I used to not get the appeal of F1. According to my dad, it’s because if you miss the start of the race, it just looks like a bunch of weird cars driving around in circles. In the years since I think the motorsport has grown on me- from the stories of plucky drivers overcoming the odds to the thrill of machines far too advanced to be street legal duking it out.
EA Sports F1 2023 does a good job of emphasizing both these facts- being a must-play for any fans of the racing event. We got to try out the game’s Braking Point campaign- as well as run some laps of our own, and it’s enough to make a man almost want to devote himself to racing games.
The Start Of Your Own Racing Journey
I’ve always found campaigns in sports games kind of funny. Not because they’re bad, but just the idea that they largely hit the same hero’s journey beats as your standard JRPG, but this time instead of defeating some Demon Lord you’re hitting the track and hoping to be the racing Hokage.
I think the new Braking Point campaign’s a lot of fun for that reason- there’s so much more to the story than just the race, since the story is being relayed to you in a fairly realistic way. From news headlines to events like being called up by your team manager, it’s a great way to imagine you were living the life of an F1 driver.
It’s even got that Naruto-Sasuke flair for it, since the previous Braking Point’s top rivals have now found themselves on the same team alongside the introduction of a new character, lady racer Callie Mayer.
Better yet there’s also off-track decisions you can make, too. It’s a pretty holistic view of the F1 life, all things considered- there’s so much more than just snatching first, and I’m glad Braking Point continues to offer that experience. Getting to see the fallout of the events of the story via social media posts is a great touch, especially since that’s where most of the action seems to be nowadays anyways.
It’s all built around maintaining two stats- your Performance and your Reputation. Admittedly since we only got to play the start we don’t get to see how far the decision-making rabbit hole goes- but I’m almost excited to see how much I can get away with if I make my team a community darling with all the technology of a Tamagotchi.
Kick In The Asphalt
Story aside, the real thrill of F1 2023 is in how good it feels to actually burn rubber. The biggest problem with a lot of racing games is trying to hit that sweet spot when it comes to handling. On one hand, having a car wildly skid around is a lot of fun, but no F1 car moves around that much without being uploaded as a video marked “Tragedy at the circuit today”. On the other hand, having it be too grounded isn’t much fun either- the idea is to let the player feel like they could go out of control if they wanted, but minimize the possibility of it happening by accident.
To that end F1 2023 does a good job of keeping the cars fun to handle. The controls feel responsive, allowing you to do some pretty tight maneuvers like zipping around corners. That being said you best be keeping your focus at those speeds- the return of ground effects means it’s going to be easy to spin out and cost you precious racing time.
There’s also a fair bit of respect for the strategy of F1 too- Tire Management is still a big deal, just as it is in IRL Formula One. You’ll really start to feel the effects if you think you can push your tires to their limit, but thankfully I wasn’t ballsy enough to see if the game would actually let them explode on me.
What we got to see of the tech side was also great- a lot of the highs of driving in F1 2023 are powered by the game’s Precision Driving technology to actually make it enjoyable on controller. Meanwhile, the visuals themselves are going for that “straight from TV” look, with cars scrambling at the start of the race just like you would in a real one. This was far from the final build- but the game’s clearly on the right track.
There’s also been quite the advancements in keeping the game fun. I’m a big fan of the 35% Race mode, which drastically shortens the actual race time. Look, part of the reason I never got into F1 as a kid was that these races are long- so not having a repeat in my video game is much obliged.
If you’ve longed for the roaring of engines in your living room I can imagine F1 2023 is on your list of games to get this month. Be it a fan of thrilling racing drama or just wanting a damn good racer, the game’s made a pretty good first showing with us.
That being said there’s far more F1 2023 to go. I’m personally excited to see what twists and turns Braking Point will throw at you next, but that’s the kind of thing you’d only find out when the game launches on June 16th, 2023.
Preview access provided by EA, game played on PC.