F1 23 Review
F1 23 is veteran racing developer’s, Codemasters, fourth take on F1 Racing. It is by far their most ambitious entry. They expand on the groundwork laid in their three previous F1 entries to create an offering aimed at the broadest range of players possible.
To capture the interest of those interested in a narrative-driven experience, there is the return of the story mode, Braking Point 2. This is a continuation of the 2021 story about a fictional F1 racing team. It centers on the Jackson family, including the owner-father, the son-driver – Aiden Jackson, and an estranged daughter, Kelly Mayer, an F2 driver.
The tensions between them, their manager, the crew, teammates, and rival teams make for a compelling story. The character animations and movements are much improved over the first installment. Only the uncanny valley dead eyes issue remains.
For F1 newbies, this is an excellent introduction to the ins and outs of F1 racing. You learn how the team works together to tune the car to run at its best. While some scenarios would never happen in an actual race, they do spice things up. There are 17 chapters to the story that are interspersed with racing challenges or full races.
F1 – Geared for Rookies & Veterans
We find the more traditional sim mode in F1 World. From here are options to enter solo and multiplayer modes. All the standard fare is here: daily, weekly, and seasonal content. The goal of this hub is to tailor the game to the players’ wishes. You can enter the World Championship or tune your craft by taking part in Time Trials, Grand Prix Events, or Multiplayer.
Within a specific race, you have flexibility in how to set up and run races. If you make a mistake, there is a rewind option called Red Flag. In the pit, you can rethink your race strategy, i.e. if there is rain, which tire compounds to use, and how much fuel to use or refuel with. If you don’t have time or inclination for a full race, there is a 35% race distance option.
Driving deeper into the menus, you can also partake in activities that allow you take increase your driving rating and your technical skills. There is also a Series event that is a GT 7 Cafe Menu equivalent. Here you can run through races that will award you with car upgrades.
To improve the online racing experience, Codemasters has implemented a driver rating system. The intent of this is to match you with drivers of similar skill level as your race skills improve. This is a quality of life improvement that should weed out less than serious players. There is also support for Cross-platform MP.
If you prefer head-to-head racing, a split screen mode is available. Another extras this year are Podium Pas which allow for customization. There are 50 levels that allow you to customize your team colors, logos, and car liveries.
Of course, as with all sport franchises, a new year means keeping the game current with the latest changes and upgrades. In F1 23 there are two tracks: Las Vegas and Qatar’s – Losail International Circuit. These new tracks, along with the existing ones, are created in painstaking detail. They have also updated the Spain and Austria tracks to the new layouts.
The game includes all official cars and drivers for the 2023 Championship. Plus, to support the Braking Point 2 storyline, there is also a Formula 2 mode. This mode includes short, medium, and full season options for 2022 and 2023 content.
In keeping with the game goal of providing the player with more options, the tuning aspects are expanded. Players have more granularity over the range to which they adjust such things as the aerodynamics of the car. This affords the player greater flexibility to tune the car to their particular driving style.
Turning to the most important aspect of any racing sim is the driving. F1 23 is more forgiving than F1 22. There is less worry when pushing a car to the edge. F1 22 cars were more skittish, and bringing the car back was nigh impossible. In F1 23, it is possible to regain control of the car when it slides. This change makes racing in F1 23 more fun because you no longer have to drive tentatively and be on the edge more.
Further to the fun factor for racing in F1 23 are the improved controls. Not only for those with wheels, but for gamepad drivers too. Codemasters are touting improved controller handling with improved coding they call Precision Drive. It allows for greater control and precision. It improves race handling for all controllers, but is particularity noticeable for the Dual Sense. Beyond the control aspects of the car, the Dual Sense always deftly conveys track and curb detail.
Looking and Playing Good
On the shiny side of things, they render the graphics with a new color encoding system. This is to bring the visuals in line with TV broadcasts. Also upgraded is the lighting system to make the visuals more dynamic and lifelike. Detail wise, things look pretty much the same as they did in the previous version.
Of special note is one very welcome graphic setting. You have a choice between a Quality versus Performance mode. You can choose between 60 or 120 frames per second, if your TV or monitor supports it. It is excellent that the player can decide whether to trade off lowered graphical quality for higher frame rates. Besides first-person shooters, racers definitely benefit from having the lowest input lag possible.
If you play the game on PC, there is also a VR mode for that added immersion. Sadly, there is no PSVR 2 mode. Hopefully, this will be something added in subsequent editions.
F1 23 covers a lot of bases. The 2023 version offers a variety of ways to play the game depending on your skill level and preferences. It is a good iteration for newcomers to jump into and the greater depth of options will satisfy the needs of veterans.
*** PS5 code provided by the publisher ***
- More accessible to new players
- Improved Controller Handling
- Varied and deep gameplay options
- No VR Mode for PS5
- Character models still have zombie eyes