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Reviewer’s Note: This review is written for the PlayStation 3 version of the game, under the assumption that all versions share common content.
I’ll be honest. I don’t like sports. They just don’t interest me. Watching them never failed to bore me, and since I’m not the athletic type, playing them was always out of my league. Aside from table tennis, which I was not very good at playing, I just couldn’t get into any kind of sport. It’s ironic then that I should be writing about a sports game, although basketball was really the one sport I could see myself having some interest.
My first exposure to NBA Jam was way back when for the Sega Genesis. I watched my dad play all the time, but I never thought about trying it myself. I finally did though, and I have to say I was hooked. So when I heard about an NBA Jam for the PlayStation 3, I knew I wanted to have it. After all, how much better could it be in 3D?
So, what did I think of this game?
As a sports game, NBA Jam has no story to speak of, although on mode could be considered something of a story mode. You pick one of several official NBA teams and play as actual NBA players to become a champion. And you do this by beating every other team available. Oh, but this game does manage to throw some surprises your way.
NBA Jam is played in 2-on-2 games. You use the square button to shoot baskets, the X button to pass, and those are two of the most important buttons on offense. On defense, you use the circle button to steal the ball, and the triangle button to block your opponents’ shots. You can also use the right-control stick to perform a lot of the maneuvers you use the buttons to perform.
Just like in normal basketball, you score two points for every basket, and three at a certain distance. In NBA Jam, three consecutive baskets scored by any player results in that player going ‘on fire.’ It’s great if it’s someone on your team, but not so great if it’s on the other team.
Depending on which mode you select, the style of game will be different. In Campaign mode, you’ll play every other NBA division and the teams in those divisions. At the end, you will have to face off against some real NBA legends, and these could be the equivalent of boss battles.
Basketball isn’t the most violent game played, but in NBA Jam, some of the normal rules don’t apply; namely the rules regarding certain actions against other players. Players in NBA Jam can get a bit forceful, but you’re limited to only shoves and blocks that can at times knock another player to the floor. It doesn’t get more aggressive than that, but even so, don’t expect to hear the whistle blown because one player pushes you around and vice versa. No one gets hurt, but you’ll see more aggression here than you would at your typical basketball game.
Again, there’s not much to tell about here. At some points, players can shatter the glass of the opposing team’s backboard, sending shards falling to the floor. No one gets hurt, and the glass disappears shortly afterwards.
I think I could classify the lack of rules as pretty reckless. As I said, the rules that govern typical basketball don’t apply here. In fact, the only rule in place is the goaltending rule, which just means you can’t touch the ball as it’s going down in an arc, and the penalty really isn’t that steep. Plus, you can also turn that rule off. While a video game can’t be expected to abide by actual game rules, this game does encourage you to play aggressively when that sort of behavior would result in some kind of penalty otherwise. So, I guess fair play isn’t an option in this game.
Near each team’s basket, you’ll see a few cheerleaders, and they all wear high-cut shorts and low-cut tops. Midriff and a lot of leg is seen, but the game tends to move fast enough to not notice. I didn’t even notice until I looked at some still screenshots.
There’s also not a lot for me to say here. With a sports game, there’s not a lot to tell about either way. One might say, however, that teamwork is encouraged because you really do have to rely on your teammate to win most games. It’s hard to win when it’s a one-man show.
I think I could sum up my thoughts on NBA Jam in one word: fun. I admit this game is a real blast. I am still not a sports fan by any means, but this is a game that is almost as fun as being courtside to watch the impressive slam-dunks, even though most of the ones you perform are entirely impossible. And even though I don’t follow the NBA, I did think it was pretty cool to step into the shoes of folks like Scottie Pippen (my personal favorite player). Even though you play the same game every time, it just never seemed to get old.
Of course, I would say that is the biggest issue with this game. The mild violence and lack of rules aren’t really cause for concern. I would say the biggest cause for concern is the inability to put this game down; that and the fact that they still didn’t include Michael Jordan.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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