Nostalgia is a huge factor in the video game industry. Whether it was the Christmas where you got your first game console, or the game that kept you out of school because you played your favorite game until the early hours of the morning. There is a great deal of nostalgia in this industry and one game that really resonates that nostalgia cord for me is NBA Jam. Whether it was the home version or the arcade version there is still something inside of me that gets a little giddy when I hear “boom shakalaka” or “your on fire”. There have been several failed attempts to bring back the franchise on more modern platforms but all have been for not. Today we are checking out the latest attempt (first by EA) to bring the NBA Jam experience to the current generation of consoles. Does NBA Jam for the Wii have what it takes? Read our full review to find out!
Let’s get a few things out of the way right away. There are only a handful of modes in NBA Jam and one glaring one missing, online play. Being that multiplayer is a staple for the NBA Jam experience it does seem like a pretty big miss. With that being said I thought it would be best to get that out in the open before we continue on with the review of the game. This to me is really one of the only real weaknesses NBA Jam for the Nintendo Wii really has, but sadly it is a big one.
In terms of the Gameplay NBA Jam for the Nintendo Wii actually sticks to the formula pretty well. When you talk about walking down memory lane this is a perfect example of a game that lets you do exactly that while still have an updated experience. In fact not much has changed for the formula in NBA Jam. Pick two players from a limited team roster and play against other two man NBA teams. The Gameplay is what you would expect crazy dunks, amazingly colorful commentary, and over the top basketball action. Not only does it works as advertised, but actually is extremely entertaining.
I personally much preferred playing with the classic controller that gave me the greatest sense of nostalgia. However the motion controls, which are quite accurate, do offer up a more 2010 feel to the experience. All in all even though there are a good variety of modes NBA Jam lives and dies by the experience between you and human players and for that it succeeds greatly, it just is missing the final key ingredient of online play.
When I talk about modernizing the experience in 2010 you would think I would be talking about pure HD graphics but actually I was quite impressed with what EA managed to do in the standard definition view of NBA Jam for the Wii. Although NBA Jam for the Wii will probably not compare to the upcoming versions of NBA Jam for the 360/PS3 I think for what is available on the Wii hardware everything works quite well. With all of the action happening on screen it is also quite impressive that the framerate manages to keep up with the experience.
If NBA Jam were going to be described as one thing it would be a whole lot of fun. It’s one of those games that you will get some long time friends together and sit down and just eat up the memories. I had a good friend over to play NBA Jam for the Wii who used to play NBA Jam with me back on the SNES and the memories instantly starting popping up. In that sense it really resembled why video games are such a big part of society, they are rich with memories. With that being said NBA Jam for the Wii is missing a key feature that could expand those experiences out of your living room and over the world.
NBA Jam for the Wii is exactly what you would want NBA Jam for the Wii to be just missing online play. The NBA Jam experience is alive and well on the Nintendo Wii and for those who may have never played a game of NBA Jam or those wanting to relive old memories, this is a great game to check out.