Is Madden finally at the level of PS5 and Xbox Series? After a first flop two seasons ago, a rather dull episode last year, the football sim is trying to pack the pack with Fieldsense, a technology to deepen gameplay. Focus on Madden NFL 23, in tribute to John Madden.
On December 28, 2021, John Madden died in California at the age of 85. A heavy blow then fell on the National American Football League, the all-powerful NFL. The former player had seen his career blocked by serious injury, before becoming one of the historic coaches of the Oakland Raiders between 1969 and 1978, with a championship at stake in ’76. A career as a consultant followed for Fox, from commentator to lend his voice since 1988, and his name to the cult license across the Atlantic. 44 years later, he appears on the cover of Madden NFL 23, a tribute edition. At the height ?
In addition to being on the cover, John Madden is also entitled to be present at the introductory loading screen and in-game to discover the new gameplay for the title. A “Legacy” matchup with Madden coaching both all-star teams for each conference. A nice little nod that lets you see most of the new gameplay features outlined below, but mostly an increasingly lively transcript of the show. Drawing on commentary from Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis, replays, on-screen stats, and increasingly realistic stadium and crowd models, Madden has reached the pinnacle of ambient realism. However, the saga has not yet been opened to the public and American soccer fans in France. Madden NFL 23, however, does not yet offer a French translationfor comments or texts.
A more complete Fieldsense, but not impressive
EA Sports loves little game tweaks to their sports licenses. On PS5 and Xbox Series, FIFA players were able to discover Hypermotion, a technology where the movements of dozens of players are scanned to have the most faithful animations possible. Madden introduces Fieldsense technology exclusively on next-gen consoles this season. Like Hypermotion, it features many new animations during actions, such as aerial defenses or contact between players away from the ball. It’s quite enjoyable compared to previous games, even if some visual bugs do taint some of them. There are also new pitchside animations as a bonus, with an assistant coach stopping the angry head coach, for example. A great moment of sport.
In addition to the always gigantic playbooks (the choice of defensive or offensive systems depending on the team’s position), experienced quarterbacks will enjoy a new pass system that can be activated in the menus, with a timing system to launch the ball. In addition, Fieldsense incorporates new movements to avoid defenders. The title holds Momentums, visible for the duration of the match above the score. As a reminder, each team has a Momentum gauge that fills up as good actions are taken (a good defense or sack, a successful attempt or a touchdown…). This caliber is divided into two or three tiers, with the team playing at home getting to first faster. Each level gives a push to progress more easily or a penalty to the opponent.
When it comes to game modes, nothing new under the sun. The career mode where you control a player, called Face to the Franchise, disappointed last year because of its scenario that was divided into 5 chapters until the Draft and the player’s entry into the NFL. No more worries this year, there is almost no stage ! The player is a free agent and can join a team a few minutes after the launch of the modality, which will have to be chosen based on salary, objectives… The path that the license has taken this season risks dividing the race.
Yard mode, a “Street” version of US Football with 6v6 matches on small fields (80 yards), up to three player co-op is still available, as is Superstars KO mode. A battle-royale-like mode where you have to eliminate your opponents online one by one with rules like “register a Touchdown first” to win. It’s the bit folk part of Madden NFLwhere the real interest is to have fun online with a player to fully customize, in attributes or often… flashy outfit.
Finally, if Ultimate Team mode isn’t really moving, the Franchise mode where the player embodies a manager to lead a team hides some novelties. It is possible to scrutinize free agency (the player market without teams) with new selection parameters, or recruit “scouts”. The latter are recruiters who will go and identify the nuggets of tomorrow or the available players who will suit you. In short, already dense, one of the main and slowest modes that can be played online is getting bigger and bigger, which is not bad at all.
- New animations on and off the field.
- Good transcript of the show.
- Great chances of attacks and defenses
- Boost, a very good idea
- Bigger Franchise and Ultimate Team modes
- Excellent mods on PS5/XSX
- Fieldsense develops the gameplay a bit…
- …but don’t rev it
- A stage that does not exist in career or franchise mode
- Smooth menus despite the tribute edition.
- Still some visual and technical bugs.
- Exclusively in English (text and voice)
The slap will not be for this episode tribute to John Madden. Madden NFL 23 is, as ever, greedy on the number of game modes, true to the level of modeling and spectacle on offer, but still slows down at certain points. The American football simulation is not yet translated, it decided this year to offer a career mode without a stage and, unfortunately, it is not free from certain visual errors. EA Tiburon will still be able to rely on the small changes made to your game with Fieldsense technology for future games full of potential.
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