EA SPORTS F1 23 Review: Welcome to a new (F1) World

Justin Melillo
EA SPORTS F1 23 delivers with enhanced on-track vehicle handling and the latest season’s content. Braking Point 2 continues the story with some mixed results, despite some brave topics, and F1 World is an engaging new mode.
Norris leads Miami F1 23

The yearly releases of established sports video games are commonplace amongst the professional sports gaming spheres.

It has been happening for decades now, and perhaps Formula 1 is the most recognizable in motorsports on that list. Amongst the likes of FIFA, Madden, NBA and other top tier leagues, Formula 1 hasn’t skipped a beat since Codemasters scored the licensing rights back in 2009. 

Originally, the F1 series was solely under the Codemasters banner. However, since F1 2021’s release, it’s now an Electronic Arts collaboration as Codemasters was purchased, becoming a subsidiary entity of the sports gaming behemoth. 

EA SPORTS F1 23 is the latest release in the franchise, and while it may be a step up from its predecessor, complete with a story mode sequel to 2021’s Braking Point, a new way to race with F1 World and tons of handling and gameplay improvements, it still gives off that feeling of being the same product spiffed up for a new season.

Nothing wrong with that, per se, but those looking for expansive reform from last year’s title may be sorely disappointed. 

Last time on Braking Point… 

With the release of F1 23 comes the return of Braking Point, the story mode that debuted in F1 2021. Those characters from two years ago are back alongside some new faces.

The original story was more about the up-and-coming Aiden Jackson and his struggles in finding his place amongst his veteran teammate Casper Akkerman and against the provocative Devon Butler, who made his F1 video game debut back in F1 2019 as a rival. 

In this installment, it’s all one big happy family intertwined with the Butler namesake. Aiden and Devon are teammates for the new and fictional Konnersport F1 Team, and who funds the program? No one other than Daddy Butler, Davidoff, with his business titled Butler Global. 

Akkerman makes his return despite retiring at the end of 2021. He’s a friend to Konnersport Team Owner Andreo Konner, but for the moment, he’s working with the up-and-coming Callie Mayer in Formula 2 when the story starts. 

Mayer, by the way, is actually a Butler as well. The daughter to Davidoff, the sister to Devon, Callie is a bright talent racing in Formula 2 to achieve her dreams of racing in Formula 1, but she’s renounced her namesake, using her mother’s maiden name instead as she shuns anything to do with her father. 

While the struggles Aiden faces are still an integral part of the story, Braking Point 2 is more about the Konnersport team than anything else.

Players switch from character to character in each chapter of the story, of which there are 17 of in this go around. You’ll race as Aiden, Callie, and even Devon during the progression while also managing aspects of things from the managing seats of both Andreo and Casper. 

Devon Butler is a star 

Devon Butler is the absolute star of this story. The rest, it’s kind of meh. Aiden doesn’t take a starring role like he did in the original, and that might contribute to the reason why he has zero character development in these 17 chapters.

Callie’s story is inspiring and interesting to say the least as we learn about her and Davidoff’s past. I wish we got more Casper. He was a fantastic character in Braking Point 1, but in the sequel, he exists more as a crutch and bridge.  

Davidoff plays a huge role in the entirety of the story. He’s the financial backing of the team, and even though he isn’t managing the team, he’s influencing the entire plot.  

It’s a decent story, nothing too groundbreaking. Through the chapters, you’ll collect a performance ranking and a reputation ranking. These ultimately don’t do anything in the grand scheme of it except allow for different dialogue in answering media and team personnel questions.

I do wish that finishing better meant more for the story. Also, I wish the story wasn’t about trying to be as mid of a team as possible, aiming for fifth place in the constructors. When do we get a story where we’re fighting Red Bull or Mercedes for the title? Where’s the story arc where Aiden Jackson is a perennial favorite for the title? 

There’s a lot to be desired with Braking Point 2, surely, but it was captivating and did provide some decent entertainment. Very linear, as to be expected.

Players can choose different prompts and get some different phone calls and news stories, but it all leads back to the same ending. I know EA can create multiple strands, they did it in the Madden NFL 18 story mode, ‘Longshot’. That’s something hopefully considered if there is a Braking Point 3. 

Everything and more now resides in F1 World 

Another new addition to F1 23 is F1 World, and boy, this is, well, interesting to say the least. F1 World is essentially the new main hub for F1 23, and everything is connected.

Building from things in F1 22 such as F1 Life and the perennial aspect of Podium Pass, F1 World combines so much, and then goes on to add in the aspect of… mobile gaming? 

