Madden 23 makes a name for itself within the franchise. While its FieldSENSE feature makes it one of the better feelings Madden’s to this date, it’s the bugs and old issues that don’t make it look like a new Madden. It just comes across as a roster update.
While most sports simulators have seen some sort of graphic redesign or visual improvements, Madden 23 actually focuses its attention elsewhere. That elsewhere is adding in the “new” FieldSENSE feature to make for a much more refined gaming experience. It’s Madden‘s FieldSENSE however that is the only feature carrying this review on its back.
With FieldSENSE gamers can now have a bit more control over what’s happening on the field. For example, an added addition to the Madden series is the Skill-Based Passing system. This system allows players to have a bit more control over where the ball can be thrown. It comes with a passing meter and an accuracy reticule. It’s a system that was revisited from Madden 18 but is now a bit more polished. The traditional button prompts and player abilities make a return as well.
This “all-new” FieldSENSE gameplay system in Madden NFL 23 is supposed to “equip players with more control at every position in every mode and is a new foundation for consistent, ultra-realistic gameplay.” Players shouldn’t be fooled – FieldSENSE is not anything new or revolutionary. FieldSENSE is just different features from older Madden titles with a tune-up and a fresh coat of paint. I’ve said before that it was Madden‘s FieldSENSE feature that is carrying this review on its back. While that’s true the bar itself is low this year.
Madden 23 is full of bugs, glitches, and server issues. Let’s look at Madden Ultimate Team. Even weeks after its launch the mode still refuses to let players in to play the popular game mode. Error messages of internet connection issues or server outages would only fill the screen, It took days before I was finally granted access. Even when playing challenges and in-game missions, they wouldn’t be marked as completed most times. At some points at the beginning of the game, I would automatically be greeted with a prompt stating I failed a challenge. I haven’t even begun the challenge or even have seen the field first. Yet EA will still charge players money for a game mode that won’t even function properly not only at launch but weeks after it.
Even with this “new” FieldSENSE, players would clip into each other or footballs would phase through them. Besides some new touchdown celebrations, animations seem to have no touch-ups whatsoever compared to previous Madden‘s. It all seems rigid and rough. There’s just no fluidity to be found. Game modes such as The Yard are unchanged, and the Face of Franchise is a wannabe NBA 2K story mode with no direction whatsoever. Franchise mode got a little touch up but again those touch-ups include a new interface which comes with almost every Madden and features that were stripped from older titles . It all just comes off as lazy.
In terms of graphics, as mentioned before, Madden 23 looks the generally the same when compared to previous instalments. John Madden passed away on Dec. 28, 2021, at age 85. The opening sequence and certain segments serve as a tribute to Madden. I will admit that these highlights do justice in paying respect in a creative and amazing format. Other than those instances players will be looking at a copy-and-paste Madden instalment. Sadly I was hoping for more than just that. A few cinematics and a play now of the AFC Vs the NFC at the beginning of the game doesn’t work for me. Madden 23 is supposed to be honoring Madden’s legacy but instead, it feels like EA used his homage as a cash grab from fans.
Madden 23 is a rehash of all the previous Madden‘s in the series. Bits and pieces were taken from those games and labelled as new. Even though FieldSENSE was refurbished I still strongly believe that it gave Madden 23 its shine. What good is that shine however when the game is covered with bugs and laziness? I’m not saying this game had to be perfect. Other sports simulation titles have their own share of problems. What separates Madden from them however is EA decides to mix the old problems with the new ones. Instead of fixing it, they go and do the same thing next year.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.