John Madden, Tom Brady, the list of GOATS goes on. Another year, another Madden title, Madden NFL 23, releases at the tail end of the summer to kick off the NFL Season. Madden NFL 16 has gone down in history as being a title that reinvented the wheel and improved on nearly everything Madden was at the time.
Fast forward, and the Madden series has been a little dry with little to no major differences or graphical improvements over the past several years. Madden NFL 23 promises players big updates on things like Face of the Franchise, and a new FieldSENSE graphical enhancement available exclusively to Xbox Series X|S and PS5.
Does it complete the pass for a touchdown or is it merely a field goal? Let’s tackle this title and see if it belongs in the GOAT category of the long lineage of Madden NFL games.
Madden NFL 23 Details
When you begin Madden NFL 23, you are immediately slotted into a Madden Legacy Game and are given a healthy amount of John Madden content. It really is a nice tribute and settles you into the game at a nice pace. After this, the menu is presented with many aspects of gameplay.
Madden Ultimate Team
I started by immediately checking out MUT, a long standing mode that has players building the ultimate team by pulling cards and playing with rosters. This is by far the most widest used mode by players and Madden has introduced challenges that have players seeded into a difficulty and warming up to the new control schemes. This is definitely a pay to win mode where the more you spend, the better chances you get at unlocking elite players.
Honestly, there is nothing massively new to say about MUT other than there seems to be a lot of intro offers to earn lots of coins early on. So, if you are hoping to beef up your Ultimate Team at launch, spending a lot of extra money doesn’t appear to be required.
Play Now is highlighted by many different quick hit options including online head to head, pro bowl, and repeating the Madden legacy game from the beginning. These are all easy ways to just get going if you want to play a quick game of football.
Another nice feature that I like is that Madden NFL 23 gives you the tutorial option throughout. If you are new to Madden, you’ll need these tutorials to get settled in.
Franchise and Face of the Franchise
The deeper modes of Franchise and Face of the Franchise mode are next. These modes have you diving into seasons coaching your favourite team, or deeply playing for them! New to Madden NFL 23 is the ability to no longer have to start out as playing as a rookie in Face of the Franchise.
Now, you get to choose to sign a year long contract with your favourite team, and get right into the pros. If you are a football fan, this is a really nice feature as it’s exciting right from the kickoff. This is also a less cinematic mode than previous entries and focuses on gameplay instead, which I really enjoyed.
Finally, the arcade modes like The Yard and Superstar KO are included in Madden NFL 23. These modes provide a lot of diversity from the main Madden experience. And, they give you a chance to kick back and have fun with your friends.
Both of these modes offer less simulation, and more fun! The Yard, if you’re new to Madden, is the NFL Blitz like mode that has you making big hits and arcade plays. You create an avatar and compete to grind for cool gear and customizations and be the best on the field.
Your avatar picks a position and you complete games as that character. The stars are definitely a fun distraction. Superstar KO is an all star arcade mode that is also fun for quick hours with friends. Overall, gameplay in Madden feels bountiful and diverse. Football fans of all kinds should find some or many modes to dive into and play.
Simplified UI, a graphical overhaul, some performance issues and bugs
In Madden NFL 23, EA Tiburon simplified the game’s UI with a few easy options that allow you to navigate to the various game modes. Gone are the huge grid presentation of options and this simplified interface feels less overwhelming.
FieldSENSE feels like a true graphical and presentation overhaul. Madden keeps looking better and better, however there are a number of things that still feel off. Players run a little too heavy looking at times. And, I ran into just as many as previous entries, if not more glitches than usual in Madden NFL 23.
Commending EA for releasing full games is one thing, but the frame rate drops and menu lags makes the game feel choppy at times. There are many modes, but many bugs that will likely be patched over the next few months as players report them. The music and field sounds on the other hand are fantastic and make football fan players feel right at home in the NFL. The music is energetic and the sounds are crisp especially while using a headset.
Madden NFL 23 is a welcomed addition to the franchise that will be most enjoyed by fans of the sport
Madden NFL 23 offers a targeted overhaul of core gameplay features by using the new FieldSense feature. Passing feels more fluid than ever before and offers a good skill based challenge for long time and new players alike. Madden in this sense, feels like the deepest simulation football fans could ever ask for.
While defence still could feel better, offence is definitely improved in this year’s game. It has to be said that Madden NFL 23 is for football fans and football fans only. All of Madden NFL 23’s gameplay options offer a unique variety. However, the arcade modes are still pretty skill based and require a deep understanding of the game.
This entry definitely feels like EA has tried their best to give players something special. With the exception of the glitches and bugs, it’s easy to recommend Madden NFL 23 to football fans. It’s more than just a roster update, it’s a key gameplay overhaul.
+ Improved offence
+ FieldSENSE is a true graphical and presentation overhaul
+ Franchise and Face of the Franchise modes are vastly improved
– Madden Ultimate Team still suffers from microtransactions
– Various glitches, bugs and performance issues at launch
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MADDEN NFL 23
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5