I was never really the biggest sports videogame fan or even sports fan, but there was one sports videogame that I always kept coming back to in my younger days: NBA Jam. There was just something special about it. It was so simple, fun, and easy to pick up and play. From playing the newest NBA Jam on the Wii at E3, I can confirm that the same old-school magic is back.
Since this incarnation of NBA Jam is on the Wii, it is taking use of the Wii’s unique controls. While old school veterans may feel like this gets in the way of the game’s simplicity, it still really is an easy game to pick up and learn.
For the most part, the controls are intuitive. You move your player with the control stick, press the A button to pass, hold the Z button to use your turbo meter, and press the B button while sprinting to shove. The only part where the Wii motions really comes into play are when you need to either block a shot, shoot, or dunk. These movements are all done the same way: you flick the Wii remote up to jump and subsequently flick it forward/downward to complete the dunking, shooting, or swiping motion. At first it may take some time getting used to, but the learning curve doesn’t last long; other than that, the game feels very much like it did back in the old days: it’s still 2 on 2 action, you still get on fire by scoring in streaks, there are still wacky comments from the announcers, and more.
Visually the game looks great. The game still maintains the 2D viewpoint that you loved so much back on the consoles and in the arcade, but now, everything simply looks so much sharper and cleaner. In addition, players look exactly like they do in real life, aside from being super deformed. What’s great is that the players still display some very funny and intense faces when pulling off intense moves.
Overall, everything you love about NBA Jam is back. Games are fast paced and moves are just as satisfying to pull off. Somehow, the old feels refreshing, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more.
Developer: EA Canada
Release: October 31, 1996
Available On: Wii
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