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Madden 23 Beta Gameplay Thoughts - Game of Inches

madden nfl 23 beta impressions

Madden NFL 23

Madden 23 Beta Gameplay Thoughts - Game of Inches

After playing the beta since its initial release and witnessing multiple patches and tweaks, I have seen fantastic new additions and enhancements, some odd happenings, a large number of glitches, and enough to know that it is still Madden, but a different style of Madden than we have seen in some time. While Josh gave his gameplay impressions from earlier in the beta, I’m here now to give some more Madden 23 beta gameplay thoughts as the beta winds down.

Madden 23 Beta Gameplay Thoughts

madden 23 beta

Presentation And Graphics

Playing on a PS5, the graphical improvement was instantly noticeable, and as I spent more time with the beta, the presentation style for the game both on and off the field started to work more for me. From different wipes and dissolves that mimic an actual modern broadcast to new intro screens and flyovers, the presentation did exactly what I have wanted for a long time. It brought the venue to life in a way that makes it feel like a living and breathing atmosphere full of authenticity.

Is there more that can be done? Of course, but this new direction is a significant step in the right direction, and the new inclusions do an excellent job of pulling me into the world of Madden and making me feel like I am part of something rather than just standing idly by as a witness. Not to be outdone, the developers at EA have also done a commendable job bringing the real-world venues to life and adding a high level of depth to the stadium atmosphere. This includes things like detailed sidelines where players look to have a purpose to catwalks and concourses full of fans walking and migrating.

The exterior shots of each stadium also add that extra bit of flair for me. Seeing Soldier Field with the skyline nestling just off in the distance really hit home for me.

Quarterback Play

madden 23 beta qb

During my time behind center, I needed to read a defense and understand what the matchups were in Madden 23 — knowing which wide receivers could evade the press of the defensive back and find space for an easy(er) throw-and-catch scenario. That already feels like an excellent step forward. I felt less inclined to resort to “money” plays and instead started thinking about football again.

Trying to play the Madden 23 beta like prior Madden games ended with catastrophic results. Instead, I was forced to look over the line, scan the field, and think in terms of actual football to find some success. However, that success was still hard to come by through the air, at least on a consistent basis. I would even say I was frustrated at times, but somehow that frustration was welcomed. It created a feeling of excitement and freshness. Sure, maybe the interceptions were over the top, but it is a beta, and I’m sure the interceptions will be toned down by the time the game hits retail — or I need to get a lot better at passing the ball.

Lastly, while this is less about quarterback play, it is nice seeing both the defensive back and the intended receiver recognize the ball is in the air and make adjustments to put themselves in the best possible position to make a play.

Player Models

madden 23 beta secondary play

This is not something you will find in a tagline or in many reviews, but the subtle changes to the player models made an immediate impact for me. I have always felt like Madden player models looked good in a way that was aesthetically pleasing but seemed to lack an authentic look compared to what we see on TV.

While the changes aren’t drastic, they’re enough to warrant a mention and a show of appreciation. Player models now feel a bit more realistic looking for each position on the field, and each player looks slimmed down, yet toned up in the right areas. When you see the changes combined on the field, it delivers enough of a visual improvement to raise the game another notch for me.

FieldSENSE

Madden 23 beta physics

FieldSense feels like another buzzword that is commonly used and quickly forgotten in many sports games. Still, if you listen to EA, it equips players with more control at every position in every mode and is a new foundation for consistent, ultra-realistic gameplay. That’s a hefty statement, and forgive me if I still remain a bit skeptical.

That said, while it’s still early, I am willing to eat a bit of crow here and admit that while the description of FieldSense is a bit too all-encompassing, its implementation can be felt all over the field. From seeing it visually when utilizing my running back to participating in mid-air collisions, the new gameplay interactions incorporating new physics and branching animations add a new layer of excitement to the game.

I have seen some wonky stuff happen while playing, and that is to be expected with a new system during a beta, but consistently seeing players on the field act and react in ways that make football sense is a welcomed addition.

Yes, a game that describes itself as a football simulation should have this type of play at its foundational core, but that hasn’t been the case as of late with this franchise. Regardless, my early impressions are that FieldSense could be huge if the system just goes through a bit more refinement. Seeing players spin, bounce, and collide in mid-air while seeing a high level of natural physics take place is an extremely nice touch that can be seen visually and felt through a controller.

It almost feels like Madden borrowed a bit from a previous title in Backbreaker and combined it with an already existing physics system, and fans may be the biggest benefactor. This system comes through the most when utilizing a running back sneaking through a hole while getting skinny and feeling the paws of opposing players trying to grab you. The running lanes no longer feel linear but more like a jagged path that you navigate with the right combination of moves and jukes.

Speaking of jukes, seeing a player do a tight 360 spin looks much more realistic now, and during mid-air collisions I can almost feel the impact being made during the action.

madden 23 fieldsense

The bottom line here is that, while it has some issues that need to be ironed out, FieldSense does seem to be changing the game and adding a new level of authenticity to the football action. It will be interesting to see how much they can tune FieldSense between now and release to ensure the action remains fluid and somewhat physics-based while still giving the player a true sense of control.

