Hey folks, Valkor here. Last week Ace and I were given the pleasure to rep TOV on another NYC outing, hanging with the folks of EA Games. This time around it was all sports and though most of the games were great in their own right, only one games stands out as being the best of the best and getting all of our attention, especially mine. Oh and I can't forget that it was great hangin out with TorDavis, JayDub, Hiphop Gamer and the dudes at DualShockers.
Now let's get down to business and let's get into some NBA Jam. That's right, it's back and it's fantastic!
For me, basketball was never my cup of tea. Let me rephrase that - I enjoyed watching the sport but I could never quite grasp playing the game. Yea I can do a quick pick up game of some street ball, because there were no rules except the ball going out of bounds. Other than that it was all about winning and doing whatever it takes. The real sport has way too many rules for me to understand i.e. travelling... what the hell is that? but the first game that gave me that 2 on 2, no rules experience was Arch Rivals, which was a fun game that involved no fouls and you can even drop a dude's trunks to slow him down. But when NBA Jam entered the 2 on 2 arena, not only did it trump Arch Rivals, it whooped its ass and then some. First off you're playing as real players and not just made up cartoony characters. And if your character scored consecutively, then you're player would be "on fire!" which means he would never miss until the other team scored. There's no out of bounds and the only official rule to the game was goal tending. Other than that it was beat or be beaten. The original NBA Jam was produced by Midway for the arcades and later produced by Acclaim for the home consoles. Arguably the best of the bunch, to me, was NBA Jam for the Sega Genesis. Why? Because the announcer was the better than all the rest; even the later Sega CD, SNES, Sega Saturn version. It was constant and the jokes were way funnier than the rest (which were nil on the jokes).
Well the time has come when my favorite version of NBA Jam gets replaced by an even better, more polished, and better commentary version than my beloved Sega Genesis version. EA has taken over the rights to the game and they're showin the Wii some love with quite possibly the end all beat all version of NBA Jam. First off everything about the series is carried over to this new version; it's still two on two with an updated roster, and the same rules, which are no rules except goal tending. You have improved graphics that are far better than the original, we're talkin a much sharper appearance with better animation, especially some crowd animation which the original didn't have (or I don't recall it ever having). Gameplay is spot on perfect, using the Wii-chucks; you use the Wii-mote to shoot and to shoot you bring the wii-mote upwards and then arch it to make the basket. The Wii-chuck is used for movement with the B button for turbo. Oh and before I forget the game can handle up to four players, so you can get a serious two on two match-up that's just too much fun.
But now here's what's most important and it was my biggest fear goin in and that's the voice and sound. Other than the Sega Genesis version, no other version of NBA Jam has ever been able to replicate the fun commentary that the Genesis had… until now. The commentary blows the Genesis version out of water and beyond. It's constant and keeps up with the players and the action, plus you get all the famous lines with some new ones tossed in such as the ever popular "Boom-shaka-laka" and the "He's on fire!", toss "ka-boom!" and add in my new favorite "He's got the peanutbutter, but he forgot the jam!". Mix it up with the sound of the crowd, the squeak of the sneakers on the floor, the "fwap" sound when you make that perfect bucket, and the rock hittin the court as your dribbling towards your basket makes for the perfect recipe of fun.
I could go on and on and hell as much hands on as I got with the game, I could do a full review, but the game was only 50% complete. Imagine that, so much bad assery and it's not even finished yet! According to the developer there's the possibility of special guest appearances, possibly legendary players, remember when you could play as Bill or Hilary Clinton? Al Gore? The Mascots? Maybe we could have Barack Obama vs. George W jr? If I could have any character I'd love to see Solid Snake on the court, maybe Mario? Sonic? Cody from Final Fight? Ryu from Street Fighter? Spider-Man?
And before I forget, here's what Ace had to say about the game:
To be honest, when I came to this event I wanted to see Madden 11 and if any updates were made to keep the franchise fresh. THEN, I was pleasantly surprised with NBA JAM……HOLY BOOMSHAKALAKA!! This game is so addictive I felt like a fiend playing this game!! It brought me back to my Genesis and Game Gear days. The commentary is hilarious along with the game play being redunkulous….yes it is a word!!! The gameplay is arcadeish; I almost forgot about this kind of basketball arcade game considering the fact the only two games over the recent years have been 2K and Live series which are simulation.
Look for NBA Jam on the Wii fall of this year and we'll have more from the floor of E3. Until then enjoy the pics and vids and we'll get you more info as we get closer to release.