Is Madden finally at the level of the PS5 and the Xbox Series? After a first failure two seasons ago, a fairly dull episode last year, the American football simulation is trying to put the package with Fieldsense, a technology to deepen the gameplay. Focus on Madden NFL 23, in tribute to Jonh 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 a 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 lending his voice since 1988, and his name to the cult license across the Atlantic. 44 years later, he is on the cover of Madden NFL 23, a tribute edition. At the height?
In addition to being on the cover, John Madden also has the right to be present on the introductory loading screen, and in the game to discover the new gameplay of the title. A « Legacy » showdown with Madden coaching both all-star teams for each conference. A nice little wink, allowing you to see most of the new gameplay features described below, but above all an ever more lively transcription of the show. From commentary by Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis, replays, on-screen stats, and ever more realistic stadium and crowd modeling, Madden has reached the pinnacle of realism in the field of ambiance. However, the saga has still not been opened to the public and US football fans in France. Madden NFL 23, however, still does not offer a French translationfor comments or texts.
A more complete Fieldsense, but not breathtaking
EA Sports loves small gameplay tweaks in its 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 in order to have the most faithful animations possible. Madden introduces Fieldsense technology exclusively on next-gen consoles this season. Like Hypermotion, it introduces many new animations during the actions, such as aerial defenses or contact between players away from the ball. It’s rather pleasant compared to previous games, even if some visual bugs taint some of them. There are also new animations on the side of the field as a bonus, with an assistant coach holding back the angry head coach for example. A great moment of sport.
In addition to the always gargantuan playbooks (the choice of defensive or offensive systems depending on the team’s position), experienced quarterbacks will be able to enjoy a new pass system that can be activated in the menus, with a timing system to throw the ball. Additionally, the Fieldsense incorporates new moves to dodge defenders. The title keeps Momentums, visible for the duration of the match above the score. As a reminder, each team has a Momentum gauge which fills up as good actions are taken (a good defense or a sack – tackle from the opposing quarterback -, a successful attempt or a touchdown…). This gauge is divided into two or three levels, and the team playing at home reaches the first one more quickly. Each level gives a boost 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, named Face to the Franchise, disappointed last year via its scenario which 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 more scenario ! The player is a free agent and can integrate a team a few minutes after the launch of the mode, which will have to be chosen according to salary, objectives… The path taken by the license this season risks dividing the career.
The Yard mode, a « Street » version of US Football with 6 vs 6 matches on reduced pitches (80 yards), up to three players in co-op is still there, as is the Superstars KO mode. A mode similar to the battle-royale where you have to eliminate your opponents online one by one with rules like « register first a Touchdown » to win. It’s the slightly folky part of Madden NFLwhere the real interest is to have fun online with a player to fully customize, in the attributes or the outfit often… flashy.
Finally, if Ultimate Team mode isn’t really moving, the Franchise mode where the player embodies a manager to lead a team hides some new features. It is possible to scrutinize the Free agency (the market for players without a team) with new selection parameters, or to 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 more time-consuming modes that can be played online is getting bigger, which is not a bad thing.
- New animations on and off the field
- Good transcription of the show
- Great possibilities of attacks and defenses
- Momentum, a real good idea
- Bigger Franchise and Ultimate Team modes
- Excellent mods on PS5/XSX
- The Fieldsense fleshes out the gameplay a bit…
- …but don’t revolutionize it
- A scenario that does not exist in career or franchise mode
- Bland menus despite 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 usual greedy in number of game modes, faithful to the level of modeling and the show offered, but is still slowed down on certain points. The American football simulation is still not translated, decided this year to offer a career mode without a scenario, and is unfortunately not spared from certain visual bugs. EA Tiburon will still be able to rely on the small changes made to its gameplay with Fieldsense technology for the next games, full of potential.
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