HomeNewsF1 23 Review – Drama On & Off the Track

    F1 23 Review – Drama On & Off the Track

    Developed By: Codemasters

    Published By: EA SPORTS

    Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S & PC

    Reviewed On: PlayStation 5

    Review Code Provided By: EA SPORTS

    F1® 23 returns this year with new features and also the return of F1® 21 story mode called The Braking Point. I know developer Codemasters from the numerous rally games, but this is the 1st time I am trying an F1 game and well, what a ride it is I tell you.

    Visually Hit and Miss

    Visibility in rain is rough.

    On the PlayStation 5, the game looks great to play. Sitting in the cockpit of an F1 car with the view through the car’s halo gave me enough immersion into the game. How the car model looks and even the weather effect on the track looks feels amazing. The only thing is that during the race the UI can be a little overwhelming but luckily, the game has an amazing UI editor for those who don’t want to see too much clutter on your screen.

    Hamilton taking a rest while posing.

    Besides the cars and tracks, one thing that is a hit-and-miss is the character models. Real-life drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen or even Fernando Alonso look great. Even the cast of characters in the braking point story has excellent motion capture and facial expressions. This sadly can’t be said for everyone else shown in-game. The avatars given by the game for you feel less define and that becomes even worst when you see the models used for the pit crew and offices. The way they look with their facial expression gives me an uncanny valley vibe. Even the game knows this and hides some of the pit crew with helmets.

    Are those shadows on your face or did you have a tan?

    This makes interactions on the podium finish weird to me as I felt like seeing 2 generations of graphics together with real-life drivers having a higher resolution model while those generic NPC look like something from the PS4 era. One thing that is disappointing is there is no PSVR2 support for the PlayStation 5 version as VR is only available for PC at the time of writing this review.

    Deaf-eningly Good

    One thing excellent is how to game uses audio on your controller. Obviously, you will hear all the tyres screeching and engine revving from your main speaker but what makes me surprise is that output certain sounds like the gear changing and DRS activating from the DualSense Wireless Controller. With the addition of the rumble it makes changing gear quite satisfying if I must say compared to any other racing game I have ever played.

    Besides that, the comms called out are clear with useful details, and post-game commentary is a good addition to the atmosphere. The voice acting in The Braking Point 2 story is good but it is sad that you don’t really hear any of the real-life F1 drivers having a voice role in the game even when they have their faces and models plaster almost everywhere else.

    One setback is voice control has been removed this year as confirmed by the developer because some features that were available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are no longer available to them on the current hardware.

    The Return of The Braking Point 2

    Anything is possible.

    The game has a story mode which puts fictional characters into the F1 season like EA SPORTS does with their other games. The Braking Point 2 is a continuation of the story of Aiden Jackson from F1® 21 with characters like Devon Butler and Casper Akkerman returning as they go through the F1® 2022 and 2023 seasons. The story has more twists and turns than a TV drama with drivers backstabbing each other and an unveiling of the daughter, Callie Mayer from the Butler family who also turns out to be an F2 driver inspiring to enter the F1 scene.

    The story mode feels like a good tutorial for the game in which each race usually consists of you starting in the middle of the race so you do not have to do much pitting. You can select your difficulty which does affect the AI a lot as I was constantly getting 1st with the normal settings but if you change the difficulty to challenging, you will be fighting tooth and nail to get into the top 5. The only thing I feel weird about is how The Braking Point 2 felt like a roller coaster ride because no matter what you do in the story, as long as you complete the missions the story will just go on ignoring whether you get a podium finish or not.

    Pre race drama unfolding here.

    Characters in the story feel feeble because each of them changes motives amazingly fast. This is not helped by how you get the race between three characters, Aiden, Devon & Callie. In one race I was driving Aiden to root for him and when I was driving as Cassie with Aiden being the other driver, he turned into what I felt was an antagonist. It made me hard to like anyone at the end of it all but nonetheless, The Braking Point 2 felt a little entertaining with all that drama.

    Starting Your Career In F1

    If The Braking Point 2 is all the drama, the career mode is all about the hard work needed to be an F1 owner/driver. You can start off your career with a few options either by being a driver or an owner/driver in F1. From there you also can choose your starting point from what season and how much income flow you want to start a team with. Having these options feels tacky at first but it gave me somewhat of a responsibility to shoulder the team because it is my decision.

