It wasn’t long after EA bought Codemasters that people started speculating about an Ultimate Team style mode, which is a staple of many other EA licensed sports titles, added to the F1 game series.
F1 23 is the first Formula 1 game to get this treatment, albeit under the guise of a mode named “F1 World”. The absence of the Ultimate Team moniker is likely meant to minimize any backlash given the heavy criticism of various aspects of these modes in EA’s other games.
That said, F1 World is also very different from those Ultimate Team modes and it’s worth clarifying that it’s not exactly about pay-to-win – at least not in the same vein as FIFA, Madden NFL and NHL modes. . .
The four areas of your car that you unlock upgrades for are the rear spoiler, power unit, brakes, and gearbox. Along with that, there are four team upgrades, which include R&D Manager, Strategist, Principal, and Sponsor.
All eight contribute to your Tech Level, and the higher your Tech Level, the better your car is and the more events you can compete in.
At first, all the people you get are fictitious, but later rewards from the current podium include Franz Tost and Gunther Steiner as unlockable directors. Presumably, that means more recognizable F1 names will make their way into F1 World.
In a way, it is easier to build a team than in FIFA Ultimate Team because there is no complicated chemistry system. Instead, it’s a simple cycle of unlocking new upgrades, using them to compete in new events, and earning newer and better upgrades with ever-higher tech rating.
It’s a little more complicated than that, because each part also has a bonus attribute. So for the rear wing it could be better DRS efficiency or more downforce and the amount of boost depends on the rarity of the part.
The same goes for team upgrades, although these provide time-limited boosts that only activate if you meet certain criteria. For example, you can get better tire durability for 25 seconds in a race if you pass a certain number of riders, or better aero efficiency for 60 seconds if you lap a clean lap.
Each of the team upgrades also require the use of contracts and they also have their own boosts and rarities. The need to have contracts available to keep using your best people is familiar to anyone who has spent time on Ultimate Team.
It bears repeating, however, that none of these upgrades can be purchased with real money, whereas the Ultimate Team modes of EA’s other sports games are infamous – albeit also massively lucrative – for their implementation of virtual trading card packs to acquire new players and bonuses for your team.
There are seven different forms of in-game currency, including cash, three different levels of “perception”, and three different types of “data”. They can all be swapped for each other if you have an excess of one resource but lack another.
Now, the plethora of customization options for your character’s casual and running gear, apartment furniture, and a number of other visual unlocks can still be purchased with PitCoin – which itself can be purchased with real money. So you can still buy virtual, featureless Beats headphones for over £3, just like you could in F1 22.
New to F1 23 is the ability to purchase experience bonuses to help you unlock podium rewards sooner.
This is the game that comes closest to pay-to-win, as some of those unlockables are cosmetics, but car parts and team upgrades are available, along with Compendium stickers.
The Compendium is a virtual sticker book, which partly explains the comparisons to Ultimate Team, which is essentially a virtual trading card game. Instead, the Compendium is purely a side goal, albeit one you’re encouraged to complete as you get rewards for every page of the book you complete.
You can get sticker duplicates which can be exchanged for any of the other resources, which further adds to the complexity of F1 World as it means there are actually eight different resources.
This is all just an excuse to go racing though, and F1 World has its own slate of single and multiplayer events. That said, many of them are very simple three or five lap races around a particular circuit.
In fact, F1 World starts with three races that are more than easy enough to put off anyone with experience with F1 games and boring enough to potentially put everyone off.
A three-lap race around the Red Bull Ring, which we won with a 12-second margin over the second-placed driver, a three-lap race at Silverstone, this time with a 14-second gap over second-placed, and a race of five laps at Yas Marina where we realized that the track limitation rules were not activated. So you can skip turns 6 and 7 chicane without consequence if you want an even bigger buffer on everyone.
From there, you are free to choose which events to do, provided you have a high enough license level as your driving standards are tracked once the game starts enforcing track limits.
In reality though, F1 World is just a repackaging of the previous F1 22 challenges. The other challenges, while new, are exactly the kind of ones that were in the dedicated “featured events” section of last year’s game.
Even those that are framed differently, like Circuit Mastery events, are really just five-lap races with the racing line assist forced, and then a five-lap race on the same circuit with the racing line disabled. After this point, the running distance is increased with the running line assist still off.
Similarly, an “arcade race” in Canada was another academically easy five-lap race, except with the choice of one of 10 actual F1 cars.
But since a number of races simply base the difficulty on the technological level of your car, with no way to adjust the speed of opponents, anyone well trained in F1 games will find the events almost patronizing. Even the time trial challenges, which use this season’s real F1 cars, set the target times quite low and easy to achieve.
Some challenges ask you for a difficulty or tech level modifier for the AI cars and these are the ones that can pose a real challenge if you’re not new to F1 games.
New events will be added, so it is possible to introduce more interesting formats and the difficulty may well be adjusted over time. But while EA and Codemasters have F1 World tailored to be an entry point for new players, chances are that won’t be the case.
And while F1 World is indeed aimed at new players, there’s a lot of resource management to learn and master, a fact that might be off-putting to someone who just wants to race Formula 1 cars.
Similarly, it’s hard to imagine the hardcore end of the community ignoring career mode or abandoning traditional online modes, especially when the latter still has the ability to have cars with equal performance, whereupon the community online F1 gaming and F1 Esports have been built. , in favor of F1 World.
While F1 World isn’t as overtly monetized as the Ultimate Team modes in EA’s other sports titles, it also lacks the appeal and reason to invest time in it.
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