Boom-shaka-laka! There is no better way to express my excitement for NBA Jam than one of the franchise’s signature phrases. Thanks to EA Sports, the series looks to return in spectacular fashion late this year.
At E3 2010, the game was on display at Nintendo’s booth, with countless people waiting to throw down on one another. Yes, the zaniness of the classic is still present. A group of guys I played with were cracking up as we performed over-the-top dunks and pushed one another down. Gamers will also get a laugh over the photorealistic, 2D heads of players that change according to situations. Watching Kevin Garnett smile with his glee as he rises above the rim is pretty comical.
In general, the presentation seems to be shaping up nicely, with small details rounding out the experience. During my hands-on, I even noticed team-specific coaches hugging the sideline. For example, the Zen master, Phil Jackson, was watching his Lakers dominate the hardwood. And the overall fluidity of animation seems to be at a high quality.
The only element that felt a bit lacking at E3 was in regard to the players’ speed. Using turbo just did not give me the same boost I remember from my younger years. On the other hand, I never got the chance to play as a speedy character, like my personal favorite, Muggsy Bogues. (Hopefully, he is an unlockable character in this updated version.)
Everything else, though, felt just about perfect. The motion controls are pretty simple and straightforward. Gamers will be able to play in a more traditional way, too, by holding the Wii Remote sideway. In addition to the classic control, the same announcer from the original reprises his role for this updated version. Get ready for some new, ridiculous phrases to describe your dunks, layups and alley-oops.
With all that in place, Electronic Arts just needs to confirm online play. Nothing has been finalized yet.
NBA Jam ships this October for Nintendo Wii.