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OS Scores Explained NBA JAM: On Fire Edition Overview (Xbox 360)
Pros
Great dunks and audio visual experience, player ratings add strategy and depth, online co-op.
Cons
A.I. teammates sometime forget to play on their own, remix tour is gone, menu interface is confusing.
Bottom Line
Plays a smooth game of NBA Jam, but a lack of depth will keep many from getting full enjoyment out of this title.
7
out of 10
NBA JAM: On Fire Edition REVIEW

NBA JAM: On Fire Edition Review (Xbox 360)

Read about how we complete our reviews. You can check out the review process here, and then you can scope out the scoring guidelines and scoring rubric.

NBA JAM: On Fire Edition is the second JAM title from EA Sports since the comeback of this historic arcade title. JAM has the razzle-dazzle of current generation graphics with the simple gameplay enhancements to the classic game. 

JAM: OFE fuses the best of NBA All-Star weekend and throws it all into four quarters of hoops. In 2011, Black Mamba and his flywire Nikes catch fire off the dish from Magic for an alleyoop – just one of the many dream teams that can be formed with the playable legends in the game. 

Gameplay

The controls are simple. Ballers have to weave their way through shoves and elbows as you try to take flight for the classic freethrow line jam. You have your standard turbos on each trigger hand. 

There are plenty of challenges to play through. Achievements will provide JAM points to go and unlock your favorite dunkers of all time in Jam Central: Magic, and Alonzo Mourning being some of my personal favorites. 

As you play through the game, you’ll quickly realize that the player ratings have a considerable influence on your strategy. Guards with speed and quickness will have the ability to counter the power dunkers through steals and shiftiness. Each player performs as expected according to their real-life attributes. Defensive beasts like Alonzo Mourning and Dennis Rodman will protect the paint at all costs, shoving anybody they see into the first row.

Players such as Durant may be the ultimate weapons in NBA JAM. Durant’s outside shot, speed, shot blocking ability and dunk ratings make KD the most dominant player I’ve seen in this title thus far. 

AI teammates will actually make a good amount of plays for you in NBA JAM: OFE. Dunkers take backdoor cuts for alley-oops and your players attack on defense in crunch time moments and go for steals. 

The bumpers are used to control the AI teammates on the fly; RB will send your teammate out for an alley-oop and LB will set a pick with a push. This control allows for a few options from the point of attack for the users.

When you are not controlling teammates, they do make bonehead plays. If you get blocked and tossed onto the baseline after a missed dunk, teammates always feel the need to try and go up for a monster put-back jam, leaving the opposition a clear run at a dunk on the other end. These hiccups occur, and you can combat them by quickly clicking on the teammate if you have to in these types of situations. Another example occurs on fast breaks. Occasionally your teammate will go try and clear somebody out behind you instead of running ahead for the alley-oop to get team fire.

This year’s title added triple-threat pivot moves. If you lose your active dribble, you won't be completely defenseless against oncoming shoves by throwing your elbows. Players can evade shoves by dodging under and around them while planted on a pivot foot.

This year's opponent AI technology was originated in the NHL series, and was also used with the Fight Night series. The computer will learn and record the sequences playing out on the court and adapt. The AI will also merge with online opponent's tendencies to constantly evolve its approach. In the time I have spent with the game, the opponent AI had different strategies in every game depending on how the game was playing out. 

The only repetitive AI I found was playing against the classic Orlando Magic of Shaq and Dwight Howard - all they want to do is jam on you - which is expected, and almost unstoppable. 

Presentation

In JAM: OFE, the cameras flash and Spalding genuine leather catches brilliant red and blue flames. NBA Jam’s colors pop off the screen. The graphic work and camera work create awesome entertainment on every end of the floor. The camera follows dunker's rising through the air from the third-story balcony back down to the throwdown. These emphatic dunks and put-back jams rock rims, and shake your television monitors. The put-back jams in a close game are one of the most exciting plays in sports gaming I've had in quite some time. 

Players feature their subtle details in their signature shooting styles. It adds a bit of character to each player. Durant has long arms that can make it rain from anywhere from his half of the court. You'll notice the players balling in their signature shoes as well, fully licensed across the board from the uniforms down to the laces. 

Not to be outdone, the commentary is what we've known to love. Announcer Tim Kitzrow returns with the catch phrases that will leave you scratching your head. 

Main Modes of Play

The Road Trip mode will allow gamers to play through each region of the country through a series of tag teams for each franchise. Each team will have three levels of duos to go through, each providing new rules to the game along the way. The third level tag team for each team typically will be the legendary team or some type of new-school, old-school roster. The achievements are broken down into five categories, each becoming increasingly more difficult as you progress.

The Celtics suit up Bird and Ray Allen, and value three pointers at four points. The rules will play to your opponent’s strengths causing gamers to rethink strategy on what squad to employ with the new game rules and skill sets of your opponents. 

Online Play

JAM’s online mode will enable gamers to ball across all borders. The online co-op allows up to four gamers to compete in glass shattering throw-downs at a smooth frame rate. EA Sports’ servers have always proven to be pretty stable. 