What’s Next

There were multiple issues with the Madden 23 beta, which is expected. The real key is, can the developers tweak the game enough to clear them up while maintaining the integrity of FieldSense to have it continue to make an impact at a high level?

Even with the beta’s issues, there was an awful lot to like. However, for everything I loved, there are still concerns. I loved the noticeable differences between good NFL quarterbacks, and quarterbacks still finding their way, but the inconsistency felt a bit over the top at this juncture. Along those same lines, I loved the aggressive nature of defensive backs in certain situations, but I wanted to see more knockdowns and fewer interceptions.

I loved the new physics system and how it delivers some incredibly realistic interactions at the point of contact, but a lot needs to be cleaned up and ironed out in these areas as well in terms of game balance. I want to feel the disappointment of making a lousy read when throwing the ball or the frustration of making the wrong cut with my running back because I was simply not patient enough to wait for the block ahead of me. I want to get burned when I make a bad read on defense or miss a tackle. That is football to me. It is a game of inches, luck, and playing smart. So let the game reward and punish me in ways that seem fitting rather than cheap. Again, this is a beta for a reason, but I hope the development team doesn’t swing the pendulum too far back towards an arcade-style game while trying to find that balance.

Madden 23 is set to be released on August 19, with a three-day early access for specific purchases. Check back on OS closer to release for our final review of Madden 23.

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  1. " I loved the aggressive nature of defensive backs in certain situations, but I wanted to see more knockdowns and fewer interceptions."
    "I want to feel the disappointment of making a lousy read when throwing the ball or the frustration of making the wrong cut with my running back because I was simply not patient enough to wait for the block ahead of me."
    You can't have it both ways.
    For all of the marketing hoopla, this still very much feels like the SAME EXACT GAME you've been playing for well over the past decade, with the SAME LEGACY ISSUES. Barring the occasional "oh, that was kinda cool" moment - which are exceptionaly few and far between - the game feels and plays exactly like yester-year's version: predictable, same-y, and ULTRA STALE.
    I could do a deep dive on this subject, but I'd rather not waste my time (it's essentially pointless). Short version: Madden, in its current form, exists to function as a MUT cash-cow. The code needs to be gutted and entirely rebuilt from scratch. The only way we're going to get a fresh, new, simulation-style NFL gaming experience is when the exclusivity rights finally expire and another company takes the reigns. That's the reality of the situation.
    TFunaro
    this still very much feels like the SAME EXACT GAME you've been playing for well over the past decade

    Um. I don't see how you could possibly come to that conclusion if you logged any meaningful hands-on time with the Madden 23 beta.
    The gameplay controls are obviously more responsive than ever; not only as a ballcarrier, but at almost every skill position. There are far more animations, more opportunities for branching animations, and more animation transitions to honor those inputs and pay off the added control with fluid motion. Skill Based Passing significantly livens up the act of throwing the football. Defensive pass rush is more fierce than it has ever been, even a basic four-man rush which has never consistently threatened a Madden offense. Zone defenders have lightning-quick reaction times against poorly-timed junk throws. Even kick and punt returns feel more lively with all the new collision resolution and branching animation systems in place.
    The whole FieldSense label is marketing, sure. Ignore that. The actual implementation details of what was added on the field this year are significant and impressive. This is one of the biggest leaps forward on the field I can remember Madden making in a long time. It's just fun to play.
    i still think the sound effects-stadium atmosphere crowd noise sucks... way too quiet and not realistic reactions to game situations... i dont understand how EA continues to screw this up and cant make the game feel/sound like a real nfl stadium.
    and i hate the way players run... have a look at ezikiel elliot runs. once he is in open field he kind of bounces like a running chicken. this applies to the running animations in general. and have had numerous occasions where the running back morphs through the line.
    i still find the gameplay too fast... leans towards more of an arcade feel for me anyhow...
    whatever... EA will still sell 10 billion copies and 9 billion people with complain about the game... and then EA will move onto madden 24
    Moose31
    i still think the sound effects-stadium atmosphere crowd noise sucks... way too quiet and not realistic reactions to game situations... i dont understand how EA continues to screw this up and cant make the game feel/sound like a real nfl stadium.
    and i hate the way players run... have a look at ezikiel elliot runs. once he is in open field he kind of bounces like a running chicken. this applies to the running animations in general. and have had numerous occasions where the running back morphs through the line.
    i still find the gameplay too fast... leans towards more of an arcade feel for me anyhow...
    whatever... EA will still sell 10 billion copies and 9 billion people with complain about the game... and then EA will move onto madden 24

