Madden NFL 23 review

Madden NFL 23 review

Madden NFL 23

Madden NFL 23

At this point it seems like a chore for Madden NFL developers. Once again, as grid season kicks into action, the internet laments lack of progress and “laziness,” dragging Madden NFL 23’s user score to Metacritic and lamenting the lack of progress.

This is the fate of nearly every annual sports game, of course (although Madden seems particularly susceptible to fan fury) and in the position of the industry’s most prolific sports simulator producer, you hope for their own good that the developers at EA have enough skin. thick to keep calm and move on.

But here’s the thing: it’s not true. Not quite anyway. Annual updates are always a mess of trade-offs, and areas that need improvement are often overlooked as the focus is elsewhere. Think of it as an NFL team rebuild – you can’t trade a stellar quarterback, keep your big contracts, and repair the entire defensive unit in one go … the cap won’t allow that. Time and resources, always a pain, huh?

This does not mean that the annual sports game must be immune from criticism, far from it. And there are a lot of things off-screen in Madden NFL 23 that have definitely been stuck since last year’s game. The improvement over last year’s Franchise mode has slowed down this time around, with more details in college scouting and free will negotiation notable changes. The Face of the Franchise single player career has tried to mix things up by making you a released sophomore player looking for a contract to a new team to prove yourself in the league. An idea with legs, but the real “story” and the progression are rather superficial.

Madden NFL 23

Madden NFL 23

Madden Ultimate Team, often controversial and card collector, has tried to address pay-to-win criticism with earned “Field Passes” that empower your team. But these modes are inherently fee-based based on microtransactions, and while Field Passes prove to be a decent addition, they’re primarily a patch. And there is obviously something wrong with its more expensive premium packages, to the point where famous Madden streamers are going on “strike” for the small reward they get for splashing around. The fast-paced, small-scale arcade mode The Yard returns for the third year. But, since few players actually participate, it also works in vain.

None of this means that these ways to play aren’t worth it. I feel you are in or out with Ultimate Team (FIFA and NHL included); I don’t like it, but there are reasons why they are EA’s most popular (and profitable) game modes. And for me, the glow for last year’s Franchise mode retains a lot of charm. But the incremental (at best) improvement off the court seems to all be in the service of one thing: that this is the best Madden on the court.

Yes, this is a statement that is often repeated when the latest edition of a sports game arrives. And, let’s face it, something will have gone wrong if the developers manage to make a worse game even in a creaky development cycle. It happens, of course, ideas and tweaks that just don’t stick together, but Madden NFL 23 is a genuine and noticeable advantage over what happened before.

As usual, EA has covered its improvements with easy marketing “FieldSense”, which is its shortcut to “make the game better”. Aside from something to put on the back of the box, I suspect this is due to the fact that these changes sound disappointing on their own but all add up to a solid and satisfying football game.

Most notable is the new passing system which allows you much more control over your shots. In addition to modifiers that allow you to throw bombs or throw low projectile passes across the scrimmage line, you can now slightly blur or curve passages with a simple push of the stick. It gives you a much better chance of dropping the arched passages into the gaps in the cover. Madden is unique in his thrill of nerves and excitement after the shot as you explore your options on the court with 6ft and 3.17 stone linebackers charging at you. Spotting a free secondary runner and dropping him directly in his path with a gentle push of the stick is immensely satisfying.

Madden NFL 23

Madden NFL 23

Ground play also sees you having an extra touch of control, with ball carriers being able to cut more effectively while the plethora of moves available while running, such as the truck, are more responsive and effective. And if it seems like the focus is on offensive play, the defense has its changes. Some of the boxed contrasts have been dropped, so there’s a lot more response to what you’re doing. Defensive AI has also been enhanced; the passing run is much more aggressive and effective, blocking the quarterbacks in the hole and giving them only a few seconds to release the ball. I’ve seen very little of the over-effective shuffling of recent Maddens. Misplaced or poorly chosen passes will also be engulfed in cover, meaning turnovers are far more of a risk to careless play.

Overall, it appears that you have a greater influence on the game after the snap, but that doesn’t mean that game calls are reduced. Quite the contrary, as improved defensive AI makes strategic decisions more crucial than ever on both sides of the line.

Okay, that’s what I’m trying to say, even if these improvements are subtle in isolation. And there are still some inheritance issues that are more difficult to iron out. While those default animations have been cut down, in some games you still get the feeling that some results are decided with a split second ahead of time to get a fancy looking catch or delete. Still a few meters to go, but Madden has made some real progress on the pitch.

Off screen … not so much. It seems EA Tiburon has a conundrum here as there is both too much and not enough when it comes to Madden’s modes. Persevering with things like The Yard and Face of the Franchise to keep the options broad is fine, but when no aspect of the game is given full attention, Everything feels raw.

The obvious answer, apparently, is a reboot of root and branch; undress and focus on what’s important – as 23 alludes with its tributes to the late John Madden and beautiful changes in the field – but if you do, you’re open to criticism for not offering a more complete package. The fight continues, 4th and thumbs, decisions to be made. But it’s up to EA to deal with it. Meanwhile, if you can look beyond his shortcomings, Madden NFL 23 delivers what its famous namesake coach would simply call “good football.”

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