    Yes pole position

    Once all the team setup is completed, you are thrown into the season with you making upgrades to your car and taking it out for practice laps before the actual race. Here is where you get into the nitty gritty of F1 racing. Getting practice runs done will help you get better performance and more points for upgrades but at the same time, it can feel like a chore. If you just want to get to the action, you can skip all of this and just play the race but be prepared to be challenged by the AI with what might be an under-tuned car.

    Getting In the Driver’s Seat

    Codemasters have been always tuning how the driving experience feels whether it is in a rally or F1 car and this year is no different. Feedback from real-life F1 teams and drivers made a difference as you can really feel the grip in each corner of the track and how the car reacts to tyre wear. Not forgetting that they claim to have improved the controller experience with their new Precision Drive technology. So the question now is how good is the driving experience?

    The calm before the storm.

    Well, it is freaking good I will say. On the controller I felt I had a precise control of every acceleration, turning and braking. During online races, I could easily keep up with other players who I guess are using wheels and is one of the games that I didn’t feel at a disadvantage using a controller. I am sure these improvements are also made for driving wheels and these improvements, if I dare say, made me feel like the game has one of the most enjoyable handling experiences.

    Overwhelmingly Technical

    If the player wants to, the game can get quite technical depending on the difficulty and settings in the game. You can follow the game’s default setting to play it safe or you can customize certain things like your pitting strategy, and your tyre wear. Planning how you want to overtake is also quite stressful as there will be a penalty system and ramming a car or cutting corners can easily land you with a penalty.

    Second last performance wise…

    Off track in your career, you start planning your finances with sponsors and also start tuning and upgrading your car to keep it in top condition as the season progresses. Learning the track is also important as while the driving aides can help you get around, there is always a faster way to take the corner by following a different line. All this will give you a fighting edge in every race as the game has little to no handicap to help you catch up to the front car beside your skills.

    There are also quite cringy interviews which can affect how your team will perform depending on how you answer the interview questions. This can be a double edge sword as I found out that answering most of the time increases certain teams but also reduces another team’s performance.

    Testing Your Skills Online Or Split Screen

    Hiring and dismissing are normal in the F1 world.

    F1® 23 does have a split screen in which you can team up with a friend on a couch to win for the same manufacturer but online multiplayer is where the challenge is. The game features excellent cross-play which connects you to other players around the world. I was surprised that I must do some more tutorials before unlocking some stuff. I did manage to just enter a custom game and boy, I wasn’t ready for the chaos that ensue.

    You can unlock upgrade parts for your team online as you gain more experience by racing. These will slowly upgrade the performance of the car which will be divided into classes depending on the performance. I appreciate that the game has a way to make each car feel more personalized performance-wise besides the usual livery and sponsor stickers on the vehicles.

    EPIC Gearbox!!

    With a grid start, the start of a race is always chaos as people try to break off in front of one another. I was pitted, rammed off the track and boxed out in the first 30 seconds at the start of the race. This is the most important part of online races is trying to survive the first few corners because it can determine whether you are in front or at the back of the pack and with limited chances to catch up, it does frustrate me at times.

    Nonetheless, the online gameplay is where you will test your skills with other players around the world and if you are up for the challenge, the game provides the best chance for you to experience a competitive F1 race other than being racing in real life.

    What I Absolutely Loved

    • A great F1 experience with a lot of car setting details – A great F1 driving experience available in your home
    • The Braking Point 2 is dramatically entertaining – With a little less focus on racing, the drama behind the scenes won’t lose to any K-drama
    • Excellent Driving Physics – With vehicle damage and tyre wear all affecting your car handling, the game feels nice to drive
    • An abundance of race options – From story to single and multiplayer, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the F1 experience in this game.

    What I Wished Was Better

    • Certain models look dated – Having scanned high-resolution real-life drivers beside a low-res NPC looks weird
    • Missed opportunity by not having PSVR2 support – A missed opportunity to promote VR on the console.

    A Podium Finish

    Smile for the cameras.

    F1® 23 build-up on what was successful from the previous entry and with experience developers like Codemasters at the helm, the game is at its best. The return of The Braking Point story adds some needed gameplay and drama while adding better controller handling and physics all made F1® 23 feel a step ahead of its previous entry. Even if I am not a hardcore fan of F1, I highly recommend this game to any players who are a fan or not of F1.

    Final Score – 9/10

    An old school gamer who plays every genre of games. Prefers games which are unique and innovative instead of just pretty looking. All he wants is content, content, content..... The more the better.

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