First play: F1 23 brings ‘Braking Point’ story mode back for a second chapter


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After Codemasters introduced its Braking Point story mode in F1 2021, then chose not continue its tale in last year’s edition of the game, we wondered if the idea had been scrapped.

The original Braking Point was technically well-executed but the stuff that matters most left a lot to be desired: The storyline was predictable and the characters little more than talking cliches. As far as we were concerned, Braking Point’s absence from F1 22 did not count against the game.

But the team behind the official Formula 1 franchise clearly have faith in the single-player narrative-driven mode, similar to that seen in other titles. Braking Point therefore returns in F1 23 with an all-new story based around the two main characters from the original episode: Aidan Jackson and rival Devon Butler, the latter very much the Dick Dastardly of the piece.

If you missed Braking Point the first time around, the two-minute recap at the beginning will get you up to speed. That is followed by a flashback to the 2022 season which introduces an 11th team to the field – F1 is apparently more open to grid expansion in the virtual world than it is in the real one.

Braking Point 2 begins with you back in the role of Jackson and opens with your fictional team principal Andreo Konner being interviewed. He heads up Konnersport Butler Global Racing Team – the name being a clue to the narrative direction which follows. Sure enough, Jackson and Butler are now team mates, and Konnersport’s struggle to compete isn’t being helped by their occasional run-ins with each other.

The limited preview of F1 23 we played included challenges based around the Miami and Hungarian grands prix. The latter provides an early dramatic high-point as your team mate develops tactical deafness in response to a team order, prompting a Drive to Survive-esque confrontation in the briefing room afterwards, in which Butler Snr makes his presence felt.

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The most obvious real-world comparison with this kind of father/son set-up would be the Strolls at Aston Martin. However a more accurate touchstone is probably the Ravenwest team characters in last year’s Grid Legends, another Codemasters game to embrace a narrative structure.

The Konnersport team mates moments before contact is made
As usual in F1 23 you are periodically nudged for answers by the media, to which you may respond as antagonistically or otherwise as you please. Exactly how the consequences of those choice play out is something we won’t know until we place the full version.

Later in our preview the story’s perspective moved from Jackson to team boss Konner. Perhaps I overlooked something, but the shift caught me by surprise and some of the options I was confronted with at this point didn’t make sense until I realise what had happened. But I’m sure it will be less jarring the second time around, and as a device it definitely adds welcome variety to the story.

As always, we’re not going to jump to conclusions about the game before playing the full thing ahead of its launch on June 16th. But even in this unfinished form some of the basics look to be in good shape.

The character models in particular are a step forwards from previous games – the facial movements convey expressions with a reasonable degree of subtlety – and the integration between the scenes and the gameplay was fluid. It immerses you in the feeling of watching F1 on television through the extensive use of real-world F1 presenters – Sky F1 commentators David Croft, Anthony Davidson and Natalie Pinkham featured in the version we played.

‘Braking Point 2′ is only one of the noteworthy changes in F1 23. Besides featuring all the latest drivers, teams and tracks as usual, gameplay enhancements have been made including the simulation of race stoppages using red flags plus improvements to the cars’ physics and more. We look forward to putting the full roster of changes in F1 23 to the test ahead of its launch.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    4 comments on “First play: F1 23 brings ‘Braking Point’ story mode back for a second chapter”

    1. Butlers = Strolls ??

    2. EA games…

    3. Given that most people play these games alone, having some sort of narrative to tie it all together is a nice idea. It’s a bit unfortunate that they have to resort to fictional extra teams, but it’s obvious why that would be the case.

      Not sure why they aren’t using F1’s official commentators, but rather the regional English ones. Seems like an odd choice, unless this is a localization thing for the English version.

    4. I just hope they don’t do the same thing as the first Braking Point and just have all the challenges be “overtake x cars” with later challenges only increasing in difficulty by increasing x. That was what got me to give up on my first attempt at playing that mode back when I had F1 21 as part of EA’s subscription service.

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