Starting off our Madden 23 beta impressions, it’s worth noting that growing up in the United States – sports meant a lot to me. As a tall child who liked to run around, sports were a nobrainer for me to get out a lot of energy and frustrations I had. Adults would look at me and ask me what kind of athlete I would want to be when I grew up.
Most adults would push me towards basketball, football, and even soccer. As I got older and taller, soccer was replaced with volleyball. When not practicing or playing a sport, I would spend time playing shooters or sports games. Typically, my off days would consist of Call of Duty, Need for Speed, WWE, Madden, and FIFA.
Early into college, sports became less of a priority to me; this was primarily due to the number of head injuries I sustained while playing sports. With the sports dream behind me, I started to focus more on competitive shooters, freelance writing, school, and occasionally Madden tournaments.
The love of Madden would stay with me despite no longer being able to play football; however, throughout the years, I – like many others – noticed a trend with the Madden franchise. Rather than adding features and improving the game, the game either stayed the same or lost features.
So instead of purchasing the annual Madden, I like many others decided to take breaks in between games and just update the rosters manually. In fact, prior to the Madden 23 beta, the last two Madden’s I bothered to play were Madden 14 and Madden 18.
So going into the Madden 23 beta, there were low expectations. What made matters worse was I was unable to access the beta originally despite being given access; in fact, it took over two weeks to access it after being granted permission to join. So did the Madden 23 closed beta improve our thoughts on the franchise?
Madden 23 Gameplay
Going into the Madden 23 Beta, I expected that only two or four teams would be available to play as; instead, I was pleasantly surprised when all 32 NFL Football teams were available to choose between. When booting up the demo, I had the option to choose between three game modes; the three game modes available are online play, Madden Ultimate Team (MUT), and Play Now.
By far, MUT was the least impressive game mode. Players can start developing their team by doing challenges but the rewards for each challenge felt rather lackluster. In order to get a better reward, players must complete more difficult challenges; sadly, the reward from these challenges compared to the easier difficulty reward felt insignificant.
This reminded me that MUT is ultimately a cash grab and with no real way to spend money, the game mode itself felt rather lackluster. Expect to see some free MUT packs when Madden 23 releases later this year with the special edition of the game or Prime Gaming rewards.
In Play Now, I was able to choose between all 32 NFL football teams. When highlighting a team, the game shows the top 3 Star players for each team; each team’s three players will be showcased in a video package at the start of the match. Players must then choose what type of gameplay they want the AI to compete at between Arcade, Simulation, or competitive.
Once that has been completed, players then must choose their offensive and defensive playstyle for the first half. Unless you know each team’s style beforehand, this selection process can be rather infuriating; at halftime, players can change the playstyle but the other team can change theirs as well.
This process can be rather infuriating while playing online. Not only will it impact your basic playbook but it will also affect the audibles you can call in between plays. If an opposing player figures out the decided team playbook early on in the game, it can make the game less than enjoyable.
What makes matters worse is that most players will take as much time as they can to milk the clock when picking plays and will wait to see what play formation you pick before they chose their own. Ultimately, this is a sign of disrespect and to an extent a lack of sportsmanship.
Bugs or Intense Difficulty
On top of other players’ inconsiderate playstyle, the game’s AI would make matters worse. Even on lower difficulties, the AI in Madden 23‘s beta made some Godlike plays that seem inconceivable.
Occasionally while playing, there were issues where player collisions were not detected, the ball would pass through players, and occasionally there would be weird in-game effects. On the sideline, some players and coaches would have limbs rainbow-colored or be rainbow-colored completely.
Fans would sometimes look correct but other times they would look like they were in agony. After monumental plays, players can select a celebration; at times, this celebration would go off without a hitch, but on other occasions, weird stuff would happen. These bugs reminded me of some of the horrifying moments in WWE 2K20.
As someone who grew up playing Madden, Madden 23‘s beta has not convinced me to invest money into EAs latest game, let alone come back to the franchise. Yes, the building blocks are there for Madden NFL 23 to be a great football game, but from what I experienced in the beta, it still has room to improve.
If you are a diehard fan of the Madden franchise, you will enjoy Madden 23; however, if you are someone who is sick of the direction that Madden has gone, then I’d recommend skipping it or try playing the open beta. Worst case scenario, wait for a Madden 23 demo.