PS3 owners had a deal for this one last week, but now it’s time for the Xbox 360 owners to get a bit of love. TheGameCollection have dropped the price below the magic £10 mark, making it around £4 better than the next best deal over at Base and its affiliates. As for the game itself, it’s a wonderful throwback to the 16-bit versions and cries of “Boomshakalaka!” will no doubt be ringing in your ears after a session with it. With plenty of content to unlock and multiplayer options at your disposal those of you looking for some simple arcade fun will probably get the most out of the price of this one. Thanks to lumsar31 @ HUKD!
While this isn’t the cheapest price the resurrected basketball game has fallen to in recent times, this deal from Gamestation will ensure you save just under £3 in comparison to the next best price over at Gameseek. As for the game itself, it’s a wonderful throwback to the 16-bit versions and cries of “Boomshakalaka!” will no doubt be ringing in your ears after a session with it. With plenty of content to unlock and multiplayer options at your disposal (thankfully local multiplayer is where it’s at, so the on-going PSN ridiculousness won’t further scupper things) those of you looking for some simple arcade fun will probably get the most out of the price of this one. Thanks to KASOOR66 @ HUKD!
Although there's a bit of a stock delay (delivery estimate = 1 week), it's definitely worth noting that you can snaffle up a copy of NBA Jam for under a tenner if you order with Zavvi right now. Saving you over a fiver against the nearest competition, you might have to wait a couple of days longer, but we've never had any difficulties with the big, green merchant. As for the game itself, well if you grew up listening to 'Boomshakalaka!' blaring out from your 16-bit console of choice, you'll be pleased to know that EA have done a fine job in resurrecting the Midway classic. Thanks tommay.
There's often not much to choose between sports titles, such is the annual nature of the genre, but there were a few surprises in 2010 to be found. First of all, the fight between PES and FIFA proved to be much closer than that in 2008 and 2009, with Konami implementing some brilliant new features and EA reminding everyone that football is a contact sport. It's difficult to mention sports games in the past twelve months too without acknowledging motion control. Both PS Move and Kinect enjoyed popular sports collections upon release, putting a slightly new spin on things and creating new possibilities for the fitness game niche in the process.
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Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
There are some things in life that were just made to go together. Salt and pepper. Baileys and ice cream. Princesses and kidnappings. And now we can add NBA Jam and the Wii to that list. Those of you who checked out my Nintendo preview months back will know two things already: Firstly, that NBA Jam gave me some of the greatest moments of my gaming childhood. It's unique blend of arcade-stylings, absurdly large heads and excitable commentators produced a very fine fine reason to be sad that Midway are currently no more. Secondly, it looked like EA Sports were well on the way to delivering not just a great arcade sporting experience, but one that remained absolutely true to the spirit of the original.
I'm delighted to say that now, the finished article a recent permanent installation in my Wii, that promise has been realised fantastically.
Let me just say that you don't really have to be a fan of basketball to appreciate NBA Jam. If you were a fan of Space Jam, then that might help to a certain extent, because you see this title is far less about serious basketball simulation and far more to do with crazy dunks, cartoonish stylings, commentators going mental, things bursting into flames and hilariously aggressive defending.
It's not real secret: basketball games have been largely the same for years, simply getting minor cosmetic adjustments rather than dealing with issues that plague the genre year in and year out. But that's all about to change. Having seen 2K's star ascend whilst theirs tumbles somewhat, EA Sports are out for blood this time around and, in ditching the 'Live' tag usually associated with these games, they've delivered something of a statement of intent: they're doing things differently this time around.
Avid sports fans amongst you might be aware of the shake up that took place with the NHL series around 008, moving much of the controlling action onto the right stick, allowing for more precise, realistic play that, as the series developed, incorporated real-time physics more and more, removing animations and having clashes take place in real time without the need for random chance to stick its ugly little nose in. This new level of precision and control, allowing skill to win out over luck, restored EA to the top of the pile. Now they're looking to perform similar magic with the NBA side of things and it's shaping up pretty nicely indeed.
Random dice-rolls have been a part of basketball games for a long time, whether you've been going for a shot, attempting a swipe or clashed with a player and gotten yourself into a Post situation. Sure the stats get taken into account but previously, where you found yourself in a gameplay scenario, there'd be a random dice-roll element in there as well to help determine whether or not you'd make that awesome shot from halfway. Now, if you float in a 3-pointer from range, or smash the backboard with a tag-teamed dunk, it's all your own work, baby!
