A revival everyone should attendEdit
As sports games have evolved in the HD era, many gains have been offset by a loss of soul. While this current generation has ushered in an era of gorgeous graphics, super-deep franchise modes, and expansive online options, the public at large now struggles with hyper-complicated controls and a steep learning curve. NBA Jam is the perfect solution to this problem – a simple yet deep and stylish game that will appeal to everyone.It’s impossible not to have fun playing NBA Jam. From tipoff to final whistle, EA has done a spectacular job re-creating Jam’s glory days, and you’ll be flying around the court doing helicopter dunks with fiery basketballs within minutes. The player models look amazing (especially the digital photo faces that change expression based on the action), the backgrounds are retro-arcade beautiful, and that famous NBA Jam voice Tim Kitzrow is back with his great array of over-the-top calls. Boom-shaka-laka!Our biggest concern heading into the game was the controls, but it turns out they’re great. We spent the bulk of our time with the standard Wiimote-Nunchuk setup, and it couldn’t be simpler. After a few minutes we had no trouble jumping, dunking, shooting, and shoving (yes – shoving is back and strongly encouraged) our way around the court.Have no doubt that Jam is fast-paced and high-scoring, but we even had a blast paying defense. Taking risks to try and knock down an opponent or steal the ball won’t work every time, but when they do, it’s extremely satisfying. While we had trouble mastering shot-blocking (and got called for our fair share of goaltending), it was rarely the controller’s fault. We just weren’t quick enough.Jam is always best played with or against a buddy (both co-op and head-to-head options are available), but it’s no slouch in the single-player world either. The old-school Campaign mode pits you against every team, advancing until you’ve defeated the entire league.There’s also a so-called Remix campaign, sporting power-ups, non-traditional modes like Elimination and 21, and Boss Battles that pit you against an impressive array of NBA Legends. A lot of these modes switch up the view, offering a distinctly different look and challenge.It wouldn’t be Jam without loads of secret unlockable characters (athlete and otherwise), and it won’t be long before you’re playing with and against players you used back in the day – names like Dennis Rodman, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Larry Johnson pepper a huge list of retro ballers.If it weren’t for a lack of online play, NBA Jam would be virtually perfect. Even so, Jam is our favorite sports title of the year. Sure, our memories of wasting scads of hours playing the original in the arcade color our judgment, but no matter what, Jam flat-out rocks. It’s gotta be the shoes!