Hip-hop fans rejoice! You now have a game dedicated to your musical taste, and a solid one at that. Before last weeks release of Def Jam Rapstar, hip-hop fans have been shit out of luck on finding a music game that features music that they actually like. Def Jam Rapstar fills that empty void. Developer 4MM Games has created a really good hip-hop karaoke game, and might get even better if all of their ambitious community features come to fruition.
Def Jam Rapstar is a hip-hop karaoke game that requires some familiarity with hip-hop. For one, you have to enjoy hip-hop music. You also have to be somewhat familiar with the 45 hip-hop songs available on the disc. Unlike Rock Band, I never felt like I discovered new music that I like. Maybe that’s because most of the songs on disc are songs that I’ve heard of but wasn’t too familiar with all the words said in the song. Songs like ‘It Takes Two’ and ‘Push It’ aren’t songs I know all the words too and on second thought, they’re not songs I ever wanna play in this game again. I felt like I rapped every single song I really wanted to within the first hour of playing. But I do salute the game for offering a wide range of music, from oldies to the newest song out. Not to mention the fact that there is already a couple of great tracks as DLC like The Clipse’s ‘Grindin’ and Luniz ‘I Got 5 On It’.
It’s kind of bitter sweet feeling that these songs are presented in music video format when rapping. Sweet because you get some visuals to watch while you play. Bitter because all of these songs are edited, that means you’ll be rapping the clean version of these songs. If you know the words than you can just fill in the blank, and if you don’t prepare for it to throw you off your whole flow. I couldn’t help but to mess up when I have to rap out ” — on –, the realest — I ever –” from Young Jeezy’s ‘Put On’. I also took note that the word “ass” is blanked out on some tracks and left in on others, don’t know why that is exactly. It also kind of sucks that the skits to some of the music videos are left in. So the music will stop because a skit from the music video is being played, this can easily be skipped with a push of a button so keep the control nearby.
As for gameplay modes, all the usual music game modes are present. Quick party mode to get you in a game with a friend. Career mode which lacks some depth. All have to do is play the songs and get the required amount of stars to move up a stage. I really would of liked some create a character feature in this game with the objective being to move him up in the hip-hop world. As typical as that may sound, it would of been better than the career mode in this game now. You can also perform some freestyles over several of instrumental beats provided by big name producers like Just Blaze and DJ Khalil.
Every time you grab the mic and play the game you have the ability to record 30 seconds of your performance provided that you have an Xbox Live Vision Cam, Playstation Eye, or Kinect. That 30 second clip can be edited using Def Jam Rapstar’s video editing tools. You can add stickers, video fx, and even animations to spice up your video performance. Using the camera and uploading video directly to the Rapstar community site is really fun, I enjoyed doing some freestyles and sharing it with my Koalition colleagues.
If a solid hip-hop karaoke title has been on your wish list, Def Jam Rapstar is the dream come true. It made some mistakes, could use a few improvements, but it was pure fun. It’s quite fun making videos and showing them off. I’m now curious to see what 4MM Games does to expand the life of this title, whether it be DLC or some more community features.