E3 10: NBA Jam Hands-on

June 15, 2010

NBA Jam is back. It’s been gone since 1994, though, so does it hold up? We went hands-on.

The game feels pretty much like the original, but there are differences. The 3D engine means shoves are less likely to land, and dunking seems less automatic. The demo uses the new motion control scheme, which means actual shooting motion for shots and blocks. The rep said traditional controls will be present in the final version, which is a relief. We’ll be switching when we get it.

Presentation-wise, the game diverges, yet keeps the style. The big-head thing is an homage to the original’s popular code, and allows for some crazy expressions. Tim Kitzrow is a wonderful way to make it like the original, though he may talk a little too much. Still, the team at least made him say amusing things.

The rating system from the original is back, and it’s just as effective. In our game, we played our hometown Bobcats against the Clippers, and the game was full of bumbling around and missed shots. The group next to us played Lakers-Celtics, and their final score was almost double ours. We can’t wait for the full final roster, though, as that extra strategy is key to the series’ enjoyment. Oh, and dunking on peoples’ faces. That part’s fun too.

NBA Jam will be out later this year.