At last year’s E3 we got the chance to check out 4MM’s Def Jam: Rapstar in its early stages. At that point they didn’t have the beast that is Konami behind them, now they do they are ready to offer up the best interactive Hip Hop experience to date. As part of our appointment with the team behind Def Jam: Rapstar we got to see the gameplay, which was finer tuned than what we had seen previously. Def Jam: Rapstar gives you the mic and allows you to become the star through its various gameplay modes. These modes include Party, Career, Freestyle and Battle.
During the demonstration a rep from Def Jam: Interactive rapped over 50 Cent’s “I get Money” (chosen by me of course); he had an almost flawless performance on the track, and I say almost because the voice recognition is so sophisticated that it can show you which words you messed up on. The rep only messed up on one word, but the fact that you can see exactly where you went wrong ensures that if you put time into the game you can learn all the songs perfectly. Afterwards the game presented the rep with his stats; he was then able to edit the footage that his Xbox Vision camera had been recording of him during his performance. There are a whole range of stickers, animations and effects that you can add to your video to make it stand out.
You may wonder why standing out would matter; well during our demonstration we were also shown the online social aspects of Def Jam: Rapstar, which is the sole reason you will want to learn those songs and create stunning videos. The Def Jam: Rapstar community acts like your typical social network (think Facebook), except it also gives worldwide stats on every other Rapstar player. The community can be accessed either through the game or via your computer, in my personal opinion the version you will access through your browser is way more detailed. You will be able to see who the top players in Def Jam: Rapstar are, compare your success to other players and challenge players to see if they can spit over a specific track better than you can. The Def Jam: Rapstar community will also communicate with other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to send real time updates about your Rapstar status.
Just like in real Hip Hop you can build crews, and gain rivals. They even captured the beef aspects of Hip Hop, in the sense that if you happen to boot someone out of your crew, they automatically become a rival to the whole crew. The whole thing may seem a little cheesy when said out loud, but it is evident that 4MM are intent on building more than a karaoke game here; they are building a platform for you to literally become a Hip Hop Icon.
Creativity hits Def Jam: Rapstar in a big way with the freestyle mode. The freestyle mode features beats made by a couple well known producers such as Just Blaze. Freestyle mode basically acts like a studio, allowing you to lay down your own verses and hooks to build your very own unique tracks. These tracks can be shared within the community, and Def Jam: Interactive informed us that there is even a chance to get recognized by A&R’s if you get enough co-signs.
After seeing Def Jam: Rapstar in a more complete form I am sticking to my word that It is definitely the most interactive Hip Hop experience to date. Just as you would expect from Harmonix’s Rockband, you can expect weekly DLC for Def Jam: Rapstar which will constantly add new music videos and beats to keep the whole experience fresh. If you are from another country entirely, you can expect Hip Hop from your own origin to be included exclusively in your version of Def Jam: Rapstar along with the standard North American line up. This ensures that there will be something in there for every kind of Hip Hop fan no matter where you are from.
So in summery it is evident that 4MM and Def Jam: Interactive’s new found partnership with Konami has allowed them to expand on their vision. If you like Hip Hop and you want a platform that allows you to rap along with your favorite artists as well as craft some of your own creations, there is no doubt that Def Jam: Rapstar is the perfect tool. With games like DJ Hero and Def Jam: Rapstar it’s clear that Hip Hop is letting it’s presence be known in the gaming industry, a vision that 4MM and The Koalition both shared.