Oct 18, 2007
NFL Street is dead. Say hello to NFL Tour, EA Sports' next arcade football experience.
We got our first look at NFL Tour at an EA Sports press event in San Francisco this week. It was then that EA Sports president Peter Moore announced that Shawn Merriman will grace the cover of NFL Tour after beating out fellow defensive standouts Jason Taylor and Dwight Freeney in a first-ever fan vote. While the NFL may not be ecstatic that its latest cover athlete was suspended four games last year for steroid abuse, EA Sports is excited to have one of the most outspoken, dynamic players in the league fronting its new title.
Instead of playing telephone pole to telephone pole in unsanctioned street fights, NFL Tour attempts to create a seven-on-seven NFL summer league. In Tour mode, you'll create your own player, join your favorite NFL team, and move up the summer league ladder by defeating every other team in the league, much like old school NBA Jam. It doesn't appear to have any of the team drama, shoe contracts or other off the field action that gave games like NBA Street and FIFA Street extra legs. Instead, just hit start and take on your next opponent. If successful, your created player will be awarded with an NFL contract, although its too bad he can't be imported into Madden.
There are 15 stadiums - er, Tour Stops, to visit. You'll play outside Central Park in New York or near the Sky Needle in Seattle. The differences are purely cosmetic, though. The field is 80 yards long and about 40 yards wide and is surrounded by walls, much like an Arena Football League stadium. And wouldn't you know it? The walls play heavily into gameplay. You can loft passes off back walls in the end zone, bounce off walls for a quick change of direction, or run up the wall and over a would-be tackler, one of the most embarrassing moves in the game.
Other than that, the seven-on-seven action is fairly straight forward, without any of the strange on-the-field obstacles that we've seen in NFL Street. There are no punts or PATs. Like intramural flag football, you can choose to run a play from the two-yard line or the 10-yard line for a one or two point conversion, respectively. Games are played in two halves instead of four quarters. Even the old Gamebreaker has been toned down and replaced with the Smash meter. Probably the highlight of the gameplay is the new tackle reversal system that the EA marketing machine has dubbed Total Collision Control. When a defender hits a ball carrier, occasionally the action will slow down and you'll begin a button-mashing mini-game. If you press the button enough as a ball carrier, you'll be able to break a tackle and go along your merry way. But savvy defenders can also go for a last ditch ankle tackle if they are lucky and reverse the reversal.