Another year, another Madden. This time around, however, EA devs promised the “most polished version” in years. The reality appears to be much different as negative reviews pour in on Steam and Metacritic. In fact, even some NFL pros featured in the game are trashing it. “First game out on Madden 23 hung 50 on a kid…don’t get it twisted tho game is still hot garbage smh,” tweeted NY Giants receiver Darius Slayton a day after its Early Access launch.
In just its first week, Madden 23 has been a lightning rod for all sorts of frustrations. Despite new-gen “FieldSense” technology that’s supposed to make every play feel more organic and life-like, and an overhauled Face of the Franchise career mode, bugs and other shortcomings remain. “It’s still Madden, for better or for worse,” wrote Polygon’s Owen Good. Plenty of people have decided it’s for worse.
This might be the worst madden ever ..
— Mecole Hardman Jr. (@MecoleHardman4) August 22, 2022
“Madden 23 menus are absurdly laggy,” Madden YouTuber Matthew “MMG” Meagher tweeted recently. “5-second input delay on everything. This isn’t an 8000fps Skyrim mod EA… let’s get it together.” Former East Carolina University safety Warren Saba hasn’t been pleased either. “0/10 Gameplay is awful!!!!” he tweeted at the official Madden account this week.
The negative reactions have been pouring in on Metacritic as well. The PS5 version sits at 68 among critics and 2.0 out of 10 among users. That’s in line with how it’s scored in recent years, but still significantly down from Madden 19 and before, when the series would break into the low 80s. Madden 23 currently has 451 user reviews on Steam, over 300 of which are negative. Many of them complain about the PC version being a port of the last-gen console version of the game, and thus lacking new features like FieldSense.
Meanwhile clips have blown up online that show weird glitches, oversights, or apparent incidents of self-sabotage. Some players have reported an issue in Franchise mode where their progress gets taken back to several weeks earlier in the season. Others have complained about the mode accidently releasing key free agents at pivotal moments.
A video from the TikTok account NotJackKenyon showed a breakout running play headed for the end zone cut short when their own AI teammate tripped them:
— Shane (@FilthyFins) August 21, 2022
Another video from Twitch streamer Logan Samuels showed Madden 23 bugging out on a play celebration. Despite being downed after a catch, the game decided the play was still live, and the receiver went from dancing to scoring a touchdown while the defensive tackles went berserk to no effect.
— Logan Samuels (@KobeMentaIity) August 22, 2022
Not everyone is quite so down on the latest entry, though they still have qualms. “Madden 23 is 100x better than Madden 22 and probably Madden 21,” wrote streamer Pwny Montana. “With that being said it is the worst I’ve ever seen with online blocking and aggs.”
Notably, even the people ripping on Madden 23 still bought Madden 23. The only thing as predictable as the annual franchise arriving in a new box each year is that people will still go out and buy it, whether it’s the most polished version in years or, in the words of so many angry Steam users, just another roster update. Those who are still playing and enjoying the game are hopeful a big September Title update will address some of the most pressing problems.