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Pole position

Updated on: 09 July,2023 09:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Jaison Lewis |

Codemasters delivers another stunning F1 game, eliminating a lot of the gripes players had with the previous version

Pole position

F1 23

F1 23
Rating: 4/5
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: EA
Platform: XBOX One, XBOX Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC
Price: Rs 4,499

Electronic Arts (EA) operates like clockwork when it comes to game releases. It’s another year, and we have yet another F1 game. Interestingly, last year,  the shakeup in the sport made a difference to the F1 22 game, as all those changes were included in the game. The modifications included heavier cars, larger tires and many changes to aerodynamics. Codemasters did a great job in handling all these changes, making F1 22 a standout game of 2022.

With F1 23, the developers have gone one step further, making improvements to the feel and control of the game vehicles. This comes through even when driving with a controller rather than a wheel, although a steering wheel makes for a more authentic experience. The cars feel as though they have a good grip, and seem to have a bit of added weight to them as well. Overall, the driving feel has improved greatly from F1 22. 

The graphics of the game offer a minor caveat to the otherwise impressive advancements made this year. With few graphical advancements, the character animations seem a little dated and this is very visible during the cutscenes of the dramatised story mode of the game, called Braking Point. During actual gameplay, the car and driving-related graphics are top-notch. The details of the F1 car, the weather and the tracks, all look amazing. However, in most instances, pictures of the licensed F1 drivers are used instead of the 3D likeness, detracting from the visual experience of the gameplay.

You might remember the story mode,  Braking Point, if you played the previous version of F1. It was the story of an underdog team with a rookie and veteran driver working through their issues, to ultimately win in the end. For the second season, however, they have gone with a slightly different storyline. In F1 23, the story focuses on the fictional team of Konnersport that needs to work together if they want to make a significant impact on the sport. The story is loaded with drama and unexpected twists and turns, making for a fairly entertaining experience. Pushing to go beyond the goal each time can earn you bonuses and unlock some dialogues you wouldn’t have seen if you did the bare minimum. However, the storyline is pretty rigid, so it doesn’t change much based on your actions. 

My gripe with the game is that it is always very serious, and while Braking Point offers some drama, it’s still nothing compared to what you get to see on the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive, for instance. I want some of that intensity from the actual sport reflected in the game. Nevertheless, this doesn’t affect the gameplay or anything tangible in the game, but it would have enhanced the feel of the game. 

F1 World is a new addition to the game. It’s a mode where you complete ever-changing tasks and races. These result in rewards you can use to upgrade your car in F1 World, but these rewards don’t apply anywhere else in the game. This mode is the closest you will come to an arcade mode in F1 23, and is a definite improvement from F1 Life in the previous game.

Overall, F1 23, though an EA-style incremental upgrade, is actually a robust game, and I enjoyed the over-the-top drama of Braking Point. Mainly, the handling of the cars and the robust gameplay are what will keep fans coming back for more. That said, as always, this isn’t a game for arcade racing fans of games like Dirt 3 or Forza Horizon. This game is enjoyably challenging and requires a lot of thinking. I would recommend F1 23 for F1 fans who want to feel what it might be like in the cockpit of one of these monsters.

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