So little of the NBA Jam you were likely familiarized with 17 years ago (seriously, it's been 17 years) has changed in the series' upcoming iteration. Obviously, the visuals have received a significant upgrade -- backgrounds, courts and players' bodies are rendered in 3D, and look inoffensive enough. However, each player's head is rendered in 2D, and constantly oscillates between a myriad of still expressions and faces. (You haven't lived until you've seen Shaq's "dunk face." It is priceless.)
Other than that, the experience remains unaltered. Controls are intuitive and accessible, mirroring those of the original. You can move, pass, swipe or shove (to steal) and use turbo with button presses on the Wiimote and Nunchuck. Shooting and dunking require you to flick the Wiimote into the air to first jump, and then flick it forward to execute the shot or dunk. As in the original game, it's important to time your shot just right, and these Wiimote controls actually felt pretty natural when it came time to put some points on the board.
"Natural" really is the key word when describing the quick match I was placed into during my demo of the game. After about 2 minutes, fellow Jam
enthusiast Kevin Kelly and I were executing offensive maneuvers that befuddled our rivals. After our eleventh fist bump, which occurred the third time the announcer informed us one of our players was "on fire," the game's exhilarating powers began to take root.
is very much designed as a party game, EA Canada will include 2 campaign gametypes to help retain lonesome players' interests. One mode, called "Remix Tour," was mentioned during my preview but not detailed. (We're hoping for DJ Hero
peripheral functionality.) The other, "Classic Campaign," will pit you against other teams on a tournament ladder, occasionally forcing you to play "boss fights" against legendary (and unlockable) classic players.
There are so few intellectual properties in the gaming world I can think of that would allow a remake of a 17-year-old game to lack any substantial changes whatsoever, and still end up on top of my list of most anticipated games. Based on my preview, NBA Jam
seems like a vehicle for potent doses of nostalgia, but more importantly than that, it seems outrageously