The overarching comparison would be like a cross between Sport Mode on Gran Turismo 7—with the selected ranked races and the licenses themselves and such—and then maybe F1 Mobile Racing where you aim to build your tech score for your F1 World car through unrealistic upgrades and measures.

It’s also now intertwined with Podium Pass and adds an element of Ranked Multiplayer to the fold.  

It’s something like FIFA Ultimate Team, but in parts and people for your car. Those parts not only add things to upgrade your F1 World car’s Tech Score, but they also provide these weird upgrades, like get more DRS, or get increased downforce at track in America.  

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend real money on microtransactions to succeed, because it looks like the only things you get from buying Pitcoin or buying into the Podium Pass are cosmetic. XP boosts are the only elements that paid-for in-game currency can be used for that assist advancement. 

F1 World is where players will also find a new license system, ranks A through D, where once you unlock a level, you can race others at the same performance any letter beneath.

You also have achievable goals which unlock more things in the hub, such as other upgradeable opportunities and a sticker book compendium section, which is cool but also a bit tedious. 

Simply put, it’s different. It has that feeling of one of those mobile games you can get sucked into. I’m not saying it’s bad, however, because it’s definitely aimed at bringing in and maintaining a younger audience.

You can earn parts and crew members by just simply playing the game, but you can also just do whatever and race whatever. You make your world what you want it to be, which is ideal. 

The same old, same old 

Let’s talk about Career Mode, specifically My Team, for a moment. For racers looking for all the great new improvements to one of the biggest aspects of the title, well, this is probably where the disappointment starts to creep in. 

Not much has changed here. In My Team, when setting things up to get your driver-owner career underway, it’s pretty much the same introduction that was presented as last year, just voiced this time by Natalie Pinkham. 

Besides the schedule, the 2023 lineup of drivers and teams, the added (paid-for) icons and updated rankings, it’s more of the same here. 

If you enjoyed F1 22, well, great news, you’ll get the same exact experience in F1 23. Again, that’s not to say it’s a bad thing, actually that may be a strength. It maintains that more authentic experience for those racing purists in contrast to what F1 World has now given us. 

What’s improved may be worth tuning in for 

Despite the small tweaks to some of the biggest areas, there are some great improvements and additions. I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak on behalf of the updated physics, which I don’t want to call easier, no, but rather, more forgiving. 

F1 22 suffered from handling that was constantly on-edge, if you barely pushed over it, you were done, finished, wrecking. F1 23, on the other hand, will still punish you for driving badly, and you can most definitely still wreck it up and let it get away from you, but that razor edge has dulled to a point where players can recover more often. 

Pin it too early, and it’s still going to want to go around on you, but if you start to feel that sensation, you can give it some air and keep it from getting lost. It’s made this game that much more enjoyable to me, someone who avoided F1 22 because I couldn’t drive the damn thing. 

Other improvements come in the sensation in your hands in general, with force feedback settings and overall wheel feel. It’s still the same as when John Munro and I got to test it out in the early build a few weeks ago. It’s brilliant. The controller users will also likely enjoy the Precision Drive technology addition.

They’ve got all the new tracks, specifically the returning Losail and the brand-new and stunning Las Vegas course on the Strip.

The game also includes some older tracks no longer on the schedule, such as Paul Ricard, Shanghai and Portimão, and some of the existing tracks have been updated to a proper current layout, such as Barcelona. Most tracks outside of that are still the same as they have been, for better or worse. 

Red flags add a nice wrinkle to any race it can be used in. Players need to have it set to at least the new 35 percent race distance to turn those on. For what was added in this regard, it’s a decent upgrade from previous years. 

Lights out, and away we go… 

EA SPORTS F1 23 isn’t a complete redesign of the Pirelli, but where it has changed with improved handling is enough to warrant feeling good about this latest Formula 1 title. I didn’t go back to play F1 22 often as I’d like for that reason alone. F1 23, on the other hand, is something I might keep picking up. 

Braking Point exists, it’s a few hours of fun, and if you’re into the sort of thing that F1 World provides, you’ve just unlocked even more time spent. My Team hasn’t changed, it will still give fans plenty of reasons to keep playing with that in-depth career, although some players might be too busy just trying to complete the sticker book in F1 World’s compendium. 

How it holds up when the online experience gets fully underway, well, that remains to be seen. Overall, kudos to Codies and EA for managing to improve where it was needed. 

The Traxion.GG Review Verdict: Wishlist
DeveloperElectronic Arts, Codemasters
Release date16th June, 2023
Available platformsPS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Version testedPC
Best played withRacing Wheel

Full disclosure: This game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Here is our review policy.

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