Every summer around the same time in August, Madden releases its latest installment a few weeks prior to the start of another exciting season of football. This year, Madden 23 launched a week ago on August 19th, much to the happiness as well as disappointment for sports games fans across the community.

Though the prices for games haven’t changed much for years, fans are generally pretty decisive and calculated about which ones they’ll return to or want to give a try, particularly if the price tag is reasonable. Whether it’s a worthwhile investment upon purchasing it, is always going to be a bit of a gamble depending on how high your expectations are and what you’re looking for in a new game.

That said, should you be a returning Madden player or not, this review is here to help by bringing you the awareness you’re looking for on Madden 23. With a lot to cover and plenty of details to touch up on, this review will tackle the core topics Madden 23 has to offer, including new graphics, gameplay, returning modes, and new features.

On that note, let’s dive into the new world Madden 23 has provided us this year.

READ NOW: Check out how to complete catches in Madden 23 here.

Curtesy of EA Sports Madden 23

Graphics [Grade: A-]

One of the biggest factors about any new game fans will assess, starts with the graphics and imagery they will get to experience. Since technology and game consoles are only evolving with better and better ways to produce vivid, life-like gaming content, the demand for better graphics has become very important, and in Madden 23, the quality of the visuals really comes to life.

Starting with the players – from the facial features, to the hair, to the muscular definition, to the jersey wrinkles, helmet indents, and moving towels – the graphics are clean and precise, placing you within one of the best Madden settings we’ve experienced over the last three years.

But bringing that feeling even more to life, are the additional elements that can be seen in the stadium and on the turf. Be it the crowd, the lighting, the shadows, the hew of colors in the sky, or unique traditions you can differentiate from each stadium, the intricacy of visual details that Madden 23 has continued to build on is impressive and provides users with the best on field experience we’ve seen from the franchise in quite some time.

Essentially, the ultimate graphics goal that Madden tries to target with each edition they produce, boils down to how closely they can make their visual features look like an actual televised NFL game. Though some of the looks of certain faces are a bit exaggerated, it’s safe to say that Madden 23 is the closest the franchise has reached with granting gamers the most realistic visuals we can compare to a live NFL game.

Deep Dive FieldSENSE Trailer Curtesy From EA Sports Madden 23

Gameplay [Grade: A-]

When it comes to the most important feature of gaming, many if not all, will say its gameplay. Gameplay is the essence of what gaming is. And in Madden 23, the smoothness and clean flow with the player movement was a big upgrade.

The biggest component and best part about the gameplay that Madden 23 implemented in their new game (now more than ever), is the amount of control you have on both sides of the ball.

For those of you playing next-gen consoles, you will experience this most through Madden 23’s all-new FieldSENSE feature. This enhanced the level of control you have with every decision you will make in each and every play you run on offense and defense. FieldSENSE gives you four new types of gameplay that are game-changing to Madden. Let’s go through each:

  1. Hit Everything: The first and potentially the most enjoyable for some, is the ‘Hit Everything’ feature. With new mechanics that allow you to be far more disruptive with your pursuit, Madden 23 introduced all-new Hit Stick physics that let you cause turnovers using stand up tackles, obliterate blocks, and perform new mid-air knockdowns to force incompletions. The feel for the defensive physicality hit a whole new level and next-gen players can enjoy that in full with ‘Hit Everything.’
  1. Skill-Based Passing: In previous Madden’s, a reoccurring issue with passing was that of ‘pass lead’, which often wasn’t as a reliable or accurate with the throws you would make. This year though, Madden 23 decided to up their game and grant you the chance to use your left stick and full swing of motion with it, to serve as your new form of directional passing, opening a far wider range of specific windows you can exploit. Skill-based passing also comes with a new accuracy reticle and passing meter.
  1. 360 Cuts: The next big feature Madden 23 decided to introduce this year, was 360 Cuts. When running in previous editions, it wasn’t hard to notice that the left stick didn’t always provide the control that was needed, sometimes leading a runner to pull off a move or turn into a direction the gamer didn’t intend to execute. With this new feature, you can now use your left stick while holding down L2 to find and explode through any gap or direction as you see it.
  1. WR vs DB Battles: Though this new feature is more useful for a mode such as Face of the Franchise (2 of the 5 positions available to play are WR and DB), this facet can be applied in all other modes as well and makes for a fun area of concentration to focus on and explore during games. With a whole new range of wide receiver release moves available as well as new press mechanics for DBs in coverage, the battles between both positions makes for a fun showdown to engage in.

For next-gen console players, FieldSENSE is a major reason why the gameplay received such a high grade in this review. And if you haven’t purchased the game just yet, this should be the reason why if you do.

For those of you that don’t own a next-gen console (such as myself), this is a big part of the game you will not get to try out and you can definitely notice the impact without it. Upon playing the Standard Edition and then watching the deep dive closely above, it’s not hard to notice the lack of fluidity and refinement with the movement, limited leeway of directional passing, and by far not the same physical sway with the tackling.

