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F1 23: First Hands-On Impressions

F1 23 Mercedes_Miami_Edit_01

We’re excited about this year’s F1 23. Aside from having all the latest drivers, cars and teams, it’s got a host of new features, too, such as red flags and 35% race distance. What we’re most excited for, however, is the return of Braking Point story mode. That’s right, the story we started in F1 21 is set to continue. But we can’t talk about that today – you’ll have to wait a little bit. What we can give you, however, are our first impressions of Codemasters’ upcoming racer.

A preview build of F1 23 has given us access to a selection of tracks, two modes and a number of vehicles from the F1 2023 and F2 2022 seasons. Unfortunately the new Las Vegas or Qatar circuits aren’t included, so we’ll have to wait a while longer to see what’s it’s like to speed around those. Still, we were keen to take the new 2023 cars for a spin, and the tried-and-tested circuits of Bahrain, Great Britain and more offer a good test of what they’re capable of.

It’s clear straight away that the handling and physics models have been tweaked to accommodate these new vehicles and regulations, and to simply make F1 23 a more enjoyable experience. The vehicles here feel more responsive, taking your inputs and translating them into onscreen actions as they should. It means you can have more confidence as you speed down straights before braking to negotiate challenging corners, all the while trying to outdo your competitors.

Related: The Best Racing Games on PS5

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It might just be us, but the cars of F1 23 feel a little more nimble around corners, too. Turning doesn’t feel quite as sluggish, making the racing action feel more lively and less strenuous. Perhaps it’s got something to do with what Codemasters is calling “Precision Drive” controller technology: it’s meant to provide better overall driveability, especially when using a controller. It’s hard to tell for sure, but there are certainly changes here that affect how F1 23 plays for the better.

As we raced around tracks in Grand Prix and Time Trial modes, the main thing that stood out to us about F1 23 is how it looks. A new colour encoding system has been employed for this year’s release, which aims to offer a more true-to-life visual experience. Along with improvements to lighting, it’s safe to say that it achieves the task, with F1 23 looking better than ever before. It’s just one more thing that adds to the authenticity – not only to the racing action, but also the presentation.

F1 23

Things are looking good when it comes to F1 23, then. The handling and physics are nicely refreshed, and new options and features are sprinkled liberally to give players more options and make the action more unpredictable and dynamic. The only things that remains a real mystery at this point are its modes. We’ll have more on Braking Point soon, but we’re also dying to learn more about F1 World, which offers challenges and a new progression system.

Ultimately, there’s not long left now until the game actually launches. F1 23 will be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC on 16th June. The digital-only Champions Edition, which offers a range of extras, comes with three days early access too, allowing players to jump into the game on 13th June. If you’re a devout F1 fan or simply love racing games, this is certainly one to keep an eye on.

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Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!