Video Game Review: NBA 2K11 and NBA JAM

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The virtual court is back in session. This fall 2K Games and EA Sports drop the hammer with their latest NBA franchise games: NBA 2K11 and NBA JAM. It's all about getting back to the basics, and a special number 23.

NBA 2K11: Jordan's Back

While the NBA off-season shook the country, 2K looked for a face to lead their award-winning franchise to new heights. Enter "His Royal Airness" for The Jordan Challenge, which allows gamers to virtually be like Mike for the first time this decade.

The 10-part challenge highlights MJ's most incredible performances, which gamers must match, completing each one before advancing to the next.

After the 10 challenges, you can take MJ and the Bulls (or another historic NBA team) into Association Mode, where you can face-off against modern teams and teach old-school hoops to current superstars.

STACK's Favorite Challenges

Gamers must match MJ's top performances.

The Arrival: Jordan becomes a household name during the '86 Playoffs after putting up 63 points against the Celtics.

69 Points: Jordan breaks the hearts of Cavs fans by racking up 69 points to clinch a spot in the '90 Playoffs.

'91 Finals: The Bulls knock off Magic and the Lakers to claim the first of MJ's six championships.

Michael's Last Dance: Jordan nails a clutch shot with seconds left to defeat the Utah Jazz and win the '98 NBA title, his sixth.

NBA JAM: Back to Basics

Just as Jordan reigned as king of the court in the '90s, Midway's original NBA Jam became a measuring stick for all other virtual bball games. Now, 17 years later, EA Sports is bringing back the two-on-two arcade excitement with NBA JAM.

"We've identified what made NBA Jam such a mega hit, and we built inside and around those cornerstones to ensure that the original game is back the way you love it," says Rob Hilson, art director for EA Sports NBA JAM.

A simple pickup and play control layout brings back all the over-thetop dunks, catchings on fire, smashing of backboards and ridiculous alley-oops. An up-to-date photographic gameplay design reflects a new passion for the game. "[You] not only get a likeness [of the athletes], but it captures expressions and emotions," Hilson says. "When you're flying 40 feet in the air doing a dunk, you're looking at the camera and screaming."

With a simple control layout, along with an old school arcade feel, EA Sports NBA JAM takes gamers back to the basics of what gaming is all about—having fun and yelling "boom shakalaka" while dunking on your crew.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock