NBA Jam Review

I remember a long time ago when the original NBA Jame was released over 15 years ago and it was the bomb.  Between flaming basketballs and playing as Bill Clinton it was just a lot of fun.  If you liked that game you are going to love the new reboot version of it that has just been released with a retail price of $50.  The game was originally supposed to be bundled with NBA Elite, but NBA Elite was canceled.  So while NBA Jam and NBA Elite packed together for 50 dollars doesn’t sound like a bad deal, for the same price with only NBA Jam is kind of steep being that it is an arcade style game.

I personally love the original game as well as this new updated version in HD with its giant head mode and funny commentary.  The controls are easy and basic, so anyone can pick this up with out having any problems with controlling things granted you know how to use a controller.  There are no fouls so you can push and shove all you want and gravity really doesn’t apply in NBA Jam.  There is no such thing as a back-court violation so you are free to roam the court wherever and whenever you want.  You don’t even need to know how to play basketball to play NBA Jam as long as you can grasp the concept the ball goes through the hoop.  These are all reasons why I think this game is so much fun.  It brings you back to basics and focuses more on the comical aspect of the game.

The graphics won’t let you down either, at least when it comes to this style of game which is really an arcade game packaged in a retail box.  This HD updated version looks better than the Wii version and character modules and their faces are detailed enough to know who is who especially with Big Head Mode.  Tim Kitzrow does the commentary for the game and he also did the commentary in the original 1994 version of the game.  The music in the game is very well done because it has that old retro style of music from the older version while mixing a more modern musical score to it as well.

There are plenty of different modes in the game with some returning from the old game and some new ones as well.  There is the Classic Campaign Mode that returns where you play 2v2 against all the teams as they get harder and harder.  The AI is not much help in here either as they can be pretty dumb and can prove quite useless at times.  In the all new Remix Tour you will need to unlock new divisions by getting Remix Points from completing Bronze, Silver and Gold Challenges.  During the Remix Tour you will play different game variations within the Remix Tour Mode coming across boss battles that put you up against NBA legends.  There are five different game modes you can play in the Remix Tour which are Domination, Smash, Elimination, 21 and Remix 2v2.  All of these modes can be played at any time in the Remix Mode option in the main menu along with Boss Battles that you will have to unlock.  You can also unlock characters and courts by completing Jam Challenges as well as online challenges.

In Domination Mode you must make shots from certain positions on the court to dominate the other player(s).  Smash Mode will have you making powerful dunks and alley-oops to take down the other teams backboard which is a lot of fun.  Elimination Mode will have players scrambling for loose balls to grab and score with the lowest score at the end of each round being eliminated, making this kind of a last man standing type mode.  21 Mode is something everyone should already know how to play as it is simply score 21 points while you can deny or be denied lowering points.  Remix 2v2 is a standard game with power ups such as Power, Quickness, Rubber, Accuracy, Mini and Random that you can get.  You can play all these game modes online with 2-4 players.  Here is where it gets great as you can unlock and play as the following political characters; Obama, Palin, Dubya Bush, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden and the return of Bill Clinton, who was in the first 1994 NBA Jam game along with Hilary.

NBA Jam is an awesome game that you will enjoy whether you played the original one or are new to the game.  It certainly please fans of the original though like myself and am happy to see this re-released with online capabilities.  Online is really where the fun is at too because the AI is not always with it, so this game is most enjoyable with a few friends online or local.  Unfortunately the price tag really does not suit the game itself as this really could have been an arcade title released on XBLA and PSN for much cheaper.  In fact I am actually surprised that this game was even released as a retail package, but if you can look past the price, NBA Jam is a load of fun.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

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