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!
Above: Unlockable Presidents?CHECK!
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.