NBA Jam – Review

NBA Jam has arrived from EA Sports with all of the glitz and glamour of the game we all remember playing growing up. With updated rosters and online play this version of NBA Jam has even more than we had back in those days and, yes, the big heads are back as well. There are quite a few game modes that are sure to keep you busy for a while and quite a bit to do in this game. Of course there is the classic campaign where you get to pick your favorite team and fight your way through the NBA against 36 different NBA and secret teams in your quest to be the champion.

The way the classic campaign works is fairly simple. You play all the teams in one division and then you get to play a secret team, sort of a boss battle. Once you beat this team you move on to the next division and so on until you go through everybody. It is pretty straight forward and a way that you can enjoy some classic NBA Jam gameplay. A new addition to this title is the Remix Tour. In this mode your team tours the country to try and dominate the court in all of the divisions. Initially every division except for yours is locked and you unlock them by completing certain challenges and acquiring points. When you play against these teams you will come across different challenges. The first one is “Remix” where power ups appear on the basketball court during your game and if you pick one of them up it will temporarily help your game. The power ups include Power, Quickness, Rubber, Mini, Accuracy and Random. These should all be pretty self explanatory as to what happens when you pick one of these up . The Domination challenge is a lot of fun and provides a unique challenge. While playing half court basketball you see that there are some circles on the ground. You need to shoot while you are standing in these circles and if you make the basket you will dominate that spot. As time goes by you will slowly gain more points until either it resets or your opponent scores from that same circle. It is like those modes that you find in shooters where your team will continue to amass points as long as you dominate a certain area.


Elimination mode is basically a mode where you want to stay out of last place. At the end of each round in Elimination mode the lowest scoring player will be eliminated until there is only one player left. There is the classic game of 21 where the first person to score 21 points wins as well as Smash which is all about dunking the ball as much as you can. Then there are the boss battles where you face one of the NBA’s greats in a 1 on 1 matchup. If you want to try one of these out by themselves you can also go into the Remix Modes and go from there. NBA Jam also features certain challenges that you will complete the more you play. The challenges are beating the classic campaign with a team from each division in the western conference, winning five games in a row and various things like that. Some of them are even linked to achievements so you’ll want to keep your eye on them if that is important to you. Then, of course, there are the online modes where most people will probably spend their time. You have the typical online assortment here with being able to play a solo match against an opponent or if you have a friend you can do co-op match where you and your friend each control one of the players on your team. There is also “Jam Party” where you can invite friends for an unranked Jam session and the standard Xbox Live Party sessions feature as well. You can also check your stats at any time to see how you stack up on the virtual court against gamers from around the world.

There are two types of control schemes in NBA Jam with one of them having you use the buttons to do everything and the other one utilizing a dual analog control scheme. With the dual analog scheme you would flick up on the right stick to jump in the air and then push down on the stick when you are at the height of your jump to release the ball and take the shot. This is also how you would dunk the ball as you running up towards the basket. If you are on fire you will get to see some really amazing dunks if you do it correctly. You can also do that same motion if you are on defense and trying to block your opponent’s shot. By hitting left or right on the analog stick you can juke and jive on offense or try and strip the ball if you are on defense. I found this control method to be a lot more intuitive and after playing a game with both control schemes I am going to be using the dual analog scheme from now on. All of the other moves are back as well such as the turbo button, being able to shove your opponents to the ground, performing an alley oop and more. If you so choose you can even substitute players at half time if something isn’t working correctly for you.

Overall, NBA Jam is a fantastic title. It brings back fond memories of spending way too much money at the arcade but having fun dunking on my friends.I appreciate the fact that the developers didn’t mess with the formula and gave us the classic NBA Jam game in addition to a whole host of new modes. As far as the new modes are concerned they are all fantastic and it should keep fans busy for quite a while. Nothing about this game is ground breaking or anything but it really doesn’t need to be. It’s bringing back everyone’s favorite basketball game with updated rosters, modes and online play. What more could you ask for?

Score: 8/10

Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network

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