The development team at Frontier Developments have brought us a new addition to the sporting simulation genre with F1 Manager 2023. Players can put themselves into the shoes of Toto Wolff or Guenther Steiner and battle their way to the top of the championship. F1 Manager 2023 is available to buy now on PC, PlayStation and Xbox for between £45 – 55 dependent on the system.
Is F1 Manager 2023 in pole position for the best simulation sport game?
I’ve only been an F1 fan for the past 3 years, so I am yet to experience the highs and lows that many of you have experienced. However, when I heard that F1 Manager was getting a new instalment this year, I was eager to get stuck in. Let me know in the comments if you are enjoying this year’s instalment of F1 Manager and if it is an upgrade on the previous edition.
There is plenty to talk about in terms of gameplay with F1 Manager 2023. Firstly, there is of course career mode, building on the experiences of its predecessor. Your job is to become the team principal of a team of your choice and make decisions that will ultimately win you the championship. Of course, this seems relatively simple. However, there are many decisions that you need to make to ensure that you get those race wins. As a team principle, there is plenty of decisions to make, which all involve money. You have the opportunity to develop the car, to improve facilities that help test the cars, as well as scout and hire new members of your team. You as the player need to balance this correctly, because the game is not lenient when it comes to being over the cost cap.
Thankfully, there are ways to make money, through hitting performance bonuses. As the team principal, you are able to make decisions that are based on a gamble. By agreeing to performance bonuses, you are running the risk that if you do not hit that goal, you incur a small fee. For teams that are closer to the bottom of the grid, this can be the difference between gaining points and losing points. Meaning players have to choose wisely.
Will you come out guns blazing?
As with the previous F1 Manager, this is a tactic-heavy game, as you need to make all the correct decisions to ensure those points. F1 Manager 2023 has certainly improved this part of the game, with the addition of more in-depth mechanics of driver tactics. You have to carefully choose how the driver uses their tyres. Will they push to ensure they close the gap to the nearest person on the grid, or do they conserve their tyres as they are overheating? This is something that also needs to be considered when using ERS and the usage of fuel. If these are used too much throughout the race, you risk being wide open and dropping paces. This will of course change for every race, and it is your job to think about how tactically you are going to tackle each race.
How much money will you spend?
Another great addition to the game is the introduction of a development focus for staff members. This is completely different to its predecessor, and I think it adds more realism to the game. For example, you can now instruct your pit crew’s training regimes. The harder you work them, the faster they will improve their pit times. However, the harder you work them also means you run the risk of fatigue and errors. This again is something you will need to manage to find the perfect balance.
If career mode isn’t enough, there are two new additions to the game this year. Firstly, there is the introduction of race replays. It offers the player to replicate real-life races, and potentially alternate the results to stop Red Bull’s dominance (please stop Red Bull). As a Mercedes fan, this offered me a small amount of hope. Because I am clearly not getting any hope in real life. However, if a full race is not for you, there is also race moments. This is a game mode that offers entertaining challenges to recreate special moments throughout F1 history. And the great news is, moments will be continued to be added throughout the F1 season. It is slightly disappointing that 12 of these race moments can only be gained by buying the deluxe version of the game.
Graphics & Audio
In terms of graphics when it comes to F1 Manager 2023, it is slightly disappointing. The graphics, when you compare it to F1 23 for example are below par. However, this is not a game that is known for its graphics. F1 Manager is known for its in-depth gameplay mechanism, and there has certainly been an improvement on its predecessor. Just be prepared to laugh at the in-game faces of all the drivers. It is not just the faces that are laughable. There are some issues when a driver crashes. Whilst I was playing, if a crash occurred, it was highly unrealistic, and graphically did not look right. I think improvement can be made in this respect.
However, I do like the little cinematics they have added throughout a race weekend. They may not look the best graphically, but they really add to the overall feel of a race weekend. It actually makes me feel like I am watching Sky Sports coverage. In terms of audio, I was very happy as Crofty and Chandhock provided commentary throughout the race. I don’t think anyone can complain about audio when Crofty is involved. It does help that there is also good audio in terms of the realistic sounds of an F1 circuit. I genuinely cannot find an audio issue with the game.
I think with any simulation game, there is a lot of replayability. This is completely dependent on what you as the player want from the game. You can decide if you want dominance from the start, such as picking teams like Red Bull. Or, if what you require is a challenge, then start with a team such as Williams. There are plenty of teams for you to become a team principal, with each team offering different challenges. There are also plenty of seasons that the player can be involved in.
To progressively gain points, upgrades to your facilities and car will need to be completed. This is not something that can happen quickly, and the next thing you know, you are 3/4 seasons deep. A season can last anywhere between 20-25 hours, showing that you need to be committed. In addition to this, race moments will also be added throughout the F1 season. Offering plenty of new additions to keep the player going through the F1 season.
Overall, I think F1 Manager 2023 is a great addition to the sports simulation genre. As a lover of simulation games, I really enjoy how realistic the tactics are within the game. The improvements that Frontier Development has added, have really brought the game to a new level. And I would urge any F1 fans (who do not just watch F1 for the crashes) to buy and download the game. I genuinely believe you will not be disappointed. Of course, with every game, there are some disappointments.
But, for a game that is relatively new to the scene, I think the team at Frontier Development have excelled. I cannot wait to see how far I can take the likes of the Williams team or the Haas team. It might not be very far, but I will certainly enjoy myself on the way. It is with this in mind, I will be awarding F1 Manager 2023 a gold thumb culture rating.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.