NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Hands-On

The arcade classic returns in downloadable form and we had the chance to try it out.

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NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
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Last fall, EA Sports decided to release disc-based versions of NBA Jam onto the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Although the content was more than enough to warrant such a decision, gamers felt that the same package could have been offered as a downloadable game. Well, that is exactly what the guys at its Vancouver studio have done with the upcoming release of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, which is scheduled to hit both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live this fall.

The primary focus this time around is delivering the arcade package that so many basketball fans wanted in the first game. From the opening tip, the new Tag mode feature opens the door to more control options. This time, you won't be forced to select one player and be stuck with him; now, you'll be able to switch between both members of your team and never have to hope that the AI does what you want them to do.

As a way of giving you more control, the bumper buttons can be used to call specific actions to be done by the computer-controlled teammate. Need a shove or want to make sure your players ready themselves for an alley-oop? Well, with the touch of a bumper button, the AI will perform that particular action. As well as adding this "call feature," the controls have been fine-tuned, and the ability to use either trigger for turbo is a welcome improvement.

Not only are the AI aspects of the game being improved, but there are also a number of additions being made that add another layer to trash-talking without having to utter a single word. This is done with a new play feature called razzle-dazzles. These moves, which have multiple options, give you that moment to show off just how good you are and stick it to your opposition. They vary from players "yawning" to doing "The Dougie." Performing these moves is extremely easy; simply hold the two trigger buttons and press the corresponding face button to pull off the action. Although there will be a lot of different moves to pull off, knowing when to use them will be key. If you spend too much time trying to show off, don't be surprised if your opposition takes advantage and erases the lead you once had.

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These are just a couple of the new features that basketball fans can expect when NBA Jan: On Fire Edition hits XBLA and the PSN later this fall. With a $15 price tag and the promises of roster updates, as well as other goodies still to be revealed, this could be the version of NBA Jam so many people have wanted.

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