Its On Fire!
NBA Jam On Fire Edition released for download in 2011 by EA is the ultimate edition to the previously released NBA Jam remake. The On Fire edition features better gameplay and a different single player mode.
NBA Jam is simply a blast to play. It has always been a tremendously fun and addicting game to play since its hayday in the mid 90's. EA did a great job of keeping the essence of NBA Jam while updating it slightly to bring it into the modern gaming era. The gameplay is really tight and the game plays just as well as its original releases. NBA Jam has always focused on over the top slamma jammas and the raining of 3 point shots. All of that is here in this edition, as well as the juking, stealing, and pushing that has been a staple of NBA Jam. If your player can drain 3 shots in a row, they will go on fire and perform the most spectacular dunks you have ever seen. Playing the core gameplay over and over can get kind of repetitive, but there are enough gameplay tweaks, game modes, and unlockables to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting. The single player campaign takes a map of the United States and breaks it down into 6 regions of 5 teams. There are 4 medals to obtain for each team with each medal getting harder. The game climax's with games against difficult Jambots and a secret boss match at the end. This mode, called Road Trip, will take many hours to complete. Despite there being a lot to do in it and various different types of games the Road Trip mode really is a grind to get 100% through and it will take many hours to do so. The real appeal of NBA Jam On Fire, for me anyway, was the online play. The online games play smoothly and are a lot of fun to play against other people, but there are a few problems with the online. The real problem is that most of the games play very cheaply as your opponent will instantly knock you down as soon as you inbound the ball, and to have any chance of winning you must play in this cheap style as well. The best strategy for online was too pick a team that focuses on 3 pointers, and pretty much hit every 3 point shot that you attempt. If there had been some kind of restriction or balancing to the online play then the game would have been better. Playing in either single player or multiplayer will accumulate Jam Bucks. This fake virtual currency can be used to unlock thousands of items from the in game store. Unlockables include emblem and title customization pieces, players, teams, and gameplay tweaks. Unlocking everything in the store is pretty much impossible unless you play hundreds of hours. Bottom line is that there is a lot of content and value to NBA Jam On Fire.
The graphics in NBA Jam are pretty good. The player models all look realistic, but they have some charm and goofiness at the same time. The courts also look great with the neon lights from arena signs reflecting onto the surface nicely. All of the player and gameplay animations are very smooth and fluid. The audio in the game, sadly, is a bit lacking. The commentary is good and as cheesy as ever with the original announcer back for this remake. The one liners he spits are repeated over and over, and in my opinion there isn't enough different sayings for him to say. The music is also disappointing and features generic hip hop beats. The NFL Blitz remake that I previously reviewed had some killer music, and in that regard NBA Jam disappointed me.
Overall NBA Jam is a really fun game that can feel stale or grindy at points. The game has a ton of content and unlockables that kept me playing for close to 40 hours in total. Most of the time was spent mastering the gameplay and playing the great online matches. I picked up NBA Jam On Fire for $8 on sale, and it is easily worth its full purchase price of $15.
4 stars (8.0)