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Madden 23: MUT Impressions One Week Later

Madden 23 MUT 1

Madden NFL 23

Madden 23: MUT Impressions One Week Later

I’m not a MUT guy. I don’t spend money on packs and usually lose interest after a few weeks. But a large part of that is a testament to just how bad Madden has been over the years. However, I’m enjoying this Madden more than I have in years, so I have found myself doing the unthinkable. I was playing Madden Ultimate team — willingly — and enjoying it. So I thought I would put together some of my MUT impressions for Madden 23.

What I Like

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Every chance I get to gush about the new FieldSense gameplay system and new precision passing controls, I do so. No, it’s not perfect — nothing ever is. But I do think it’s a game-changer (especially for H2H games) that has improved Madden and all of its game modes single-handedly. I can finally put the ball low and away from the safety if I desire or perfectly over the wide receiver’s shoulder. It’s a dream come true. Honestly, it is.

Players also feel more realistic and lifelike in this year’s game. The tackles are no longer canned animations and feel more diverse from play to play. In addition, gamers have more control over the ball carrier. When the ball is in the air, it can feel like a battle between wide receiver and defensive back (though high-point passing is overpowered). All of this is good because it makes the game more about the user and allows you more freedom in the palm of your hands. And with how difficult some of the challenges can be when bumped up to hard, you’ll need to bring your A game at all times.

Maybe that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much. It’s not perfect, but the gameplay is fun and can be problematic in a good way. I’ve spent countless hours trying to rush for 100+ yards in the first half while scoring two touchdowns. There’s a healthy variety of challenges at your disposal upon release, and I can’t say I’ve ever been more pleased.

Challenges, Missions, And Sets Galore

Madden 23 MUT

As stated above, I’ve been impressed with the assortment of missions, challenges, and sets right out of the box. The single-player aspects can be lacking right now, but in totality I think there’s enough good here. The variety has been enough to keep me busy since the game was released. The truth is, I’ve been grinding different objectives — as much as a father of three can be — trying to build my roster up as quickly as possible. My overall experience has been fun, but not without its frustrations. Here are some brief impressions of the Madden Ultimate Team challenges I’ve played so far.


I think EA Sports has done a good job of paying homage to the late, great John Madden. The same can be said for how things have been implemented into MUT. Players will comb through a variety of challenges centered around some of Madden’s all-time favorite players. Wide receiver Randy Moss is the treasure at the end of these challenges, but being able to do challenges centered around Joe Montana, Bruce Matthews, Ronnie Lott, Bruce Smith, Sam Mills, Lawrence Taylor, Warren Sapp, and Mike Alstott is a treat. The second part of the All-Madden challenges centers around John Madden’s career. Again, a job well done by EA.

Team Captains

Team Captains is where I headed shortly after finishing all the welcome tasks and unlocking the Joe Burrow 79 welcome card. The truth is, I really wanted Larry Csonka. These challenges are focused on the four team captains, which includes FB Larry Csonka, WR Keyshawn Johnson, CB Eric Allen, and DT Sam Adams. The cool thing about Team Captains is that they are versatile and can fit the team chemistry of all 32 NFL teams. More captains are expected to be added throughout the Madden 23 lifecycle, and I’m ecstatic.

MUT 23

Team Affinity 

Playing through the variety of challenges in Team Affinity will help you unlock a special team builder pack. You’ll also get your pick of the litter on one of the shiny 87 overall unsung hero affinity cards. These special players have team chemistry and ability slots that can later be unlocked. The good thing about team affinity is that your completed challenges from team captains also count towards these objectives. This program seems to be focused more on team building and creating the best lineup.

Challenges will consist of things like “win 5 games with 2+ team builders in your lineup” or “record 10 sacks with 3+ team affinity players in your lineup.” These will take time, but the rewards are worth it.

Field Passes

Similar to NBA 2K’s Seasons and MLB The Show’s Featured Program, Madden 23‘s Field Pass gives players additional challenges to test their skills. Just by naturally playing the game and earning more points, players will level up and unlock exclusive packs, players, and items. For example, there’s a Miles Sanders 83 overall card that awaits you at level 11. An 87 overall CeeDee Lamb at level 31, and a 91 overall Dave Casper. There’s a ton to like about Field Pass.

Currently, fans can land a limited 86 overall Derrick Brown headliner by completing these challenges. That, or you can land Brown by completing the Headliners sets. Nevertheless, the point of Field Passes is to constantly give gamers new challenges and exclusive content to strive for. And early on, it’s been a home run.


Headliners are a special set of cards that can only be completed by sacrificing other cards in your binder. Think back to when you’d go to GameStop as a kid, trading in two or three games to land the latest copy of Madden. That’s kinda how this is. For example, to land an 86 Joe Mixon or 86 cornerback L’Jarius Snead you will need to build a set using 5 x 86 overall players. If you’re looking to land Gabriel Davis, Carson Wentz, Kwitty Paye, Divine Deablo, or Donald Parham Jr., you will need 6 x 82 overall players and 2 x 78-79 overall. This may seem like a lot, but these players are worth it (Parham Jr. is diabolical). And best of all, each of these players is equipped with a special trait.

Graphics And Presentation

Earlier in the article, I said that I wasn’t a Madden Ultimate Team guy, but it was clear that changes were made with the visuals. I like the purple and pink backdrop. But for me, it’s the way different card types are displayed and feel different than one another. While the menus are slow and brutal to navigate, EA does a good job of using a unique graphic and presentation package. Cards are now slightly off-centered and appear in the bottom right. I also feel like the unboxing or reveal of the cards is more dramatic and adds to my intrigue. Overall, I think it looks great.

The same can be said for the overall graphics. Players could look a bit more like their counterparts — especially legends — but EA has always done an excellent job of making Joe Montana almost look like Joe Montana. Larry Csonka is another player that you can tell is Csonka but isn’t perfect. One thing that stands out this year that may not have previously is the on-screen visuals during challenges. Seeing your special card displayed alongside your player’s stats for that game is visually appealing. One thing I do wish, however, is that EA would spend some more time improving the game’s commentary. It gets tiring fast and should add to the presentation, not take away from it.

What I Don’t Like

Pay To Win Or Die Trying

One of my least favorite things about Madden Ultimate Team is that there are two routes. The first route involves skipping everything and paying actual money for unique cards. The other route involves spending countless hours trying and trying to unlock these cards, knowing it will take more time than it’s worth. It can become tiresome and cruel. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the middle ground is here. Regardless, having to pay to win or die trying is something I can do without.

Bottom Line

Much like Madden 23, Madden Ultimate Team feels more refined than in the past. You may not notice any significant changes outside of the new visuals and pack-opening animations, but the improved gameplay is enough to keep me coming back for more. Some missions can be challenging, but it never feels overpowered or like the odds are stacked against me. I also like the changes EA made to strategy items, and completing sets is much easier.

Overall, it may look like the same old MUT, but with Madden 23’s new FieldSense gameplay and other enhancements, it feels different than ever before. Single-player fans will not have the greatest time, but a majority of people who like playing online will probably enjoy themselves. If you’ve grown tired of MUT, there’s probably no need to jump back in. But if you’ve only dipped your feet in the water of Ultimate Team, this may feel like a new beginning. A new journey that, for now, I’m willing to embark on.

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I like video games and the miami dolphins.

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