F1 Review 23


After about 940 million miles, Earth has reached the point in its 12-month celestial march around the sun where it’s time for another Formula 1 game. Maybe that’s fine, given that I feel to have covered approximately 940 million kilometers in this series over the last decade and changes. All joking aside, it’s a testament to the incredible toughness of Codemasters’ open-wheel motorsport magic that getting back into the cockpit every year remains a delight, and F1 23 is no exception. As well as significantly improved handling for new-era cars, F1 23 also adds the next chapter of the Braking Point story mode introduced in F1 2021 – as well as a new reward-based progression system with daily, weekly and seasonal objectives. . The result is enough to keep us busy, though your personal mileage can vary greatly depending on your tastes in the curated single-player campaigns and live-service style game modes.

Last season’s sweeping rule changes ushered in a field full of new F1 cars, and with their larger wheels and tires they were the best-looking cars the sport had seen in some time. However, they are also the heaviest cars in the history of the championship. In F1 22, this resulted in a model that made handling that extra volume quite tricky. Relearning the limits of these new cars was certainly an exciting challenge, but it wasn’t always fun; there was definitely an inconsistency in the way the cars tended to both understeer through corners and oversteer while trying to accelerate them.

Handling has improved significantly.

In F1 23, the handling improved considerably. There’s still a feeling of bulk here in the heavy New Era cars, but they feel considerably more cooperative; grippier and more stable, especially the cutting edges. Best of all, for those of you without a steering wheel, the gamepad controls are really great this year. This was most apparent to me when navigating slow corners in tight street circuits and coming out of early slides accelerating a little too hard. I don’t know if I’ve ever really been able to grab oversteer so effectively on a humble analog stick in any F1 game, ever. F1 23 is easily the best the F1 series has ever felt on a traditional controller. The cars seem lively and dangerous, but they obey your commands. It’s like walking an obedient Doberman through a butcher’s shop.

Brakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

Braking Point 2 is the sequel to the story that Codemasters kicked off in F1 2021 and, despite its 17 chapters ultimately only lasting me a few sessions over a few days, it’s definitely my favorite part of F1 23.

For the sake of a good thread, Braking Point 2 adds a fictional eleventh team called Konnersport to the grid (much like we’ve been doing in My Team mode ourselves since F1 2020). The upshot here is that it seems to have resulted in a story with a bit more substance this time around. Emotion and conflict are both a bit higher than I would suspect possible in the bubble of an existing team with real-world sponsors. Also, while Braking Point 2 might come to a reasonably predictable conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised to be caught off guard by at least a few unexpected developments.

While Braking Point 2 might come to a fairly predictable conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised to be caught off guard by at least a few unexpected developments.

While the original Braking Point focused on the chalk-and-cheese racing pair of rookie Aiden Jackson and retired Dutch mate Casper Akkerman, Braking Point 2 expands its focus. The focus here is really on the entire Konnersport team, from the drivers (Jackson and his longtime nemesis Devon Butler) to the friendly team principal Andreo Konner. Davidoff Butler, Devon’s father and CEO of main sponsor Konnersport, as well as future F2 driver Callie Mayer, who is managed by Akkerman, are also in the frame.

As with the original Braking Point, the events of Braking Point 2 are a mix of scenarios with specific challenges to complete as Jackson, Mayer, and even Devon Butler himself. Some events are full races, but most are mid-race situations where you may be asked to finish ahead of specific drivers or teams, save or defend your position after being unlucky, or capitalize on a strategy smart. Going over this time around can earn you bonus objectives, and it ranks you up in story mode to unlock new answers to press questions and internal staff queries, but it doesn’t change the overall story – just minor side stories and conversations along the way. That said, I really like the structure; I enjoy variety and I like having goals. Make as many spots. Don’t finish behind so and so. Maybe I just like being directed.

Perhaps surprisingly given his role in F1 2021, Jackson takes a step back in Braking Point 2. It may actually be for the best as I found him even harder to warm up to this time around, although this may partly have to do with him still being probably the least fleshed out character. We learned very little about Jackson in the first Braking Point and we learn even less here. Instead, the spotlight turned to the ambitious Mayer and the smarmy Devon Butler. Oddly enough, as his stint as a Braking Point heel continues, Devon easily emerges from Braking Point 2 as his most interesting and layered character.

Braking Point 2’s cutscenes are a big improvement over the original and the facial performance capture in particular is much stronger. The interview footage makes for some clever script footage, but I wonder if it would have also benefited from a more documentary, fly-on-the-wall approach to the dramatic scenes. The inability to push the mode with the team you actually chose in the original is a minor setback, but it looks like it would have been an easy win for Immersion. As it stands, the Braking Point 1 recap shows Jackson and Akkerman wearing Alfa Romeo gear – in my game two years ago they drove for Haas.

The world is enough now

The other big new thing in F1 23 is F1 World, which is a standalone mode that seems to be built on the bones of the naff, lifestyle and apparel focused F1 Life mode from F1 22. You could probably describe F1 World as a secondary career mode where, instead of battling traditional championship seasons, you complete a range of daily, weekly and seasonal goals and races to earn rewards and upgrade your F1 World car.

I don’t really know what to think of F1 World, but I know I keep bouncing back on it. I can certainly appreciate the appeal of a mode more suited to dive in and out for short bursts of F1 action than the longer full race weekends in normal career mode, but I’m just not drawn to the upgrade loop that comes alongside it.

Upgrades in F1 World come in the form of miscellaneous and quirky parts and performance boosters, like brakes that will make my tires last a bit longer, but only on North and South American circuits. Or some guy called Robert who will make my engine more powerful for 60 seconds after I pit stop, like some sort of motorsport warlock.

There’s an elegance to having what’s essentially an upgradable fast-paced game mode, all housed under one umbrella that rewards you for time spent, but there’s a mobile gaming tone here that I’m just not into not sure to have the constitution. If you are in the same boat, the traditional career and My Team modes remain present. Just know that they are essentially the same as last year, only with a few additional tracks: Lusail and Las Vegas. It’s hard to say what kind of racing the Vegas Strip street course will do in real life this November, but it’s a cracking F1 23 track, coated in a busy neon backdrop and brimming with verticality just above. beyond the limits of the track. It is extremely catchy.

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