When EA unveiled NFL Tour, the question many people found themselves asking was "What's the difference between NFL Tour and NFL Street?" After spending a lot of the time with the game, we can finally reveal the answer: NFL Tour isn't played on the street. There's also a little less "attitude" and fewer customization options in NFL Tour. If this sounds like a significant step backward--it is. You'll probably be able to squeeze out a few hours of enjoyment from the game, but there's nothing to keep you coming back for more.
For starters, NFL Tour is light on game modes--really light. You can play an exhibition game, online game, two minigames, or tour mode. The two minigames are Smash & Dash and Redzone Rush. Smash & Dash is essentially keep-away in a small arena, whereas Redzone Rush has players taking turns going one-on-one in an effort to score from the 20-yard line. Both games are ultrasimple and fun for a few minutes, but there's very little reason to revisit them once you've played them a few times. Online play is limited to ranked and unranked play, which is about what you'd expect for an arcade-style football game--it's better than nothing, but nothing special.
If there's any depth to be found in NFL Tour, it is in the tour mode. Here, you pick a team, create a player, and then take on all the other NFL teams in ladder-style tournament. The mode is similar to what was found in NFL Street, but more straightforward (read: stripped-down). Your goal is always to win, but there's often more to it than just being ahead when time expires--sometimes you'll have to hit a certain score to win, but other times, you have to come from behind. It's a fine format for an arcade game that you're going to drop a few quarters in to kill some time with, but there's no stat-tracking or real customization--just beat a team and move on.
Tour's lone bright spot is its gameplay. That's not to say it's amazing or anything--it's not--but the game is fun to play. The action takes place in what is essentially an outdoor Arena League field, complete with walls. Teams consist of seven offense players and seven defensive players. Other than your quarterback playing special teams because he's the person who throws the ball off, players don't have to pull double-duty on offense and defense. You can pick from a small number of passing and running plays. There are a few trick and option plays to choose from as well. Like real football, you get four downs to gain 10 yards for a first down. There are no field goals or punts, and after a touchdown, you must run a normal play for either one or two points.
The play on the field is fast, and the controls are easy to learn. There's a button for turbo, one for juking, and one to power through tackles. You can avoid tackles or make them with well-timed presses of a button. The only button mashing you'll need to do is to pound a button to break certain tackles or overpower a blocker. On the PS3, this is done by shaking the controller--a mechanic that is not only uninteresting but also curiously not covered in the instruction manual. For the first hour or so, it's quite satisfying to break off huge plays, blow up would-be tacklers, pound ball carriers into the wall, and decimate quarterbacks with huge sacks.