Boomshakalaka: NBA Jam for Wii

NBA Jam is back and I’m on fire!

I’ve had the new game for about a week and it’s great. The nostalgia factor is way high. Jam has always been my favorite sports video game because of its simplicity. Two on two. Dunks. Defense. The new version has everything I loved about the original (and T.E.), just brought to the next level of 2010. The players are all current stars, the dunks are bigger, arenas are accurate and there are some new features like alley-oops that are very diesel.

As for game play, the Wii-mote and nun-chuck is the controller of choice, though the game is compatible with the old-school controller Wii offers. I tried both, and I honestly like the range of motion with the Wii-mote. Dunking is easier, alley-oops are more fun and I just feel like I have more control over my team. I’m still trying to perfect the jump shot, but everything else is smooth.

My only criticism of the game so far is that the designers put too much emphasis on defense. Blocking shots is now very easy with any player, almost too much so, where it negatively impacts your experience. It use to be that player rankings determined who could block, steal and shove the best. Now it feels like everyone’s even and those attributes mean nothing. Can Steve Nash really reject Dwight Howard in real life? Is Rondo really going to be able to check Gasol? I think not, so power moves and pump fakes become even more crucial to your strategy.

Good to note that EA sports adjusted rosters according to off-season moves. The original demo I saw (and above) has LeBron still in Cleveland, but it the game he is with D-Wade in South Beach, making a formidable pairing. Other favorite rosters so far include the Celtics (Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rondo), Nuggets (Anthony, Billups, Martin), Thunder (Durant, Westbrook) and Bulls (Noah, Rose, Deng, Pippen).

I’m about halfway through my first classic campaign against the rest of the league and it’s awesome unlocking all the old-school players and bonuses. Remix mode also looks fun, but I haven’t spent much time with it yet. My last regret is that there is no online play built in. Too bad, cause I would seriously dominate everyone.

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