Review: NFL Tour

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Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release Date: 1/8/08
Genre: Arcade Sports
Players: 1-4

Wow, just when EA was getting back on track with its sports titles this generation, it goes and puts out a steaming pile of athletic gaming poo like NFL Tour. Everything that was once so great about the NFL Street series has been completely stripped away and dumbed down to reach a more casual audience, which frankly makes no sense given that NFL Street was already an arcade-style football series meant for the non-simulation crowd to begin with. It didn’t need any simplifying!

On the surface, NFL Tour appears to strongly resemble NFL Street, both in the colorful, exaggerated graphical style and gameplay. The core seven-on-seven arcade football premise is intact. You’ve got something like 40 offensive and 20 defensive plays divided up into easy-to-identify categories like Long Pass, Short Pass, Run, Blitz, Zone and so on, and simple, intuitive controls that anyone can pick up and play without a problem. Offense is the focus here, with defense very much an afterthought and no kicking game whatsoever. So this is really just a game of scoring as fast as you can and seeing who can get that one lucky turnover that turns the tide. For a couple games it’s a decently fun ride.

From this basic shell left over from NFL Street, though, EA has ripped out everything else that added at least a slight hint of strategy or depth to the field of play. Trick moves, taunts, Gamebreakers, player progression and customization. It’s all gone, confusingly enough. Other than a useless wall-running mechanic and the basic football evasion techniques like spinning and juking, NFL Tour’s gameplay has no style, no spark, no spirit. A far-too-prevalent Reversal system has been implemented in an attempt to infuse a little something new, but ultimately it just turns every play into an exercise in button mashing (or Sixaxis shaking, in the PS3’s case) that is incredibly easy to exploit for breaking tackles on offense and landing big hits on defense, especially when playing against the AI.

The mode count is similarly bare bones. A 38-game tour across the country serves as the game’s career mode, taking you to major cities like San Diego, NYC, Pittsburgh, DC, Dallas, and New Orleans to take on all 32 NFL teams and a few All-Star teams, with each tour stop presenting different winning stipulations to deal with, such as traditional football scoring, first team to a certain point total wins, the opposing team is spotted a seven-point lead, longer first downs to contend with, etc. Beyond that, there’s an exhibition mode, basic two-player online play and a pair of dull, tacked-on mini-games called Smash & Dash (it’s like keep away or king of the hill) and Redzone Rush (take turns going one on one trying to score on the other player in a single play from mid-field).

For all its gameplay woes, however, NFL Tour’s most unforgivable flaw is its horrifyingly lame and repetitive announcing. Trey Wingo, of SportsCenter fame, handles the commentary, rapidly spewing out oh so memorable (or not) lines like, “I am videogame announcer, hear me repeat,” “Videogame announcers are like shampoo, lather, rinse and repeat as necessary,” and worst of all, “I’ve run out of things to say so I’m just going to repeat myself and you’re just going to sit there and take it.” Ummm… no Trey, my boy. I’m not.

Whoever thought this type of announcing would be funny or entertaining to the player was seriously mistaken. EA, making fun of repetitive game announcers doesn’t excuse you from committing the exact same sin. In fact, it only goes to show how lazy you were in slapping this title together overall. So allow me to be lazy as well and end this review right here, because, honestly, I’ve already wasted more time and thought on it than I needed to.

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Pros:
+ Easy to pick up and play, decent fun for maybe a game or two

Cons:
– Some of the worst game announcing EVER!
– Bare bones gameplay and mode lineup offer no longevity
– Dumbs down the NFL Street formula so much it’s embarrassing

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!