Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NBA Jam

Most everyone reading this knows what this game is but in case you've been living under a rock for the past 20 years NBA Jam is a 2 v 2 over the top basketball game. This game became popular in the early 90's and now is making a return. For the most part the game is just how you remember it, with guys catching on fire, jumping into the rafters before making dunks, and crazy catch phrases.

This game was originally going to be a downloadable free game with the purchase of NBA Elite but when Elite was shelved, EA decided to put it out as a stand alone product and charge $50 for it. They did go in and add some features that wasn't suppose to come with the downloadable version but did come on the Wii version.

This game does include several different types of game modes including the classic 2v2 game. You can still play four players on one console or you can play against AI or online. Other games includes Domination, a game in which you have to shoot from inside circles on the floor. Once you make a shot you control that circle and the idea to maintain control as long as you can. The longer you control that circle the more points you get and the first player to 100 wins. This can be played everyman for himself or teams. The next game type is Elimination. In Elimination the clock is ticking and the player with the fewest points when the clock goes off is eliminated and the other players are reset to 0 and start again. The Remix mode which is 2v2 but with power-ups. Grab a power-up and your guy may become super fast, taller or a couple of others. Smash is another addition in the game. In Smack you play 2v2 but the goal is to break the backboard. Dunks are the way to here and every time you dunk you see how much closer you are to breaking the backboard.

Within the game there is also a classic campaign. You and one other person (has to be local no online here) can pick one team and beat every other team in the NBA. Along the way you unlock classic NBA Jam players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and several others. To go through the campaign once will take you about 6 to 8 hours. Then there's the remix challenge. To beat this you have to play 180 different matches and the matches range from Elimination to Domination to Remix to Boss fights.

Now that you got what's in the game let's get to the game it's self. For the most part it works pretty well. You have the choice of using either buttons or analog sticks. I have personally started using the analog sticks and prefer that but both work well. For the most part this is just like the game we all remember and loved but it does have it's issues. First after playing through a campaign I started to notice the rubberband AI. I was playing on easy to get all the achievements I could while playing and I would be dominating them until about one minute left in the third quarter. At that time every single game the AI would go from Kwame Brown to what Micheal Jordan was on his best day. As soon as the ball got passed in they are stealing it and make it almost impossible to do anything. Added to that your AI partner then goes dumb. He not longer jumps to block shots until the ball is already on the rim and just plays at a much less level then he did the rest of the game. This drove me nuts.

Now lets talk about online. This is a nice feature they added and one that could of made this game great and does make it more fun. However there are several problem here as well. One, which could be easily fixed, is if you and one other player wants to play on the same team the AI is then on the hardest difficulty setting and there is no way to change this. Then the next problem is the dropped games, which is two problems. The first problem is players quitting to boost achievements. If you play at least a minute and your teammate quits then you get the win. Notice I said teammate and not the other team. So what's happening is people are going after the ten wins online achievement and boosting it. The other problem online is EA servers are constantly dropping players. These online problems almost break the game. Out of ten games online you might be able to finish four of them.

Overall[Rating:2/5]

This game is a lot of fun and could of been great but it comes up short. The AI troubles and online problems are just too much. I would still pick it up if you can get it under $20.

Questionable Content[Rating:0/5]

It's a sports game, nothing to worry about here.

Achievements[Rating:2.5/5]

Most people think sports game ok there's easy achievements but not here. While the achievements may not be that hard to get it will take you some time. To get the bigger point achievements you have to play through the campaign six times and that will take you at least six hours each time.

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