F1 23 (PC) Preview

Gotta Go Somewhat Fast

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It’s been almost a year since F1 22 released, so it’s almost time for F1 23. This is set to be the second entry in the venerable series since EA bought Codemasters in 2021. The developer has been pumping the games out annually since 2009 and far be it from this year to be the exception to that. I got to take a good look at a preview build for the new game and fans of the series will likely find more of what they’ve enjoyed in the past on display. While the game will have a new Braking Point career mode, this preview won’t cover it, so let’s dive into the other features on offer.

I got to access both F1 23‘s Grand Prix and Time Trial modes. When selecting the former, I was given a choice between the standard Formula 2023 mode and a Formula 2022 mode. These two modes allow you to pick seven races in whatever order you please, or you can just pick however many you wish (up to seven, mind you). This preview build of F1 23 has seven tracks in such locations as Miami, Bahrain, Imola, Canada, Great Britain, Hungary, and Brazil. The Time Trial mode also only allows the selection from among these seven, but you can pick whichever one you want and jump straight in instead of allowing players to set up multiples.

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Since these are Formula circuits, they’re not as showy or unrealistic as tracks in other racing games, although the point of this series is to actually reflect reality. Tracks are, as always, true to life, so if you happen to be intimately familiar with any, you’ll find plenty to recognize. Once I got my tracks squared away, F1 23‘s namesake mode had me pick my team, which governs the vehicle you drive. Ferrari, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, and Mercedes teams are all present, so there’s a veritable who’s-who of car manufacturers at the player’s disposal. The Formula 2 2022 option has its own teams as well, and actually has 11 cars versus the 10 that the other discipline offers.

Overall, this build of F1 23 had 21 cars available. I’m partial to Mercedes myself, so I spent most of my time with that team. After that, you’ll pick a fully-rendered real-world driver. You’ll see more people standing by your vehicles before the race as well. Once you dive in, things vary a bit between modes. Grand Prix’s kick off with you needing to engage the clutch with the A button before holding the right trigger to reach your optimal RPM before releasing the clutch and starting the race.

“It’s a believable, logical F1 experience, and it will be interesting to see more when F1 23 launches in July.”

Compared to other racing games, F1 23 feels quite different. There are a few general assists available, including steering assists, traction control, and anti-lock brakes. The cars here turn very slowly and, of course, anti-lock breaks will prevent you from braking and turning simultaneously. Without the traction control assist on, cars will spin out with the slightest movement, so I preferred to leave this on. I played this build on PC, and it ran perfectly, easily delivering 144 fps at max settings with a 3090 FE and 5700x processor. The Grand Prix mode had me go up against 19 AI racers across five laps. The proceedings can be rewound at any time and the game lets you use a flashback at any available point of your rewind.

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Of course, you can also mess with your car’s settings on the fly, if you’re so inclined. As always, these options are quite in-depth, and this extends to F1 23‘s actual game options as well. Presets are available for players of all skill levels, but there are some pretty surprising options included. One of these allows you to make the audio more tolerable for anyone with tinnitus (ringing in the ears), plus you can freely tinker with the game’s various camera settings. The camera types included, as always, are far and near chase cameras, as well as regular and offset cockpit views. The degree to which you can influence the camera is really something and I wish more games offered this sort of feature. You’re also able to adjust the weather and time of day, if you so choose.

As for the Time Trial mode, you can run the track as many times as you want without getting kicked to the menu for whatever reason. Codemasters continues to deliver on allowing players to drive how they want, plus you can alter the rules as you see fit. By default, these are on to allow for more realistic gameplay, so you’ll get penalized for collisions or driving over parts of the track. Do this to a certain extent and the game will demand you drive through the pit after your next lap. Fail to heed this and you stand to be disqualified entirely. It’s a believable, logical F1 experience, and it will be interesting to see more when F1 23 launches in July.

Andrew Farrell
Andrew Farrell

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