NBA Jam Review

NBA Jam is one of those games that knows how to grab anyone. You don’t need to be a basketball fan, you don’t need to know who the players on the court are or even if they’re expertly simulated. This is a gamer’s game; a sports game so approachable that anyone can pick up a controller and play. The history of the series began with Midway’s arcade game.


NBA Jam (PS3 [Reviewed], XBox360, Wii)
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 16, 2010
MSRP: $49.99

NBA Jam the arcade game was a frantic, fun four player arcade game with over-the-top presentation, boisterous sound and vibrant visuals. Hours and hours of fun to be had here as players mixed and matched their on-screen ballers in a head-on two-man team dunk and slam fest. Trash talking, ball-stealing competition set Jam apart from other casual arcade sports titles of the arcade era.

EA’s resurrection of the series for the casual oriented Nintendo Wii was a wise move. While it’s unfortunate the title is not coming to other platforms at the moment (PS3 and 360 versions are scheduled for November), this is a Wii game to own. NBA Jam still features an over-the-top presentation. Players are colorful and exaggerated. They sport the familiar big heads and expressive faces while performing aerobatics their real-world counterparts could only dream about. The courts are built for speed as well, with each featuring distinct models of real NBA arenas. Jam really pushes its surreal nature to the front.

Gameplay is king and NBA Jam is all about a quick run/pass/dunk attack game full of pump-fakes and turbo boosts. Basketball strategists should check out now, this is a fun game and it’s not meant to simulate anything. Since this is a Wii title, you should expect the usual gimmicky motion controls that are apparently required on the console. Players use both Wii Remote and Nunchuck to control their athletes. You have a few flick or swing motions to Alley-Oop and to respond to rebounds and putbacks. If you’d prefer though you can play the game using a classic controller.

The game includes the classic 2-on-2 game as well as Remix challenges like the half-court elimination game mode. There are six new game modes in Remix and a Tour which offers challenges aside from the traditional bracket/campaign game. Oh, and did I mention Boss Battles are part of the mix as well? Once a foe is beaten in Remix Tour mode you can single them out for one-on-one play in Boss Battle. I found all of the game modes equally challenging and fun, especially when playing with other human players.

If you’re a Wii system owner and you’re tired of countless mini-game titles like Wii Party, this is a great party title that is fun alone, but even better when played with friends.

PROS:

  • Classic NBA Jam fun
  • Lots of new game modes
  • Ability to play with 4 players

CONS:

  • Waiting for the PS3 and Xbox 360 version in November

The Verdict: 95/100

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