Review

When I found out NBA Jam was available on the Xbox 360 I could almost have cried! The version back in the days of the mega drive for me was one of the most addictive games around, I remember saving up my pocket money for a game and could only afford this so bought it having no interest in basketball at all.

After playing it I started watching the NBA shows on channel 4 every Sunday morning and really getting into it.

I’ve been longing for this to be released on next gen consoles and reignite my love for 2 on 2 basketball mayhem. Unfortunately I got a little carried away and the xbox360 version didn’t live up to expectations.

For those not in the know, NBA Jam is a game when 2 teams are on court but only with 2 players on each side and the ball only going out of play when you’ve scored (think indoor 5 a side football) There are power-ups to collect which will make your player run faster, shrink, turn into a giant and allow you to do some pretty spectacular slam dunks.

The old favourite of mine scoring 3 baskets in a row still leads to a yell from the commentator “oh my he’s on fire” this makes your players basketball go up in flames and give you the power to almost score at will, this power-up will last until the opposition team scores.

Everything from the old mega drive version is here – and that’s where the problem lies in my opinion, it still feels like the old gen version and nothing has changed.
Ok you have flasher graphics but gameplay wise it’s still the same and dare I say it.. Not as good?

I’m not sure if it was something I was missing but it seems you’re only allowed to control 1 player during a match, meaning you can’t switch between defence and offence. Whilst the cpu controls the other member on your team you can still command him to shoot or pass but you cant control his runs or tell him where to go, leaving the match with an almost “on rails” feel to it.

A massive problem I experienced was when the cpu ran for a basket your player would most of the time be off screen not knowing where you were. Very annoying.
NBA Jam xbox360 game review PlayEject
The tournament style of last gen NBA Jam is exactly the same, you don’t have any leagues as such just having to beat each team once before progressing to the next team, think how a beat-em up works.

I got so far in this then came up against the LA Lakers who I just couldn’t beat for love nor money meaning I was stuck. A league system would at least have stopped this problem.

Also the lack of an option to create a player has been missed. Again back in the mega drive days I yearned for the chance to be able to put myself in the game.

Finally online this game is shocking, I’m not sure if it’s because no one in the world is playing it (hard to believe) or that it’s just THAT bad online. I played this game for almost a week and tried many times every day to get a game online and failed.

All in all I was left totally disappointed with this, and writing the review has saddened me even more at a missed chance to put a stunning next gen version of it out there.
To me it feels like the mega drive version with flasher graphics but not as good. In this day and age you expect something more than a rehashed game from 15 years ago!

Guest reviewed by @DPW28 – see more of his work at mufcblog.com

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