F1 23 Review
It’s that time of the year again when the paddocks are filled with the buzz of mechanics and the roar of mighty V6 engines. F1 23 makes its way to the starting grid once again as the annual iteration for the series, but this time, the game is bringing with it some much-needed backup in the form of Braking Point 2.
Strangely missing from F1 22, the story mode is back this year to bring some drama a la Netflix’s Drive to Survive, and is a surefire way to bring back fans to the fold. Paired with handling performance improvements along with overall tweaks to the formula, F1 23 is poised for a podium finish this year.
Ok, so… F1 23’s Braking Point 2. If you’ve read any of my reviews of any sports games like NBA 2K and MLB The Show, you’ll know that I love story modes in sports titles. It might not be the most replayable mode, but it really just adds something that more casual enjoyers such as myself can get into while trying to learn the ins and outs of the sport. Despite the possibly cheesy storyline and horrible writing, the story mode in sports games is cool, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
In F1 23, Braking Point is that story mode and continues the story of Aiden Jackson and Devon Butler from F1 21, but this time under the roof of team Konnersport Butler Racing Team. Once rivals, they find themselves under the same banner and must navigate through the season, the drama, and the introduction of F2 Champion Callie Mayer.
Over the course of a number of races, you’ll run through a predictable story with decisions that can mildly affect progress and challenges that you’ll need to overcome such as regaining X amount of spots before a certain lap. There’s even a challenge that will ask you to finish ahead of certain drivers as a result of a conversation choice that you made during a prior press conference. Players will discover a nice variety of challenges that will keep each level fresh.
Again, all very predictable, especially if you’ve played the first Braking Point. Even then, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, and the fairly good voice acting and performances are also improved from before even though the story is still undercooked. It’s become my favorite story mode in this year’s sports games, and it’s entertaining enough to give the whole thing a playthrough.
One other mode that arcade-inclined players will find in F1 23 is F1 World. What could be considered as the replacement to the snoozefest referred to as F1 Life from F1 22, F1 World allows players to race for experience points and upgrades that get better over time, improving their performance on the track, and eventually making their way to tougher races that will give quite the challenge. If arcade-style isn’t your thing, then head on over to career mode, which remains mostly the same as last year.
Coming from the paltry selection from last year and a shoddy F1 Life mode, the return of Braking Point 2 and the introduction of F1 World suddenly make F1 23 stuffed to the brim with features that both sim and arcade racers can enjoy. There’s a lot to cover, and especially if you’re an F1 fan, this latest installment is very meaty as it also comes with the Las Vegas track as well.
All of this of tied up beautifully by superb controls and an overall feel of speed that’s captured well by the game. Controls are responsive and I felt much more at home using a controller (I did not get to try a steering wheel), getting the cars to grip the track when needed, with turning being much easier this time around compared to last year. With the wealth of options and sliders, players can choose just how realistic they will want these cars to handle.
Playing on a 3070 Ti-equipped laptop, performance was not an issue at all with F1 23. Frame rates were solid and the visuals looked slick as can be, especially during night races like on the Las Vegas track.
What we liked:
- Slick visuals and solid performance
- Responsive handling
- Return of Braking Point and addition of F1 World
What we didn’t like:
- Career mode largely unchanged.
- No groundbreaking changes or innovative features
Verdict: Buy it!
F1 23 is a great title for what it aims to do. The game is fast, chock-full of features, and fulfills the need for a competent and polished driving sim. With the return of Braking Point along with the all-new F1 World, racing fans can expect a good time with the game.
That said, sports games are some of the most challenging titles to iterate on a yearly basis. F1 23 has a solid foundation that mostly relegates the gameplay to tweaks and feedback, making it seem unimproved. This could not be further from the truth, as the game brings back some fan-favorite features that make it more than just a pit stop.
*F1 23 was reviewed on a PC with a review code provided by the publisher.