E3: Hands-On NBA Jam Wii “Boomshakalaka!!!”

By: Anthony Accinelli


Myself, along with Ryan Taillon, were fortunate enough to get some hands-on time with the upcoming Wii release of NBA Jam.  All I can really say is “Wow”.  It was easily my favorite sports game at the convention this year, and in the top 3 that I played across all genres.

You control the characters by moving the joystick.  Shooting is done simply by lifting the Wii remote up then pushing it forward to shoot.  You can time your shot with this method for a quicker or slower release.  Defense is played the same way with the Wii remote letting you jump up to block shots.  It’s a control scheme that works incredibly well (almost flawless) and I thank the developers for making it so simple.

Everything has returned from the original only this time around it’s much easier to look at.  The character animations from the neck down are created very well, especially for a Wii game.  The way the faces are best described is that they are similar to cardboard cut-outs of said athlete’s face.  They shift and change expression depending on what’s happening on screen.  Every NBA team is available to play with a list of different players to choose from within each team.  Along with that the Basketball Courts are made to look authentic and even the crowds now add to the mix.

Features like high-flying ridiculous dunks have of course returned.  Hitting enough shots in a row eventually elicits the “You’re on Fire” ability, and when this happens it’s all over.  Pushing opponents to the floor is a great tactic as long as it lands, but get burned and a massive dunk is bound to happen.  One thing I noticed that I don’t feel was present in the past game was a strong basketball strategy.  For example, we played against a team (who we freaking smashed) who would only guard low-post.  So I would just light up three-pointers all game.  If they jumped up to block them it was goaltending, and if they came out to guard it I would pass it low for a dunk.  Defense was hit-or-miss in that you either hit them to the ground, or missed and watched them soar high above your head.  It was a lot of fun to use my basketball knowledge against weaker, less intelligent opponents (no hard feelings whoever it is we destroyed).

We went back and played this game three times.  Once every day of the convention and even when we weren’t playing it, we were talking about it.  In fact Chase McCullough went out and bought the classic version for the SEGA yesterday because he was so addicted… again.  This game is going to be amazing and is done perfectly.  It’s definitely one of those few remade classics that needs to be in your collection.  Amazing.  Simply Amazing.

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