Players can team up with online friends and battle through all of the NBA teams from coast to coast in online Co-Op Road Trip. Co-Op provides some significant help against unstoppable gold teams you will encounter on your campaign. 

JAM: OFE tracks your record online and off and ranks your numbers against the world. I suggest to befriend some of your biggest competition with the new friend system – friends on your buddy list carry stats towards your own achievements. For instance, if 100 alley-oops are needed to level up, your buddies’ stats will help you get there. There is also a new weekly leaderboard that ranks everyone who is playing the game. Each week, the best of the best will get to play each other to see who is the most dominant JAM player. After the seventh day, it starts over again giving you another chance at domination.

The idea of playing friends from anywhere and anytime in an old-school game of NBA JAM online is truly a lovable feature.

Final Thoughts

NBA JAM is a game where the nonstop highlight reel dunks are always satisfying. Road Trip provides unique challenges along the way, forcing gamers to employ some basketball strategy and knowledge to get through each level of a region. This title is a must have for basketball fans, simulation fans included.

Learning Curve: Straightforward gameplay with a subtle layer of depth that keeps you coming back for more.

Control Scheme: Simple and welcoming control scheme to all gamers.

Visuals: The graphics and colors are beautifully done, retaining the classic 2D look in a 2011 HD broadcast.

Audio: The audio is non-stop, featuring cartoon sound effects for every action.

Value: For such a classic and enjoyable title, this game will always provide entertainment to basketball fans.

Score: 7.0 (Good)

What does a 7.0 mean? "7.0 - 7.5 (Good) -- These games are pretty good, and while having several notable flaws, they generally play well and are quite fun. They definitely are not great yet, but with a few fixes they could get there. These are solid buys, especially if you like the sport."


NBA JAM: On Fire Edition Videos
Member Comments
# 1 eaterofworlds888 @ 10/13/11 12:12 PM
I'm thinking about getting this sometime. I downloaded the demo a couple nights ago and liked it pretty well. It's very fun. Dunks are awesome looking plus I always liked arcade NBA games. Not as much as I like Simulation NBA games but the Street series was awesome to me and I used to love NBA on NBC on the N64. For only $15 this looks like a good pick up for me at some point.
 
# 2 Evlmnky33 @ 10/13/11 01:28 PM
Got it day 1 and still playing and loving it. The Call of Duty style rank system keeps me coming back trying to rank up. So much to unlock for 15 bucks, great purchase,
 
# 3 murph17 @ 10/13/11 02:23 PM
This is a must have for old-school arcade fans. I actually HATE basketball. But I LOVE NBA JAM!
 
# 4 jcmreds @ 10/13/11 04:23 PM
"This title is a must have for basketball fans"

Well then why is it rated only a 7? Some people are just gonna skip to the end of the review see a 7 and go meh nothing special. I think if a game is "must have" it should be at worst an 8.

On the bottom line it says "a lack of depth will keep many from getting full enjoyment out of this title." Then under value it says "this game will always provide entertainment to basketball fans". Make up your mind does it lack depth or will it always provide entertainment.
 
# 5 ghm125 @ 10/13/11 04:38 PM
whats different from this and last years nba jam non arcade download game?
 
# 6 jcmreds @ 10/13/11 04:42 PM
Before anyone says new ratings system blah blah here is the definition of a 7 game under the new scoring system.

7.0 - 7.5 (Good) -- These games are pretty good, and while having several notable flaws, they generally play well and are quite fun. They definitely are not great yet, but with a few fixes they could get there. These are solid buys, especially if you like the sport.


I read the review and saw nothing close to "several notable flaws mentioned" in fact there was only one teammate AI, and even that got a positive comment. Now the defintion for an 8/8.5 game sounds exaclty how the review for NBA Jam went.

8.0 - 8.5 (Great) -- These games are really quite good. There are a few notable flaws with the game holding it back from being a classic, but these games are worth the money, and for even casual fans of the sport they are definite purchases.

The comment at the end of the review saying it was a must have for b-ball fans sounds like a defniite purchase to me.
 
# 7 noshun @ 10/13/11 05:11 PM
Downloaded the demo on ps3. The game is meh to me. Tim Kitzrow seems forced in trying to be funny, which he really wasn't. Not enough to make me wanna buy this. I'll just stick to the demo when I need a break from 2k12.

Did like the updated graphics, and rosters. Its okay...


One thing that urks me, is one of the reasons EA has a issue when it comes to basketball and I know this is an arcade game. Adding badgers and pandas, is the furthest thing from basketball. It was 1 of the reasons I feel they "don't get it" when it come to just basketball related things people have been asking for for years in Live/Elite like "shortened season 28/56" option thats been on wishlist since 05.

Proiritize and focus on just basketball, then add the fluff later.... .
 
# 8 mike24forever @ 10/13/11 07:12 PM
This review score is directly related to 8.5 backlash of NBA 2K12. I hate to be that person, but this is a GREAT arcade basketball game, and the review should be based on that, and that alone. To say that this version of NBA Jam is "good", is a joke. This game is a blast. The attention to detail is amazing, and most importantly it plays a great game of arcade basketball. A must buy, if you enjoy this type of game.

