Madden 23 Beta Review: FieldSENSE is a major upgrade but Franchise Mode disappoints

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With the Madden 23 beta now here, we've had the opportunity to see what FieldSENSE feels like for ourselves.

Expectations are high for Madden 23, and we've now got the first indications about whether or not this year's installment will truly innovate.

Latest - Franchise Mode joins the closed beta

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After only getting a glimpse at gameplay when the Madden 23 beta first arrived, they've now updated it with Franchise and Face of the Franchise.

Unfortunately the latter has been bugged and we haven't gotten to try it yet, but we now know which new features are hitting Franchise Mode this year.

We've got more details here on the contract upgrade and how our experience in Franchise Mode has gone so far.

Madden 23 beta showcases new FieldSENSE gameplay system

While the game itself is still a few months away, the Madden 23 beta has already been made available to some players.

This closed beta experience is expected to include multiple game modes soon, but as of now all that's on display is the new FieldSENSE gameplay system.

Of course, as is becoming unfortunately common, FieldSENSE is next gen exclusive and only available to players on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.

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As soon as Madden 23 was announced, EA Sports has put a spotlight on FieldSENSE and the various ways it reworks key aspects of the game.

The biggest factor in this is a change in the animation branching, as players have often complained in the past that animations can give away the conclusion of a play too early.

With only Play Now available at first in the closed Madden 23 beta, a few quick games have already shown some aspects of FieldSENSE do shine.

Tackling and catching animations feel more natural, and Skill Based Passing is a definite upgrade compared to the previously less detailed passing system.

How much of a gameplay improvement is FieldSENSE in Madden 23?

To get an idea of whether this set of upgrades went far enough, let's break down each aspect of FieldSENSE and how it feels in the Madden 23 beta.

Starting off, we have Hit Everything, with new defensive mechanics for Hit-Stick impacts and the ability to perform mid-air knockouts.

Even in a brief glimpse, we were able to blow up a mid-air endzone touchdown with a tackle while the receiver was still in the air, and it definitely felt as powerful as it would've in a real game.

Skill-Based Passing allows fine tuning of exact throw location and power in a way that will take some time to master, but it's a very clear improvement.

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Madden 23 beta review
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ALL NEW CONTROL: Skill Based Passing allows even players to fine-tune each throw

The new 360 Cuts and WR vs DB Battles features weren't as clear in our first impressions, and didn't really shine compared to the other upgrades.

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As exciting as the few changes were, ultimately this is an improvement of inches for Madden 23 when they've needed yards for years.

We'll have to wait and see how top game modes like Franchise and Face of the Franchise feel in the full game to make a final verdict, but as of now this still feels like Madden.

The controls are practically identical minus these few adjustments, and players who already dislike Madden's gameplay style may not find these changes are enough to win them over.