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Your view of “NFL Tour” will probably be determined by your opinion of another game: “Madden NFL.”

If you love the depth, complexity and realism of “Madden,” you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if “Madden” intimidates you like a Steelers pass rush, this might be your game.

The game by EA Sports aims to draw inexperienced gamers into the football fold. As a result, it keeps things simple — very simple. It offers seven-on-seven matchups featuring NFL stars on a shortened, walled field — similar to arena football. The play list is dramatically reduced and the control options are pared to the essentials. Each half consists of only 90 seconds of playing time. There’s no kicking game at all. In essence, it offers a lot less to worry about and a lot less to do. That’s not so hot for hard-core gamers or NFL fanatics, but it’s ideal for the uninitiated. [Another enticement for these folks is the game’s price — $20 less than “Madden.”]

The desire to keep the action light and easy probably explains why game play seems to be heavily weighted toward offense. Although making the right defensive call can shut down an offensive play quite effectively, making the wrong one all too often ends in a touchdown.

Since the game has an exhibition feel, it’s no surprise that the players do a little hotdogging that’s only possible in the digital world. There are some big slams, but the most interesting feat is running up the sides of the walls that surround the field. However, I would like to have seen a lot more of this — for example, something more akin to the wildly stylized action in the old “NFL Street” games.

Developers were obviously aiming for a bit of that kind of fun when they recorded the play-by-play commentary, which takes plenty of jabs at the repetitious and inane comments made in most sports games. Unfortunately, the commentary quickly falls into the same trap that it’s lampooning.

The graphics are OK, but nothing special for the Xbox 360.

“Tour” offers two basic modes: career and single-game, which accommodates up to four players. Experienced gamers will probably get bored quickly in career mode because there just isn’t enough complexity. However, head-to- head play holds up relatively well.

And, of course, both modes will give rookies something to cut their teeth on before attempting “Madden.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360On the Web:www.easports.com/nfltour/


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