F1 23 Review – Half Tenths Improvements

Driving towards the edge, gaining time all the way as you keep your car in control over the final corner, hoping it doesn’t spin is how you would expect driving an F1 car should be. 

With the 2nd year under the EA banner for the F1 games so far, the fatigue looks to be setting in for the fans, but Codemasters have pulled it off for this one, in part due to the return of Breaking Point and making the driving feel alive again, amongst many changes that might make or break a player’s choice in buying this year’s edition.

So now, we go racing into F1 23 with some caution. 

Presentation

Breaking Point returns and once again, it brings back the pretty good cast of Aiden Jackson, Devin Butler, and newcomer Callie Mayer amongst the challenges that are set within the games, from some F2 races and even a Last to First Challenge in one of the chapters.

The cutscenes follow some ques from Netflix’s Drive to Survive (something Codies also did in Grid Legends) and have pretty good story beats as well. All in all, another good showing.

What isn’t good is the new menus, where they have FIFA-fied the menu style by putting most of the stuff within two menus and even mixing it with Multiplayer components, something that I feel is counter-intuitive, where selecting Time Trial, for example, is now moving around the F1 World menu and is almost at the end. It feels cluttered and is also a thing that old FIFA suffers as well.

Graphic and audio-wise, it has some good and bad within its package. The audio and new UI elements look well in place with how the broadcast is on actual F1 but the graphics on PC (during the pre-release phase anyway) feels blurry at times and even though I had the minimum recommended specs, there are some big slowdowns during this version during night races, halving my frames at a time. 

But since 1.0, there are some improvements that make it more stable but still the exact issues are there. Quite a weird thing regardless and would be bad if this was the first impression.

Gameplay

As mentioned in our preview, one of the neat additions for this year’s game is the tweaking of the handling that makes the cars feel tons better than the previous two years, with their Precision Drive™ system making the cars feel as nimble as they should be instead of draggy like Daniel Ricciardo’s car last season. 

It enhances the driving to the point that I wouldn’t mind doing lap after lap in Time Trial or even doing a bit of racing with the AI, who now will do side-by-side well on any track. It does make up its foibles from last year and makes a pretty good impact at the start of any racing, be it casual or even serious.

The addition of Red Flags is a plus, returning after almost a decade away but in career mode, you rarely get to see it due to the AI retiring at a safer position but its inclusion in Multiplayer might spice up the racing more, as the pros and content creators found out. As is their new 35% race distance too, a good change for those who wouldn’t want to spend hours in a race weekend.

Now F1 World. It’s a combination of a few factors rolled into one. You can see a bit of GRID, Dirt Rally, and even FIFA in this mode. An online experience that sees you build up your car and team to be competing with other players or tougher AI is nothing new in the sports genre, but it feels weird seeing it in F1.

You complete goals to earn parts and team members (like Fifa Ultimate Team does) but I do like how snappy a race could be, just a few clicks and you’re racing. Granted, previous F1 games have their eSports tab as well, but this does tie it up rather well, with them mostly within the Solo/Multiplayer Events category, but its menuing does need more tweaks. 

It’s a mixed feeling for me as of now because while I get that this is for the casual experience, F1 World feels both in and out of place at the same time, the verdict is still up if this is a good or bad addition to the F1 series. 

Content

Besides the addition of Breaking Point 2, it’s another case of the “same old, same old”. Career mode doesn’t get a big refresh (and previous owners of F1 22 can also race as Audi in this mode) and multiplayer, with crossplay now in full force, feels more stable than in previous years. 

I guess since F1 World looks to be pivoting towards a Live Service model, then there won’t be any more issues of content drought for at least until the Summer Break either. All in all, a solid package.

Personal Enjoyment

It has to be said, that this year’s version has the potential to be quite a good one considering what they have given us so far but there are still more trivial issues that kinda make this edition of the game quite an odd one to review.

The game has its high points with the handling and all, but this new addition of a Live Service model feels weird, not to mention shuffling all of its legacy content into that same menu has the same feeling as having a clean desktop but opening the one file folder explodes into a mess of unmarked files everywhere.

Really, the FIFA-fication of F1 is now almost complete, and I dunno if that’s a good thing or not.

Verdict

F1 ‘23 is another year that feels like a mixed bag. The kinks have been fixed and patched but the addition of F1 World has made it weird to play for someone who has put hours in this game, along with that graphics issue as well.

Perhaps, the wisest choice is to wait for the year-end sale or even use EA Play Game Trials to try out this new F1 game.

Played on PC, Review Copy provided by EA.

7.5

F1 23

Another year that feels like a mixed bag. The kinks have been fixed and patched but the addition of F1 World has made it weird to play.

  • Presentation 8
  • Gameplay 7.5
  • Content 7
  • Personal Enjoyment 7.5

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