from Netflix's "Drive to Survive." The last outing felt a little contrived in that regard, but so far in F1 23, they seem to have struck a solid balance between "this is a linear plot that we are telling" and "this still needs to be a racing game where the player has some agency." You can gain or lose "Performance" and "Reputation" metrics depending on how you race and how many objectives you complete, which can influence what choices you can make in press conferences and in dealing with team conflicts.

More importantly, it feels like Breaking Point has more room to breathe this time around. You don't just play as Aiden during the racing gameplay portions but also as Devon and as Callie Mayer, who is an up-and-coming star out of Formula 2. The racing segments are also longer and give you more time to complete the required and optional objectives. Last year, it often felt rushed, and you had three laps to complete the only objective. Now you'll have more laps and will be vying for things like at least a podium finish but optionally a race win. Do the latter, and you gain more Performance and Reputation metrics, which benefit you for choices down the road.

F1 World sounds like exactly the kind of mode I'd completely ignore, except it's oddly compelling. It's a hub that, while it still has the goofy trappings from last year of allowing you to decorate your house and pick your casual wear, also ties together a whole lot of racing gameplay. After some introductory series, you unlock a suite of solo and multiplayer options, all of which use your own car and driver. As you complete events, you unlock new parts for the car, earn cash, and gain other resources that allow you to meaningfully improve the car and increase its performance rating. Events show which rating is recommended to complete them, so it becomes a fun loop of going through various races and smaller series. It's sort of a free-form career mode that's more simplified and consolidates your progress, whether you're racing against AI or against other players.

I used to play the previous games for the career mode and dabbled in Breaking Point to change things up. Now, I increasingly find myself firing up the game to play F1 World while my poor Mitera Motorsport career team is left waiting around. F1 World provides a lot of the structure and progression that is usually served by the career mode, but this feels more bite-sized. Sure, you can pour hours into the mode and complete multiple series in one sitting, but you can also spend 30 minutes to knock out a stage or two and go about your day. All the while, you're earning Podium Points for your overall profile and more parts and resources to improve your F1 World car.

The career mode is effectively unchanged when compared to last year's title, with an obvious exception being the improved physics, etc. The same goes for the other modes, such as the quick play options and things like the odd supercar events in career mode (seriously, cars really don't feel that boat-like on the track). The VR support is still present in F1 23, but to its credit, it also feels somewhat improved. Using an Oculus Rift S, I was both thrilled to rip through the Saudi Arabia circuit and left with a newfound appreciation for the pilots who fly through that course in full speed in reality. I'm of the opinion that using VR brings more benefits to racing games than even a wheel and pedals, and it remains cool to be able to play through all the modes of F1 23 in VR, should you choose.

For fans of the F1 series, this all comes down to one question, and it's the same one asked last year: Is it worth picking up F1 23 if you already have last year's title? In my opinion, the F1 World mode and the improved vehicle physics are noteworthy upgrades and feel more than what could realistically have been DLC or a patch for the previous title. The improvements for controller users are especially noticeable, and I suspect that most people playing F1 23 are indeed using that control scheme. When you combine all of that and consider the continuation and improvements made to Breaking Point, it's pretty easy to recommend picking up F1 23.

Score: 9.0/10

Reviewed on: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB RAM, NVidia RTX 4070 Ti, Xbox One Controller, Thrustmaster TMX Pro, Spectre Carbon 2.0 Racing Cockpit, Oculus Rift S

More articles about F1 23
blog comments powered by Disqus