NBA Jam PS2 Review

The NBA Jam series has been absent from the gaming roster for a few years now. Other Basketball titles have been filling the gap left by Jam, with clear references to the legendary over the top arcade title. Now Jam is back with a decent enough throwback to when the series ruled the roost of Basketball titles.

NBA Jam happens to be a very cheesy game, which actually manages to entertain at the same time. The game is all about showboating over the top skills. These are brought into fruition from hotspots (situated positions when they come available) and are way over the top and most probably humanly impossible in reality. This is how you score bigger and stop the game moving to and fro between each team, thanks dominantly to the same thing that tries to ruin every other Basketball game, the stealing off the opposition seems as clumsy as usual. This is as similarly awkward as elsewhere and is annoying making each and every game more a less the same as one another. If you are able to execute such defensive moves, there’s a move that can knock the opposition flat on their backs, blocks at ground level as well as jumping blocks.

As the hotspot is all about the flow of momentum, the mood can also swing to a single player if they basket three hoops in a row. This causes the player to combust into flames and all his stats are boosted, making him into a much better all round player. If the opposing team puts the ball through the hoop then the flames go out and the momentum is a little more balanced between the two teams. We loved this idea; it opts for a rowdier game of Basketball rather than trying to simulate the sport, as Jam has always done so well.

You can even play the game in black and white with pre-70’s teams, but we didn’t really like doing that as it just didn’t seem right. In fact legends of Basketball are well represented and you can even play through a tournament specifically for these jumping and dunking masters. Alongside the pre-70’s teams are others from the 80’s and 90’s, three decades of Basketball – it can’t be bad. Every time you beat one of these teams they become unlocked and ready for your using.

There is tons of stuff to unlock in the Jam Store feature. The game records every minute detail of your actions and that also comes down to obtaining points throughout the game and then going to the store to exchange these points for a new goodie or two. There are new courts, parts for the create a player feature and more. It reminded us of Pro Evolution Soccer 3’s store a little bit. There is plenty to keep you playing, especially in the multi-player aspects.

We suspect the graphics aren’t supposed to look exceptional, rather a cartoon spin and a re-root back to the beginning. There is no big heads this time around, but the players still look a little strange and devoid of any solid detail. The animations aren’t anything to write home about either. Don’t get us wrong it doesn’t look bad, it’s all functional enough but PS2 graphics these are not.

Next to rival Basketball games, NBA Jam may seem like a throwback to earlier games in the Jam series, but it’s a great retrospective nonetheless. We found it a truly enjoyable game that suffers from a few flaws, which have blitzed other Basketball games. For those that possess fond memories of past Jam games, or others who prefer an arcade spin on the sport, sign on the dotted line right now.