F1 23 Review – A Formulaic Win

    Title: F1 23
    Developer: Codemasters
    Release Date: June 16, 2023
    Reviewed On: PS5
    Publisher: Electronic Arts
    Genre: Racing Simulator

It’s hard for iterative sports games to stand out nowadays, especially given their lazy naming scheme of just appending the year to the back of the series. Don’t be fooled by the generic title of Codemasters’ F1 23 because it’s probably the most comprehensive and realistic Formula 1 racing experience there is. Not only have the developers included the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Braking Point story mode, which was actually absent in F1 22, but it also improves on many of the physics and handling of the vehicles without compromising on actual content.

F1 23 takes a big leap forward when it comes to the actual driving experience compared to its predecessor. The newly introduced Precision Drive technology allows for way better handling of the vehicles that make driving feel realistic and responsive. It’s a racing game, after all, so there is an emphasis put on maneuvering your car with precision in terms of braking and accelerating. Every vehicle can be fine-tuned and tweaked from the engine down to the chassis, so there’s no shortage of customization. The AI has also seen improvements, with computer-controlled opponents packing a punch when it comes to races. That being said, there may not be enough new innovation for returning players of the series to justify a $70 purchase.

In terms of content, F1 23 offers an extensive range of game modes. Whether you prefer a dramatic narrative campaign, quick and casual races, local split-screen co-op, or career mode, there is something for everyone. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many changes between last year’s career mode and this one, but there is an expanded roster of drivers to choose from, and the new Las Vegas and Qatar circuits are a welcome addition too. For those unfamiliar, career mode lets you join an existing F1 team or build an entirely new one from scratch. It walks you through many team management mechanics that have you experience something different from just being behind the wheel of a car. You’ll have to manage sponsors, hire drivers, and qualify for races. The inclusion of online leagues and ranking provides opportunities for competitive play and allows racers to showcase their skills on a global stage.

f1 1

The single-player campaign is probably what most players would jump into first, as it’s a follow-up of Braking Point from F1 21. It continues the story of Aiden Jackson and his team in the 2023 Formula 1 season. You’ll participate in thrilling races against rivals, sit down in interview sessions, and make occasional important team decisions. It was a nice touch seeing news outlets and social media reacting to decisions made by me in-game. However, at the end of the day, none of it really matters that much, considering the story is already predetermined. The interactions with your team and rival drivers further enhance the immersion, making you feel like a part of the Formula 1 world. Having Braking Point 2 take on a more high-budget cinematic approach was a pleasant change of pace compared to other generic racing simulator experiences.

The big seller for this year’s iteration of the game is definitely F1 World, which acts as an all-in-one hub for all your driving needs and an overall extension of F1 Life. As a quick refresher, F1 Life was a social hub where you got to personalize your driver in new clothes and accessories, buy new furniture for your home, and show off your collection of supercars and trophies. F1 World seeks to combine the life sim elements with many different modes, including Grand Prix, time trials, and competitive multiplayer, into one single mode. Every race earns you experience points and components that you can then use to customize and upgrade your vehicles. This is also where you get an online ranking, similar to League of Legends, such as bronze, silver, and gold, that denotes your overall skill level. It’s nice to see that the game supports cross-platform play so PC, PlayStation, and Xbox players can enjoy the thrills of Formula 1 together.

F1 23

Visually, F1 23 is a spectacle to behold. The title truly shines on next-gen consoles, given the exceptional attention to detail in the car models, circuits, and surrounding environments. The audio design is just as immersive, with the roar of the engines and the screeching of tires capturing the essence of Formula 1. The added commentary and radio chatter, along with the excellent voice-acted characters, truly enhance the authenticity of being a part of the racing community. Performance on the PlayStation 5 is flawless, running at a solid 60 frames per second, and the adaptive features utilized on the DualSense controller make the experience that much better.

F1 23 not being implemented for PS VR2 feels like an immense missed opportunity, especially when a VR mode is available for PC Steam players. As with any other EA-published game, this one is filled to the brim with microtransactions. Thankfully there are no pay-to-win mechanics as the money shop mostly contains cosmetics and experience boosts, whereas cars and upgrades must be unlocked through actual gameplay. The game employs both a free and premium battle pass system known as Podium Pass, which rewards players for playing the game consistently. It’s also great to see Codemasters implement many accessibility options here, such as driving assist features, subtitles, colorblind mode, and text-to-voice. But the inability to toggle subtitle size makes some of them very hard to see on screen.

F1 23

There’s no doubt that the F1 series feels like a yearly iterative experience, but Codemasters has done an outstanding job with F1 23 because it improves upon last year’s title in almost every way. The increased accessibility options, enhanced driving mechanics, and welcome return of the Braking Point story mode are all steps in the right direction for the Formula 1 gaming community.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.