239th played so far

Genre: Fighting
Platform: PS2/Gamecube/Xbox
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: AKI Corporation, EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts

It’s official, the drought of fighting games is now over. 50 games since we last covered one (Splatterhouse) and finally we doing our next one as part of X-Fest. The main reason for this is that as part of my 50 a lot of fighting games (as well as Resident Evil) has been off-limits since I played a lot of them… which is great for 8 games time since I can get back to breaking some skulls. I already miss my RPGs and strategy games…

Our Thoughts

I have a thing about games that are trying to be cool (one of the reasons that games like Tony Hawk and Free Running tend to leave me cold) and reading the blurb of this game on the back of the cover really began to get my hackles up. That and a lot of rap and hip hop music… plus Cher Lloyd. This is where I will draw a line under my own personal feelings about the desperation to appear ‘hip’ or ‘street’… I mean what the hell do I care I’m a teacher. Time to focus on the rest of the game.

Character creation is something that we see a lot of in gaming; especially in Western RPGs like Mass Effect and Baldur‘s Gate. It is a bit rarer to see it be such a central element to a fighting game. I mean it’s found in most wrestling games but, again, it isn’t an essential because you can always play as The Undertaker or whatever. In this game you can not only control how your character looks, dresses and sounds but also everything about your fighting. There are a number of key fighting styles and finishing moves you can choose for your fighter plus in true RPG style you are able to decide in what areas your character trains in. It is advisable to not neglect some of them because, you know, your opposition will make mincemeat out of you. It’s actually quite interesting how this game integrates it. While most fighting games go for set characters to preserve balance – great for multiplayer and to master a game, but less ideal for telling a story and make for a replayable solo campaign. The addition of this system made it immediately more interesting for me, both for the replayability and because it means you have your chance to master the inital game while giving you a chance to build up the moves you can use.

On the whole the story mode is very impressive and in depth for a fighting game. Personally I prefer BlazBlue because those sorts of Japanese anime story-lines are more my thing but hey that’s me. In Def Jam: Fight for NY you are in a posse and fighting random guys in bars until you are high up enough in the food chain to fight Foreman from House or that rapper who now has his own reality show. At the time the line-up for this game (and in face now it is still impressive) but playing this 8 years later it is fun to see who was cool enough to be in a fighting game where street cred might as well be currency. Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion), Danny Trejo, Lil Kim and Carmen Electra are still known but who remembers Redman? You know the guy who rapped on Christina Aguilera’s song ‘Dirrty’. What about Comp? No me neither.

Aside from the parts of the game that make me feel whiter than a sheet of plain A4 paper this is a game that offers a surprising amount of depth. Depth you would not expect from a fighting game that features a wide cast of rappers (and some casual sexism). Depth that rewards a very long time playing the story mode to work out the kinks in your character as well as the construction of your own crew. Which is apparently a good thing if you want to keep your territory… apparently… I prefer to spend my time watching forties movies on Netflix.

Final Thoughts

It’s not our world. It’s not a world that interests us much. But when you leave that, this is an interesting game whose fighting style is adjusted well through its multitude of options and provides a more interesting curve of improvement thanks to its basic RPG elements. Somewhat unexpected before we started. But it makes for something fun that’s slightly different – appealing enough to me.