The crazy dunks, wild commentary and big heads are back with NBA Jam: On Fire Edition for Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
I’m a big fan of NBA Jam, but the last few times the series has been rebooted, including last year’s version, it hasn’t kept my attention. NBA Jam: OFE has me addicted and playing the game more than I was back in the 1990s when I was pumping quarters into the arcade version.
NBA Jam: OFE has three game modes: Road Trip, Arena and Jam Now. Jam Now is a basic exhibition mode where you can set your own rules. Arena is NBA Jam: OFE’s online mode which allows you to play against others, while trying to move up the leaderboards. Road trip is a mode that breaks down the NBA teams into regions and provides you with three challenges for each team. The first challenge will feature two current players; we’ll use Boston as an example – Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. The second challenge will be against classic players – Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. The third challenge will be a unique game style, one shot to catch fire, a live ball game with no inbounding, etc. Once you defeat the three team challenges, you will unlock the team mascot and classic players for use in the game.
I’ve spent a majority of my time in Road Trip and what I like most is the flexibility of this mode. Once you unlock classic players, you can use them in Road Trip. And you also aren’t married to just one team in Road Trip. You can play the three challenges with three different teams.
Playing the Road Trip mode is also a great way to earn Jam Bucks. You use Jam Bucks to purchase the unlocked classic players. You also use Jam Bucks to purchase titles and logos for your NBA Jam player card – think Call of Duty. And just like Call of Duty, NBA Jam: OFE has a leveling up system. The desire to unlock, and purchase, all the classic players has kept me playing NBA Jam: OFE over and over.
NBA Jam: OFE has some new gameplay changes that freshen up the franchise. With NBA Jam, you’ve always been able to catch fire with a player once he hits three consecutive shots without the other team scoring. NBA Jam: OFE now has Team Fire, which is triggered when you connect on three consecutive alley-oop dunks. Team Fire can only be broken when the opposing team performs an alley-oop dunk of their own. The new Tag Mode allows you to switch control and use both players on your team. You can also call for your teammate to shove a player by using the left bumper button (L1 on the PS3). I’ve found that to be very helpful while playing defense.
NBA Jam: OFE is an addicting title that does a nice job of mixing in new features to liven up the franchise. But it also stays true to the fans of classic NBA Jam, especially being able to use old school-players like Scottie Pippen, Dominique Wilkins and Patrick Ewing. This title is well worth the 1200 Microsoft points ($15 on PSN).
Rating: 8 out of 10
NBA Jam: OFE Gameplay - Bulls (Pippen/Rodman) vs. Knicks (Ewing/Starks)
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