Welcome sports fans to this review of NFL Tour, brought to you by EA Sports, in association with NFL International!
Ok, enough of the phoney American commentary. NFL Tour brings an NFL Street-style series to the PS3. But is this spin a hit or a miss? We get playing to find out.
The basic premise of the game gives you the big teams and players of the NFL, but you’re playing 7-on-7; soccer fans might relate it to a 5-a-side approach. Fans of NFL Street, or the NBA Street series, will be familiar with the concept. Of course, this being American football, you have to select your plays and try to execute them, often using the quarterback to pass the ball to the right player to make the yards and drive towards the touchline. You get to play exhibition matches, make your own Tour/career, play online and so on.
From the off, the visuals are only mediocre at best, despite the 720p output. Perhaps we should give the game some slack considering there are 14 players to track on the field. However, the camera spends most of the time between plays flying over the field or swooping in under the fancy canopy. If you are unfortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the crowd, you could be forgiven for thinking you are watching the cat bring up its lunch.
Getting over the visuals, the audio is a combination of half-decent musical tracks and the worst commentary you’ve heard (and I’ve take it you’ve heard Mark Lawrenson). The developers have decided that the best approach was to have the commentators mock themselves repeatedly “The more you play, the more repetitive I get” and so on. Not funny, not clever, massively irritating.
All that aside, the challenge in the gameplay is not using the long pass, which pretty much gets through every time. At each break in play you are faced with the playbook and select your tactic. This can get tedious and very often you just want to get on with things. You are even faced with the playbook when you have no options, such as at a throwoff. That said, this does draw you in for some time and after a while you find yourself trying new things. However, in playing for this review we won every game.
The list of niggles goes on and on, the AI is boring, for example, sometimes a player will celebrate their touchdown pressed right up against the fence, effectively invisible from the sweetcorn-headed spectators.
It all leads you to wonder what on earth you are doing. This is next-gen gaming in glorious high-definition and this title falls well short of the mark. When you get down to it and put your money on the counter you can do so much better. NFL does have a global audience, but this incarnation, on this console, offers little.