This being said, if the reviewer rated this higher then 2K12, some people in this community would have tried to lynch him.
 
# 9 SBartlett @ 10/14/11 12:36 PM
All, the score behind the game is based more on innovation. The game doesn't bring new elements of gaming to the table, it just refines and old successful formula..I love the game, I think the review states that.

The bottom line at the top was actually written by an editor, and not me. I'm checking out why it was written since it goes against what I say in the review. Once the article is submitted though, it's no longer mine as it works in journalism, even in our online blog oriented type of gaming news site : ).

I wrote the pros and cons, though. I do believe there is some solid game play strategy in here if you read the review. Thanks all, appreciate it.
 
# 10 jcmreds @ 10/14/11 04:17 PM
Knowing that you didn't write the bottom line part makes the review make more sense. I'm not sure how much more innovative they could've got. It's NBA Jam an established product, and people expect certain things from it. I don't see a whole lot of innovation from sports games in general latley. I think most of the focus on the sims games is going into realism and replicating the sport accurately.
 
# 11 SmashMan @ 10/15/11 12:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by noshun
One thing that urks me, is one of the reasons EA has a issue when it comes to basketball and I know this is an arcade game. Adding badgers and pandas, is the furthest thing from basketball. It was 1 of the reasons I feel they "don't get it" when it come to just basketball related things people have been asking for for years in Live/Elite like "shortened season 28/56" option thats been on wishlist since 05.

Proiritize and focus on just basketball, then add the fluff later.... .
...what the hell?

You realize the original NBA Jam had characters that had no business on the court, right?

Mortal Kombat


Warren Moon, NFL quarterback


Will Smith


George Clinton


Bill Clinton


What do any of these people have to do with basketball? I can understand disappointment in Live/Elite or whatever, but to knock EA for NBA Jam having hidden teams that are unrelated to basketball is just stupid. As with many other aspects of EA's remake of NBA Jam, this is true to the original.
 
# 12 Earl1963 @ 10/15/11 03:48 PM
I'm yet to come across any flaws in this game. Therefore the review didn't make a whole lot of since to me. Really good game 9/10
 
# 13 bigdnlaca @ 10/17/11 02:47 PM
I agree with this review. It is a very fun game but to me the online just takes the fun away. My record I think is 26-5 or 6, somewhere in that neighborhood so I don't want to hear that "You don't know how to play" crap.

Anyways, I was playing over the weekend and now I just don't want to play it no more until it is patched. The 3 point shots of last yr wasn't a guarantee 3 points last yr because it was easier to block it with someone who had the ability to block it and you have to have a high 3pt rating for the shot to go down everytime.

This yr. the Computer AI online is in question. I think the difficulty level has to be on medium because they rarely help you at all on defense. If you make them become more aggressive, they can be out of position. If you make them conservative, they sometimes will stand there like a rock at times.

I'm not even going to go there with the disconnects. This game needs one patch because it seems like anyone that is a 6 or higher in 3pts are shooting them like layups when contested and it is boring going against people online who plays the same exact way every game.
 
# 14 GisherJohn24 @ 10/18/11 07:47 PM
This game is incredible online. Favorite sports game right now
 
# 15 Yrogergj24 @ 10/18/11 09:11 PM
This is my favorite game that I have on PSN besides Fat Princess and NASCAR DoT Edition.
 
# 16 Winton88 @ 11/14/11 03:40 AM
On the bottom line it says "a lack of depth will keep many from getting full enjoyment out of this title." Then under value it says "this game will always provide entertainment to basketball fans". Make up your mind does it lack depth or will it always provide entertainment.
 
# 17 bucs2nine @ 11/16/11 12:09 PM
1) Needs season mode and stat leaders category.

2) Needs season mode and stat leader category.

3) more of the above.

NEEDS MORE COWBELL !!!!!!
 
# 18 LingeringRegime @ 11/16/11 12:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by bucs2nine
1) Needs season mode and stat leaders category.

2) Needs season mode and stat leader category.

3) more of the above.

NEEDS MORE COWBELL !!!!!!
It's not a sim, it doesn't that. Maybe a custom tournament for online/offline play. That would be fun.
 
# 19 PFellah @ 11/28/11 11:51 AM
Could care less about the NBA, and have never bought a "realistic" NBA title, but I love NBA Jam OFE. It's fun, it's got that "easy to be competent, tough to master" factor, and it fits well into a gaming schedule... can always rip off a quick game or two when you don't have time for something more time-consuming (coughSkyrimcough).
 
# 20 Blzer @ 12/02/11 01:55 AM
So, it didn't dawn on me that Road Trip actually had a platinum tier difficulty AI to play against with every team. I was wondering why I was only at 50% completion when I had finished beating all the teams on the silver tier, until I unlocked platinum for a division after earning gold against all of them.

This game just has an incredible amount of longevity. I'm just breaching said gold tier, and I'm nearly at 20 hours played with this title!
 

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