I called EA’s 20233 F1 22 the best F1 sports simulation racer I’ve seen, and F1 23 builds on that excellent foundation. Let’s talk about what’s changed and what has stayed the same in our F1 23 review.
Game Name: F1 23 Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), PC Publisher(s): EA
Release Date: 16th June 2023
A Strong Foundation
F1 23 starts from the incredibly strong foundation set by last year’s entry into the series. Most of the content offered in the game remains the same as what you can find in F1 22, along with a few upgrades and returning modes:
Career Mode – Allows you to join an existing team as a driver or create your own team. This mode can be played Solo or with a friend, just as it has been for the last few games.
Split Screen – Local Multiplayer
An evolution of last year’s F1 Life, the mode essentially acts as an RPG team and car-building career mode of sorts. Offering daily and weekly challenges to complete while competing against AI or other people in online play. Completing challenges allows you to unlock new car parts and team members, each coming with gameplay-effecting buffs and different rarity levels.
Returning To The Braking Point
This year does see the return of F1’s Braking Point story mode, which was first seen in F1 21 after taking last year off, Codemasters decided to bring it back. I, for one, am so glad they did; this mode is where I spent the majority of my time.
Braking Point 2, as this one is called, is a direct sequel to the story of Braking Point 1 from F1 21. You’ll start off the story as Aiden Jackson, who has joined a brand new F1 team along with long-time rival and new teammate Devon Butler. What plays out is a tale of relationships, family, and competition! Braking Point is split into chapters, some of which you play as Aiden and some you don’t. The story is largely told through these great-looking cutscenes, but the on-track gameplay is just as important. In each chapter, you will get an objective, sometimes multiple, and sometimes these objectives will trigger mid-race cinematic scenes. It somewhat felt like watching and playing through a documentary at the same time. When the story finished, I immediately wanted more, so here’s hoping that the mode doesn’t go on another hiatus!
Handling The Pressure
F1 23’s gameplay at its core is the same as F1 22, which is excellent. There is, however, one significant change that makes a huge difference. Handling has been drastically improved this year, leading to cars reacting more realistically than ever to every small turn or bump on the track. Which in turn makes each lap on every track feel more unique than ever before.
You can use a steering wheel, but I always like to use a traditional controller. I must say that the improving handling makes playing on a controller more enjoyable than ever, as every small movement just feels more accurate to my inputs than ever before. Ultimately this small change results in what is a more enjoyable, more realistic, and more dynamic game than F1 22.
Thankfully these changes to the feel of the on-track experience haven’t had a negative impact on the options to customize the experience you want. Just as with last year, F1 23 is one of the most accessible simulation racers out there. Just through the ability to make the experience as arcade-like or as simulation-based as you want, I didn’t notice much in the way of new options, but I am sure that many players will be happy to see a Tinnitus Relief Filter option right on the initial set up. This option was previously available in the series but wasn’t in last year.
Of course, more bespoke accessibility options would be welcome, but the core user experience being so customizable goes a long way!
Presentation and Performance
F1 23 is a beautiful game, and it’s rare to see a game that looks this good from so many different camera angles. Most impressive, though, were the cinematic scenes in the breaking point mode. I would go as far as to say as these are amongst the best we’ve seen in a sports title of any kind.
The audio in the game is fantastic, especially while playing with a headset on Xbox, as the game supports Dolby Atmos, and the tires’ contact with different surfaces, in particular, really stood out.
As for performance, I played on Xbox Series X with a VRR-supporting display which resulted in zero noticeable frame drops. Playing on quality mode, which felt smooth enough that I never even tried the performance mode. Of course, your experience may vary depending on your hardware setup. Unfortunately, I did encounter one reoccurring bug which had a gameplay impact. During some races, my pit crew would say I had damaged my car when I could see clearly that I hadn’t, but the game seemed to think I had to affect my ability to drive and meaning I had to pit. This happened multiple times, but not in every race.
F1 23 is another step forward for this already incredible franchise. Sure, lots of the content on offer is the same or tweaked versions of last year’s game. Ultimately, the return of Braking Point gives the game more playability than ever, especially if you’re someone that wants more single-player content. F1 World is a good foundation for a mode that looks like it might become F1’s spin on an Ultimate Team mode. I’m just concerned that it will bring more micro-transactions than just the cosmetic ones we’ve had in the franchise so far.
The handling changes lead to a better, more realistic on-track experience than ever before; outside of this, the gameplay hasn’t changed much, but that is a great thing since the foundation laid out by F1 22’s gameplay was so strong.
Review Disclosure Statement: A copy of F1 23 was provided to us for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
F1 23 Review - A Small But Significant Step Up
F1 23 is another step forward for this already incredible franchise with the return of Braking Point and the improved handling this replaces F1 22 as the best video game representation of the sport it is simulating. A must play for any F1 fans and players.