Game Review: F1 23 feels like a fantastic step in the right direction

I’m a huge Formula 1 fan and tend to jump into the yearly F1 release for some additional action during the current season. While I certainly enjoyed F1 22, I felt it was lacking something, and at times holding back. As the last thing I really enjoyed about the franchise came in the form of F1 21’s Braking Point story mode, I was disappointed to see it didn’t return in F1 22.

That being said, F1 23 feels like a huge step back into the spotlight, simply because it’s bringing the best of the franchise together. Thanks to Braking Point 2’s surprisingly engaging narrative, some tweaked gameplay mechanics, and the culmination of everything the package has to offer in F1 World through seasonal updates and progressive rewards, there’s something here for everyone.

To Those Who Brake Last

With a new era of F1 cars the talk of the town, developer Codemasters has done a fantastic job at designing nuanced gameplay based on the weight of vehicles, from traction to general handling. Cars feel a little heavier than usual, but this does wonders for handling, as it incorporates and encourages stable braking and well-timed turns for the best results.

Sure, there’s always a possibility that you’ll take a turn with too much confidence and spin out of roll off the track, but in F1 23, traction feels more responsive and at times more forgiving. Losing traction doesn’t always mean game over and like real-life drivers, you’ll have the ability to adjust on the fly.

While a simulator might always be the best way to play, F1 23 feels great when played with a controller. It’s never been an issue as such, but while the DualSense triggers on the PlayStation 5 providing an added level of resistance, steering also feels incredibly responsive. I’ve always felt at odds with the controller as the left stick felt a little jarring and inaccurate, but I honestly have little to complain about here.

The Racing Rivalry Continues

Braking Point 2 continues the story of fictional racer Aiden Jackson, as he joins the new and fictional racing team of Konnersport. The catch? He’s paired up with longtime rival Devon Butler. It makes for some entertaining stuff, and the cutscenes are quite dramatic and well-acted as far as sports game narratives go.

There are also some memorable supporting characters, from Konnersport’s team principal Andreo Konner to Devon’s dad and Konnersport CEO Davidoff Butler. They provide some interesting context to the situations as they unfold, as they present to the camera for interviews between races.

You’ll even get to play as up-and-coming F2 driver Callie Mayer, who’s conveniently managed by Casper Akkerman, otherwise known as Aiden’s teammate from the first Braking Point.  Across 17 chapters, you’ll race as Aiden, Callie, and even Devon, as you jump into specific portions of major races with a handful of objectives to complete. The objectives themselves are generally straightforward, such as finishing in a certain position or overtaking a particular driver, but things do get rather interesting toward the end.

Along the way, you’ll also partake in post-race interviews and even take the reigns of team principal Konner as you decide who to allow to press events and even how you respond to your driver’s nasty comments and slip-ups. These decisions unlock additional interview responses for each driver, but it’s a shame that none of the management aspects, as minor as they are, ever change the story in any meaningful way. At the end of the day, it’s definitely my favorite portion of F1 23 and a mode I would recommend to both hardcore fans and newcomers alike for its blistering pace and engaging story.

A Globetrotting Affair

If you weren’t a huge fan of F1 22’s F1 Life Mode, F1 23’s F1 World is sure to change your mind. Alongside the traditional career mode, F1 World serves as a hub for all things racing, including daily, weekly, and seasonal events for players to take part in. Everything contributes to upgrading your F1 World car, even if it feels like a slippery slope at times.

Upgrades include car parts and performance boosters, which can be either added to the vehicle or activated before races, as you upgrade your overall Tech level to partake in higher-ranked and more regarding races and series.

Each race feels short and sweet, but the loop feels a little dangerous. While it’s too soon to judge the overall longevity of this mode, it’s basically centered around the pursuit of a top-tier F1 World car to take to the ranked multiplayer races in order to climb the leaderboards. But even across the entire 26 tracks, there’s certainly the feeling that F1 World will not only grow as a mode but retain most fans.

Race Your Way

While the traditional Career and My Team modes offer up longer races and a more nuanced gameplay loop with gradual upgrades, there’s not really much about it that feels different. I can commend the sheer variety of systems at play here, as you upgrade your car, racing team, and race to contribute towards all things R&D, it feels like a safe zone for fans of previous career modes. As a result, I would recommend new and casual fans to start with F1 World for the faster pace.

While local multiplayer returns, drivers will also get to take part in some new tracks, including Lusail and the upcoming Las Vegas track. That Vegas strip looks fantastic at night, while most of the returning tracks, as similar as they were to last year, really pop with some impressive lighting and textures across dynamic weather conditions.

Final Thoughts

F1 23 doesn’t necessarily reinvent the formula, but there’s a lot to like. From its improved handling mechanics to Braking Point 2 and F1 World, it feels as though developer Codemasters has understood over the years exactly what fans have loved, and have done their best to expand.

The longevity and relevance of the new F1 World mode remain to be seen, even if its fast-paced gameplay loop is sure to attract newer fans while returning elements like My Team and Career modes serve as a strong reminder that while this franchise is evolving and expanding, it’s still the king of Formula 1 simulation.


Highlights: Stellar driving mechanics and worthy handling improvements; F1 World is engaging; Braking Point 2 is great
Lowlights: F1 World mode feels a little shallow at times; Remaining modes are relatively unchanged
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: EA Sports
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows PC
Available: Now

Review conducted on PlayStation 5 with a pre-release code provided by the publisher.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.