    Man I just don’t see this happening as bad as previous maddens! I’m really hard on madden each and every year and my only hope is they don’t patch it to cater towards a group of people who’s only goal is to win at any means necessary all the while ruining a great gameplay experience!
    I’m tired of the different set of rules that are to determine what’s “sim” and what’s not. Due to the overwhelming amount of cheaters on this game who can’t play a simple game of football to save there life!!
    That showed tremendously in this beta but I’m sure there were some guys who have found and done something’s that may have not been reported as they tend to either play there friends who do the same stuff!
    Just be vigilant with the feedback on the game and not get outta hand asking for stuff that would regress the game to no point in playing
    Smoke6
    Man I just don’t see this happening as bad as previous maddens! I’m really hard on madden each and every year and my only hope is they don’t patch it to cater towards a group of people who’s only goal is to win at any means necessary all the while ruining a great gameplay experience!
    I’m tired of the different set of rules that are to determine what’s “sim” and what’s not. Due to the overwhelming amount of cheaters on this game who can’t play a simple game of football to save there life!!
    That showed tremendously in this beta but I’m sure there were some guys who have found and done something’s that may have not been reported as they tend to either play there friends who do the same stuff!
    Just be vigilant with the feedback on the game and not get outta hand asking for stuff that would regress the game to no point in playing

    If we are being real…..it is what they have done for years now.
    We know who the game is catered to and that is why my expectations have tumbled back down to really a low level that the game that is released is not the game it will be over the course of the cycle. Even Madden 21 which is a very solid game changed from release as well.
    It is simply a reality of where sports games are now. Of course that is my opinion.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Player models make a really big difference. Agree with Metovics though - the presentation is basically the same game-y Madden stuff we've had the last few years. From the over the top wipes all the time, down to the scorebug, it doesn't resemble real life broadcasts much at all.
    PhillyPhanatic14
    Player models make a really big difference. Agree with Metovics though - the presentation is basically the same game-y Madden stuff we've had the last few years. From the over the top wipes all the time, down to the scorebug, it doesn't resemble real life broadcasts much at all.

    Player models do overall look great, but as of the beta there are some wonky big men models.
    I wish they would bring back game speed choice. I used to like playing on slow. It made the game feel better paced. Normal if I was feeling frisky. Very Slow if I was on my chill mode.
    drugsbunny
    I wish they would bring back game speed choice. I used to like playing on slow. It made the game feel better paced. Normal if I was feeling frisky. Very Slow if I was on my chill mode.

    They have always had this in their Hockey game, NBA Live and NCAA Football
    Just from a movement and animation standpoint IMO all EA games looked, moved and animated better once you slowed it down.
    Just makes no sense at all to do away with it in Madden. It's almost as if they are forcing us to play Madden their way only by taking away so many game play options we used to have years ago.
    :jpshakehe
    TFunaro
    For all of the marketing hoopla, this still very much feels like the SAME EXACT GAME you've been playing for well over the past decade, with the SAME LEGACY ISSUES. Barring the occasional "oh, that was kinda cool" moment - which are exceptionaly few and far between - the game feels and plays exactly like yester-year's version: predictable, same-y, and ULTRA STALE.
    I could do a deep dive on this subject, but I'd rather not waste my time (it's essentially pointless). Short version: Madden, in its current form, exists to function as a MUT cash-cow. The code needs to be gutted and entirely rebuilt from scratch. The only way we're going to get a fresh, new, simulation-style NFL gaming experience is when the exclusivity rights finally expire and another company takes the reigns. That's the reality of the situation.

    I honestly think you didn’t play the beta bruh! On god you couldn’t have and came to that conclusion!
    You’re gonna have to elaborate or you’re just a plain out ***** no matter what!
    Smoke6
    I honestly think you didn’t play the beta bruh! On god you couldn’t have and came to that conclusion!
    You’re gonna have to elaborate or you’re just a plain out ***** no matter what!

    Yeah, I get the hate Madden has gotten and the copy paste criticism has had warrant in the past. Anybody that says the 23 beta feels the same is either lying or hasn't played it. There were things happening every game that I've never seen happen in Madden before. Was it perfect? No, of course not. But it had dynamic gameplay/outcomes, and that has really been my number one want for this game since 2005. I am more hyped for 23 than I have been for Madden in so long
    drugsbunny
    I wish they would bring back game speed choice. I used to like playing on slow. It made the game feel better paced. Normal if I was feeling frisky. Very Slow if I was on my chill mode.

    wouldn't they have to tie the animations to frame rate to make different game speeds? That's not a good design choice imo.
    Did anyone who played the Beta mess around with Coach Mode? Did they make any changes(Eliminate the need to hold a button while on defense, No longer have to manually kick FG's, etc)?
    NINJAK2
    Did anyone who played the Beta mess around with Coach Mode? Did they make any changes(Eliminate the need to hold a button while on defense, No longer have to manually kick FG's, etc)?

    I didn't, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. Coach mode players are even less numerous than PC players, and they've but PC players on the back burner for years.
    :love:
    EDIT-shoutout to the genius who added that emoji. LMAO it's perfect.
    Snaps from the center and long snapper need to be redone. The ball warps to the QB/Punter/Kicker at light speed. It throws timing off and is probably the reason why QBs drop back so far.
    YaBarber
    Snaps from the center and long snapper need to be redone. The ball warps to the QB/Punter/Kicker at light speed. It throws timing off and is probably the reason why QBs drop back so far.

    How about a LS position for crying out loud?:coola:

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