Buddha Rating: 8/10
The Good: Great game play, lovely visuals, feelings of nostalgia, dunking from the top of the key
The Bad: Price, white guys dunking like Lebron
I finally got my hands on a copy of NBA Jam for the Xbox 360 this past weekend, and it is everything I wanted it to be. Is it worth $49.99? Probably not, but that doesn’t prevent me from absolutely appreciating what this game does, which is take me back to the simple days of 16-bit gaming. The HD version of NBA Jam is is exactly what it says it is, a NBA Jam game skinned with next-gen graphics. This may not be enough for some gamers, but like I said, it’s everything I wanted this game to be.
If you played the Genesis version of NBA Jam, or the original arcade game, this HD reboot will feel as familiar as wearing your favorite poop stained boxers. Outside of the upgraded visuals, which look beautiful by the way, most of the game play is dead nuts on with the originals. You can choose to use a newer control scheme which utilizes the right joystick for shooting, jamming, stealing, and shoving, or you can go old school and use the face buttons for those functions. You don’t have to configure which control scheme you want to use either, as both are available at the same time, which is nice if you want to try the new controls while maintaining your comfort zone with the old ways of controlling your baller.
Outside of the new controls, the only real difference between this version of NBA Jam and the originals is the inclusion of the Remix mode and On-line play. The remix mode adds power ups to the mix, which can be picked up to amplify your speed, size, or even weaken you with pick ups that shrink your player. Remix also spruces up the typical basketball court by making it all black and adding in some technicolor effects to the venue. Remix also offers various game types ranging from traditional 2v2 to a game of 21.
On-line play is a nice way of testing your boom-sha-laka-laka skills against the likes of ather wannabe arcade ballers. You can choose to go at it co-op style with a friend versus the world, or you can go solo to test your skills against another human player. There seems to be various ranks that you can go up by playing matches, and there is some stat collection, but I haven’t tapped into all of this so I won’t comment on it. Overall, the on-line piece of NBA Jam is nice if you want to play other humans, and you don’t have to worry about long loading times, or finding matches.
I’ve found my favorite game type to still be the classic campaign where you pick a team and play through your division en route to a title. I can’t help but reflect back on my early gaming career when I play this mode. Memories of me playing this game in the arcade, or sitting in my room playing the Genesis version for hours on end came flooding back when I first took the court with the infamous Miami Heat (Who wouldn’t pick the traitor?). Sure the graphics look much better (can go retro if you really want to get nostalgic), but the most important thing is that the game play has remain unchanged. I think this game is such a hit with me because it’s flashy and simple with over the top dunks and easy to pick up game play.
If you’ve been on the fence about buying this game I can say without a doubt that it will be worth your precious dollars, especially if you have a soft spot for the NBA Jam franchise. The improved visuals only make this game better on the next-gen consoles. The things you loved about NBA Jam in the past are still in this iteration, and none of the fun you remember having while playing it many years ago is missing. I give this game an 8/10 only because it should be a $39.99 title versus $49.99, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up if you were planning on doing so. You’ll definitely enjoy it, and the feelings of gaming past will take you back to the simple days of gaming. You’ve been put on fire, get that outta here!
E.B. “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”