E3 Hands On: NBA Jam (Wii)

14 07 2010

As with my previous two hands on impressions this game was also not announced at E3 this year however unlike the previous two games NBA Jam is not in 3D nor is it a PlayStation 3 exclusive.

NBA Jam is a remake of the classic 2 on 2 style over the top arcade game that will be releasing later this year for the Nintendo Wii. As someone who enjoys both basketball and over the top arcade games I have been anticipating this title for some time now but was also skeptical if EA could pull off the same feel and enjoyment of the arcade title.

My first opportunity to play was with another media individual against the computer. Before the game started an EA booth representative explained the basic controls before setting us loose. NBA Jam uses the nun chuck and the Wii remote – to jump for either shooting or blocking shots you flick the Wii remote up, to finish the shot, dunk or block a shot you jerk the Wii remote back down. The nun chuck is used for movement along with sprint, to pass you simply press the A button. After only a few possessions I easily grasped the basic controls allowing me to perform absurd passes that lead to acrobatic dunks.

The gameplay is fast paced with no actual defensive or offensive plays to call or execute. The entire offensive repertoire is pass, crossover, shoot and dunk. While defensively you can steal, shove and block shots but be careful not to goal tend. Although that may seem limited to some I found it had just enough depth but was also basic enough that it allowed you to focus on having fun.

So, it passed the fun test, but did it feel true to the original? Yes, I was actually surprised while playing just how authentic to the arcade title it actually felt. So much so that they actually brought back the famous announcer. The visual style also stays true to the original with crazy dunks and fast paced action however this time the heads of players are actual photographs. While we weren’t able to play with anything but the current NBA rosters I was told that historic duos from the arcade will make an appearance in this new title.

To sum up my experience I found my self through out the expo continually going back to play NBA Jam on multiple occasions as it was so easy to pick up and play while being extremely fun. After playing this title for myself my excitement for this title has been renewed and intensified. I can not wait to play more of NBA Jam and I will most certainly pick up this title for my dust covered Wii – which says it all.

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