Review :: (XBLA) NBA JAM: On Fire Edition

He’s on FIRE!

Written by Super User

Published Sunday, 16 October 2011 20:00

Write your own review !

BOOMSHAKALAKA!! NBA Jam is back! Again! Yep, last year’s return of the hit classic arcade baller was just the beginning as NBA Jam: On Fire Edition has crept onto the court, ready to light you on fire once again. The biggest question was if nostalgic gamers have another slam dunk-fest or if this is one of those unnecessary releases set to capitalize on a popular brand.

In short, it will depend mostly on whether you already have a copy of last year’s release. The On Fire Edition is essentially the game we would have received last year had the defunct NBA Elite 11 actually saw the light of day. Instead, NBA Jam was packaged for a retail release with some additional bells and whistles thrown in. Now, with this downloadable version, it is a bit stripped back, yet enhanced at the same time.

There are two primary modes: Jam Session and Road Trip. Jam Session is the standard single-match or exhibition option found in pretty much every sports release. Pick your team, pick your opponent, and hit the hardwood with as much over-the-top style and flair as possible. Road Trip is the actual campaign, letting you pick your team and vie to dominate the rest of the nation. All the exaggerated moves, oddball cheats like Big Head Mode, Easter Eggs, unlockables, and no-foul, hard-hitting action is present and accounted for, just as one would expect from a Jam release. Better yet, the irreplaceable Tim Kitzrow returns with new commentary, something that is just as synonymous with the franchise as a flaming ball.

What is missing is the Remix Modes found on the 2010 disc. Some fans may be a bit disappointed by this, but I much prefer the more streamlined approach the digital version has. Instead of cluttering things up with even more modes and options, EA Canada focused their attention on the gameplay itself. On Fire Edition brings a number of improvements that are much more welcomed over the the wackiness of Remix. The AI has gained a few IQ points, creating a more balanced challenge (and often times over-balanced, as the AI can be quite brutal). Speaking of which, steals can be offensively countered now with a properly timed pivot, which comes in quite handy more often than you would think. There is now a Team Fire option, where a team goes “On Fire” if they can sink three alley-oops in a row before the opposition can score. And Tag Mode is now default, although you can swap it back to the Classic mode if changing players mid game is not to your liking.

While the Remix Mode is MIA, don’t walk away thinking there won’t be much to do. Road Trip boasts a wide variety of challenges - running from Bronze through Gold - and will put fans to the test. Variety is the name of the game as not only are there three challenges per team, but players are not locked in to a single franchise. If you want to play as the Lakers against the Clippers, and then switch it up and play as the Clippers when facing the Lakers, you can.

The challenges don’t begin and end with Rod Trip neither. On Fire Edition boasts Arena challenges spread across friendly, co-op and vs categories. Essentially these help pad your wallet with Jam Bucks, bumping the experience levels for your persistent online ID (and leading to all those unlockables). As always, Jam is still best experienced when playing with others, and OFE supports both local and online play. This way, you and three other buddies can sit and talk all the smack you want, regardless of location. And really, that’s what Jam is all about, right?

Final Focus

This is easily the best version of NBA Jam to date. It has been improved where it needed to be, and made it a considerably more streamlined and fluid experience in the process. The fact that this was designed for the Xbox 360 and PS3 from the start, instead of a port from the Wii like last year’s entry was, is well apparent and made a world of difference. However, if you still have your copy from last year, it may be hard to justify picking this up unless you are one of the die-hard fans or have a spare $15 that is burning a hole in your virtual wallet. The casual fan may not see a lot of value in owning both version. Although, if you missed the retail release, this is by far the better choice.


+ More streamlined approach + Improved AI + Tons of challenges and unlockables + The best version of the franchise to date
- Fans of last year’s model may be disappointed with the missing Remix modes - Only the Jam faithful will be able to justify the purchase if they still have a copy of the retail release

Final rating
8.8 / 10
More Xbox 360 reviews
2014-11-11 :: Assassin's Creed: Rogue
2014-04-06 :: Dark Souls II
2013-11-12 :: Alien Rage
2013-09-17 :: Grand Theft Auto V
2013-09-15 :: Lost Planet 3
2013-09-13 :: Splinter Cell: Blacklist
2013-08-07 :: Grid 2
2013-07-26 :: Remember Me
2013-07-23 :: (XBLA) Sanctum 2
Game details
(XBLA) NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
Release date : 2011-10-04
Platform :
Publisher : EA Sports
Developer : EA Canada
Gameplay : Sports

GameFocus High Fives, June 2015 - Jesse
There is arguably no other aspect of gaming that is more underappreciated than the Non Player Character (NPC). Serving as companions, quest ...

Read more

GameFocus High Fives Canada Day Bonus Edition
Happy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada! We here at GameFocus hope you’re celebrating the enactment of the British North American Act (Consti...

Read more

GameFocus High Fives, June - D.J.
There is arguably no other aspect of gaming that is more underappreciated than the Non Player Character (NPC). Serving as companions, quest ...

Read more

GameFocus High Fives, June 2015 - Jesse
GameFocus High Fives Canada Day Bonus Edition
GameFocus High Fives, June - D.J.
DLC Talk

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

Here we are. The next generation of consoles is among us and it is finally time to start thinking about finally unplugging our beloved current-gen systems. Could there be a better swan song for one of these systems than taking a trip back to Rapture?

Read more
First Impressions

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us, the upcoming DC fighting game by NetherRealm Studios, is set to be released on April 16th. Even though the release date is just around the corner, they continue to announce additional characters that will be playable upon release, as well as alternate costumes for numerous ... Lire la suite...

More previews
GF Blogs

Why I Haven't Committed to Buying Digital Games

Why I Haven't Committed to Buying Digital Games

Let’s face it: buying digital games is significantly more convenient than buying from a retail store. You don’t have to put pants on to go outside, nor do you even have to go outside. You don’t have to drive to the store, nor do you have to wait in line at said store. On top of that, the price is generally the exact same, if not more for the physical version.

Let’s face it: staying in just your underwear, FTW.

Despite the overwhelming advantages of buying digital, I still can’t fully commit to it. While I understand I am more in the minority with each day that goes by, I truly believe I have a legitimate case about buying physical copies of games.

Read more

PlayStation VR is Everything I Hoped For (and More!)

PlayStation VR is Everything I Hoped For (and More!)

In some sort of cosmic twist, I have seen the future. No, I didn’t find out where/when/why I’ll die, nor did I even find out what I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow (I hope it’s pancakes). But I assure you, I have seen the future.

The future of video games that is. I recently got to test out Morpheus - uh, I mean PlayStation VR - Sony’s answer to the ever-growing interest in virtual reality. Although the headset is currently far from completion, it’s also far from shotty.

Read more

Summer Gaming Guide: What to Play

Summer Gaming Guide: What to Play

Whether it’s a rainy day, a sickness, or some other reason not to go outside and enjoy the beautiful summer air, video games are the perfect way to spend your time - that is, if you can find a game to play. In terms of releases, summer generally isn’t the most fruitful of seasons, and this year is no different. So what games could/should you be sinking your teeth into during the dog days?  

Read more
GameFocus 2015 Top 10
Apotheon (PC)
Splatoon (Wii U)
Rocket League (PlayStation 4)
Splice (PlayStation 4)
Hand of Fate (Xbox One)
Toren (PlayStation 4)
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (PlayStation 4)




GameFocus Podcast: September 2015
This month the gents bask in the last day of summer with tales of Saskatoon roads, video game tattoo litigation and Deus Ex backlash.  We also ...

Read more

GameFocus Podcast: September 2015

Recent comments

Powered by Disqus