NBA Jam‘s 2010 resurrection set sports gaming aflame thanks to creative director Trey Smith’s genuine love for the storied franchise (and input from Jam creator Mark Turmell) that saw the title match the high-flying fun that its arcade predecessors such a smash hit. Praised by both fans and critics alike, NBA Jam was quite the well received arcade sports title, but there were a few issues that dampened and otherwise excellent game. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition fixes those issues this fall.
A$15 PS3 and Xbox 360 downloadable, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition now lets players switch between ballers on the fly—one of the most requested features from Jam fans. This dramatically changes the Jam experience; in my hands-on time with the game at a recent EA event, I found that relying on my own instincts to switch on and off was far more effective at waxing opponents than hoping my computer-controlled teammate would fit into my offensive and defensive schemes. Even better, you can now call for alley-oops and shoves (which can act as extremely hardcore picks).
Jam wouldn’t be Jam without its over-the-top elements, and the On Fire Edition serves up even more shenanigans such as “Team Fire.” The latter occurs when you score three consecutive alley-oops, igniting both of you and your teammate in blue flames. “Team Fire” has a potentially shorter lifespan than an individual player being on fire. It dissipates after 20 seconds, or after a rival scores an alley-oop, whichever comes first. Still, it’s quite deadly; I eliminated a 15 point deficit in the fourth quarter against one smack-talking Avion Foster-Jarvis by downing three from deep behind the arc. You can ball locally or online.
EA Sports has added Razzle Dazzle moves to the mix, showboating moves that occur when you thoroughly scorch an opponent. Another more radical change has happened behind the scenes. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition adopts Fight Night‘s REAL. A.I. system, which is designed to create a more organic CPU opponent. A.I.behavior will be based on basketball archetypes – Big Man, Forward, All-Rounder, Shooting Guard and Point Guard. In addition, at any given time gamers have the option of playing against their own A.I. to stare at their own game in the mirror.
NBA Jam: On Fire Edition promises to be the most player-packed game in the series, featuring all 30 NBA teams and even more returning classic players (none of which were available to play in the demo build I sat down with). Smith was tight-lipped on the new faces, but he stated that NBA fans won’t be disappointed with the new roster additions, which includes stars from older Jams that didn’t make it into last year’s remake.