Franchise Mode Deep Dive Curtesy From EA Sports Madden 23

Game Modes [Grade: B-]

  1. Franchise Mode [Grade: A-] What made Franchise Mode such an awesome mode this year, was how precise and realistic they made the players and coaching management experiences. Starting with the preparation over the course of the preseason where you’re tasked with selecting your lineup and training your players, Franchise Mode has a more integrated feel in Madden 23 and you get to experience that every week before game day with the tasks you’ve have to handle.From pulling up game strategies and goals with your coaching staff, to managing your scouts, to improving your players with skills, you get a firm feel for just how involved it is to run a team throughout the regular season while leading them to new heights.Come free agency, that’s where things get really interesting. For starters, money was usually at the forefront of enticing players in previous Madden editions. However, this year Madden added a more personal feel to it, adding other motivations and tags to the list of things players will factor in before signing with a new team. Some of these motives include players evaluating whether a team is close to home, if it’s a tax-free state, or if the team has a franchise quarterback, all real-life things players do consider when playing for team. In addition, Madden threw in an Active Negotiating feature, which makes the free agency bidding war a calculated yet exciting endeavour.
    In short, there’s plenty to rave about in Franchise Mode, including draft class improvements and draft and trade logic that helps teams select players for positions in need. But this form of engagement is what makes it so fun, as it grants you one of the best managerial experiences a sports game can offer.
  1. Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) [Grade: C-] Considering I’ve played NBA 2K MyTEAM, FIFA Ultimate Team, and MLB The Show’s Diamond Dynasty, Madden Ultimate Team is Top 2 on the list (with FIFA) for its demand of just how much time and effort you need to log in just to get a viable team that’s decorated with 90 overalls or higher.Though the challenges are fun and the prizes steady, the demand is far greater than the rewards you reap. As a result, it’s either plug away for hours or become peer pressured to buy better cards and players (be it through packs or not). The trick that’s made games like NBA 2K and MLB so successful with their ‘Ultimate Teams’, comes down to how deep the variety of efficient, easy ways they offer gamers to get high level cards. The more work you give the fans to deal with, the less they’ll want to invest in, especially when the prizes don’t match their effort.
    If you do find yourself with the patience to plug away with MUT, they did do a good job with the selection of Headliners, Team Affinity, and All Madden cards they’ve offered so far. Once you have those players, the game mode does become easier to play and far more enjoyable as your squad ascends to new heights.
  1. Face of the Franchise [Grade D+] In all honesty, this is the one mode that I didn’t get to sink my teeth in, so there’s only so much I’ll be able to review on Face of the Franchise at the moment. That said, there’s still plenty to be aware of so we’re going to go over the details and see why this mode got the grade it did.Before we dive into the good parts, let’s look at some of biggest downsides and frustrations that comes with his mode. The first is the reality that Madden 23 hasn’t shied away from making this mode their experimentation project. That might not be a bad thing for some. But considering the frequent changes and inconsistencies from year to year, the lack of guarantees with knowing what to look forward or not, has become a frustrating truth for fans.Because of their lack of ability to formulate a strong foundation and then build off it such as MyPlayer in NBA 2K, you can tell that Madden’s sense of direction with this format was far from clear and what they opted to deliver, wasn’t their best step forward with this game mode.That all said, it’s not that the mode is so bad that it’s not worth giving a try, especially if you like the how you can build up your player. Starting off the game as an underutilized free agent, right away you get to try out Madden’s upgraded free agent contract board, which allows you to pick the team you want to play for but also construct the contract you feel is fair. This is important because depending on where you go, your role will vary depending on how much talent is in that given position for the team you’re signing with.
    The second aspect that Madden did improve on, was there player-locked gameplay, a very key feature in ‘Face of the Franchise’. Whether it’s the camera work or the sharper core mechanics, the feel for your player is a lot more authentic and accurate, something that is important for modes like this. Madden 23 did add the CB position for the first time, which grants gamers a fresh new feel for a different position to try out.

Curtesy of EA Sports Madden 23

Tribute To John Madden

Following the passing last winter of the legendary former head coach and broadcaster John Madden, Madden 23 went all out in their latest installment to thank him for the profound impact he’s had on so many lives and households that he was able to teach the game of football to.

To honor him, Madden 23 created the John Madden Legacy Game, a mode that allows you to play with either the AFC or NFC lineups of Coach Madden’s favorite players throughout NFL history against the other. During the game, you not only get to learn about who John Madden was, but you also get to hear broadcast recordings of his discussing certain skills and aspects about the players in his Legacy game.

Though he’s no longer with us, John Madden will always live on through the game he pioneered, something Madden 23 made sure to address and bring to life in their newest game of the franchise.

Final Score [Grade: B+]

With only one week of exposure to a brand-new game, there’s still a lot left to be seen and get acquainted with, especially for something like MUT, which could improve as the season progresses. But coming out of the gate, this is an accurate and fair grade for a game that did put in a lot of effort to elevate the playing experience to a whole new level.

If you get the next-gen console version, this game would receive closer to a 9 rating because of how drastically different the experience is with FieldSENSE. Without it however, you still get a good game but not a great one, which is why the score resulted as an 8.

That said, as a Standard Edition user, I can say that it was worth the purchase and I intend to continue to play it. I’m also a big football fan and with the season commencing so soon, it’s challenging not to gravitate towards it. But from Franchise Mode and Madden Ultimate Team, to the Gameplay and Graphics, to the unforgettable tribute to John Madden, this game checked off a lot of boxes on the quality scale and deserves a solid round of applause for its work.

But, for those that want more clarity and more insight, I aim to update this article upon playing this game for another month to get a better sense of what its truly made of. So stay tuned!

Production Details

Developer: EA Tiburon

Publisher: EA Sports, Electronic Arts

Available on: Xbox One (reviewed on), PS4, Xbox Series X, PS5, and PC

Release Date: August 19, 2022

To check what a review score means from us, click here.

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