It's rather telling that of the four hours I spent getting to grips with Nintendo's new and upcoming wares last week, a quarter of that time was spent playing around with one game alone. Having done the rounds I looked up and noticed that the one game I'd managed to let pass me by that morning was finally free and so, smiling gently, I rocked up to the NBA Jam stand and held out my hands in eager anticipation.
'Do you want to check out the game by myself or do you fancy taking me on in some multiplayer?' asked the PR guy standing beside it. There was no contest. These things are made to be played with others and so a challenge was issued and duly accepted.
Four 15 minute-long matches later I managed to snap myself back out of it and rejoined reality.
My gaming childhood was largely predicated on the Midway diet of two games that remain firm favourites of mine to this day: Mortal Kombat II and NBA Jam. Fast paced two on two action with no ref? Check. Obscenely awesome half-court slam dunks? Oh yes. Ball bursting into flames after three baskets in a row? You bet. A crazed commentator who would yell out 'Boom-shaka-laka!' every so often just for the hell of it? Now we're talking. We'd crowd into my mate's tiny room and whip out the SEGA Mega Drive for marathon multiplayer matches with copious amounts of fizzy drinks and pizza. It was amazing and frequently matches resulted in food fights.
I can that happening again.
Although Midway have gone under, EA Sports have done a phenomenal job of not only resurrecting a well-loved classic, but also restoring everything that made it great in the first play and, on the Wii, it's found itself a true home. Let me clarify that, making use of the Motion Controls, you shimmy around the court with the nunchuk and pass, shove and sprint with the A, B and Z buttons respectively. So far, so 1993.
Scoring, however, is a case of getting that arm moving, swinging the Wiimote up and then either flicking it over for a shot or, if you've leapt into the air and are headed for glory, whipping it down through the air again for a dunk. I was sceptical to see how they were going to try and shoehorn motion control into the game but I've got to say, it feels utterly natural. There's something immensely satisfying about bringing that anticipatory lift up before slamming it home with your right arm. It feels emphatic, it feels powerful and, as the announcer screams 'He's on FIRE!' as you smash the backboard, it feels right.
The same can be said about every aspect of the game; from the ill-proportioned character models to the 2D models in the arenas, there's a wonderful retro feel to this game. Although it's a completely different team behind this reboot, the game feels authentic and steadfastly true to the spirit of its progenitor. You flick the Wiimote up to try and block too and button mash to execute the well-loved shove. On a number of occasions I found the odd quarter would simply dissolve into a frantic shove-fest in the centre of the court, with everyone scrambling to steal the ball, especially if the points difference was truly marginal. Needless to say, as the matches progressed so too did our competitive spirit.
The first match was a particularly tense affair that came right down to the wire, with me narrowly beating my opponent by a single point in the end courtesy of some choice three pointers early on and a last gasp dunk at the end in the final three seconds of the match. I won the second match comfortably but was sitting far behind by ten points or so halfway through the third. However, learning that occasionally one has to defend, making use of the darting runs and anticipatory jumps my AI partner was making ,and aided by the distracting quality of the attractive blonde who was demonstrating Just Dance at the next booth, I managed to come back and win by two. Our final game, however, was a see-sawing affair filled with aggressive play and escalating tension, until my opponent scored a massive three point shot from well inside his own half and my jaw hit the floor.
There will be an abundance of game modes to choose from come October, the team behind this update are certainly no slouches, with Backboard Smash changing things up a bit by giving each backboard a health bar that wanes a little, cracking and splintering with each dunk, before eventually shattering completely. Although offensively the tactics remain pretty similar, the matter of defence becomes that much more aggressive. If your adversary goes airborne, so must you or hazard being showered in glass shards of shame.
I walked away buzzing from my lengthy test of getting into the Jam. It's a game that will greatly please both newcomers and old hands alike, with the nostalgia value perfectly balanced out by gameplay that never seeks to patronise at all. We've been waiting a long time for a reboot like this and, to all intents and purposes, it looks like EA Sports might be onto a real winner here.Jump the break for the trailer and find out how I fared against my opponent...