Madden 23: The ultimate tribute to the ultimate coach

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JOSEPH BIANCHINI, SPORTS EDITOR

On December 28, 2022, football icon John Madden died at the age of 85. Madden was one of the NFL’s most influential figures, being a legendary coach, an awesome broadcaster, and the namesake for the NFL’s official video game. Madden NFL 23 just released, and it’s safe to say that EA Sports went all out on the game this year in honor of John Madden’s legacy.

Madden 22 was really just an awful video game. Modes like Superstar KO and Face of the Franchise were neglected, and Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) got way too crazy way too quickly. It got to the point where players were running around with running back Derrick Henry at QB and legend defensive lineman Ed “Too Tall” Jones at wide receiver. 

The gameplay was subpar too, as the only way to get a defensive stop was with a prayer to the Madden gods, and all you had to do to score is roll out with a fast quarterback and throw a crossing or corner route to a tall receiver. The game had a ton of glitches too, and it was just frustrating to play a game where everyone runs the same plays with the same players.

The community complained about all of these things, and Madden listened. Defenders now pick up on crossing routes running behind them. Tackling is more realistic. Ball carriers can cut on a dime like they can in real life. The gameplay just feels more authentic and doesn’t have a meta meaning that anyone can be successful with any team and any scheme.

Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) now has a battle pass system called “Field Passes,” giving more incentive for players to grind the game instead of just emptying their wallets for a good team. There are competitive game modes and casual game modes now, meaning that a kid who got Madden for Christmas won’t play their first online game against a grown man who has thrown $20,000 at EA Sports.

Franchise has been improved to be an overall more immersive process. You are now able to put more players and draft picks into trades than just two, and you have more control over your game plans and front office decisions.

Face of the Franchise has been improved as well. You can now select from five different positions: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, cornerback, and linebacker. This year, you are placed into free agency after playing out your rookie contract, and sign a one-year “prove-it” deal to earn a longer and larger contract.

With it being a new game and a ton of players wanting to get some Madden in, the servers have been really slow and there have been a handful of glitches including ones that entirely lock players out of MUT. 

Madden NFL 23 is not perfect by any means at all, but it is the most authentic Madden to date and has been an absolute blast to play. If you have a next-generation console and a love for football, Madden 23 is a good game. Although it is essentially irrelevant for current-generation consoles, it is still the best Madden since possibly Madden 13.