NBA Jam iterates on everything that made the orignal game so great.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, NBA Jam remains a basketball game for people who are grossly indifferent to basketball games. No prior knowledge of the intricacies and history of the sport are required to succeed at NBA Jam -- just a quick run through of the three-minute tutorial is all you need to know what you're doing on the court. (It's also all you need to unlock the game's Big Head mode; an absolute necessity for appreciating the exuberant, still-image facial expressions of the game's ballers.)
The mechanics of the game also remain unperturbed -- on offense, you'll need to manage your turbo bar, spin and crossover on your defenders, pass to your teammate or shoot/dunk; on defense, you'll need to shove, swipe at and block your opponents. Score three baskets in a row and you're on fire, giving you a boost to your accuracy and dunkability until someone else scores.EA's desire to stay true to the original also led the developer to bring Tim Kitzrow, announcer for the original Jam, back into the studio. Like a fine wine, Kitzrow's brand of easily excitable color commentary has aged extremely well in the 17 years since the series' first installment. The same can be said for all his old catchphrases, which Kitzrow re-recorded for the new game -- not to mention all his new, equally quotable memes. ("No hoop for you!" "Quack, quack, quack!" "Boom goes the dynamite!")he game feels excellent, though it's unclear whether that's due to EA Canada tightening up the actual controls of the game or if the graphical overhaul provided by three generations of game consoles has made the on-court action easier to keep track of. The game still moves at a breakneck pace, but few of your on-court failures or successes will leave you wondering what the hell just happened.The controls using the standard Wiimote and Nunchuck scheme work surprisingly well, though you'll probably make your fair share of accidental half-court shots while performing a celebratory gesticulation. This can be remedied if you elect to play the game using a Classic Controller -- or by simply remembering to constantly keep a cool head and even steadier hand.These strengths are highlighted by two of the game's core modes: Play Now, which lets up to four players choose teams and players for a basic two-on-two match-up, and the Classic Campaign, which has one or two players take on a succession of teams, including occasional boss fights against legendary combos like the Knicks' Patrick Ewing and John Starks.By progressing through the Classic Campaign, or by completing challenges requiring you accomplish certain goals (make five blocks, double the opposing team's score) in a single game, you unlock new teams, players, basketball skins and gameplay modifiers. These definitely add a much-needed layer of depth to the game -- but if you're a completionist, you're going to have to unlock a few of these bonuses by playing through NBA Jam's less-than-stellar mode:Remix Tour.Two of the Remix Tour's five game types use the full-court perspective of the classic campaign: The two-on-two Remix mode, which mimics the classic game only with shorter quarters and randomly generated power-ups, and Smash mode, which has two two-player teams battling to dunk and alley-oop the opposition's hoop into oblivion. These two aren't terribly offensive, but play like gimmicky mini-games when compared to the core Jam formula.Read full review