The Madden train is back in town which a whole host of improvements and lots of excellent tributes to the big man himself.
This year Madden 23 focuses on making the game as accessible to people as possible, they’ve introduced some new mechanics but do lots to make sure you play in the style which you prefer.
You’ll begin the game by playing through the Madden Legacy Game: In celebration of the NFL legend, you can play through a unique experience featuring coach John Madden himself – from different eras – with teams composed of some of the players Coach loved the most.
You are encouraged to let the whole match play out and not skip scenes as there are lots of interesting facts about Madden, his career and life. It’s really well put together and it’s a great tribute.
Once you are past setting everything up you have a huge amount of game modes to play through. Franchise mode has had the biggest amount of improvements, notably NFL Free Agency. With all new screens, additional evaluation periods, player motivations and added salary cap functions there is a whole new dynamic to engage with when trying to put together the ideal roster. Players’ emotions and motivations come into play much more.
They will weigh offers taking into account things like their desire to play for a winning organization, joining a team close to making a Super Bowl run, or with a franchise QB; playing in a big market; making sure they sign with a team close to home; and more. It adds an interesting new dynamic to the mode, trying to sign the best players and then trying to meet their expectations. It’s a deeply rich mode and a lot of fun.
Face of the Franchise has had a much needed narrative change, you start as a journeyman player who happens to be a free agent who get their chance to prove their worth with a one year contract. The improved player lock gameplay makes it much easier to focus on your position during matches. The new side activities are a welcome addition too.
Ultimate team returns with lots of improvements to the gameplay, setting clear paths for you to build the best team possible with all of your favourite players. A brand new field pass gives you lots of rewards during your time in the mode. Complete objectives for specific rewards within the new Field Pass system. You will find 3 different Field Passes at launch: Season, Competitive, and Program. The Season Pass lasts for two months and has some special rewards tied to it. The first reward you earn is Coach Madden himself so you can have him coaching on the sidelines. At Level 50, you’ll see an All- Madden version of former Raider and Coach Madden favorite, Dave Casper. There will be an initial set of objectives that earn you XP and more will continue to be released as the Season progresses
With the new modes out the way you are probably wondering how the gameplay is this year. PS5 and Xbox Series X users will be able to make use of FieldSENSE. Passing has been improved thanks to more refined passing options, giving you more control and accuracy over where the ball will fall. It takes some getting used to but it’s worth trying out to see if it improves your game, if you prefer a more classic style however you can just swap back to that. New animations during plays see players performing mid-air knockouts and standing tackles to force turnovers. There is a noticeable difference to Wide Receivers vs Defensive Backs too, its nice to see some focus on other areas of the field.
As you would expect from any EA sports game. The presentation is fantastic. The detail that goes into every stadium is enough to distract you from the actual matches themselves, coaches and teammates get animated according to on field action while teams in the field look better than ever. It’s not always perfect, players body part contort in odd ways and collisions cause odd reactions. They do nail the big hits though and they are satisfying as ever. Commentary is still brilliant although at times they talk over the referee which makes it difficult to understand what decision has been made.
There are lots of improvements to Madden 23 this year that make it a worthwhile purchase for hardcore and casual players, the tributes to John Madden are excellent and the game looks amazing, there s something for everyone in this game.