Yesterday, we here at Pixelated Geek were fortunate enough to be invited to the Konami offices in El Segundo, California for a little taste of what they had in store for E3. One of the games we got our hands on was Def Jam Rapstar. Def Jam Rapstar is the first exclusively focused hip hop music game for the current generation of consoles. Think of it as Rock Band, but strictly rap and hip hop. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Not another freakin music game.” Well that’s what I think when I hear of titles like Rock Band: Green Day. But it’s true, fans of rap and hip hop have been largely ignored by these types of games. Def Jam Rapstar aims to change that. But don’t let the name fool you, it not only includes artists from Def Jam, but various artists from different labels as well. More after the break.
The game will be shipped with over 40 songs straight out of the box. From old school to the new stuff, some of the songs already announced are:
- “A Milli”- Lil Wayne
- “C.R.E.A.M.”- Wu Tang Clan
- “Children’s Story”- Slick Rick
- “Gold Digger”- Kanye West
- “I Get Around”- Tupac
- “I Get Money”- 50 Cent
- “Juicy”-Notorious B.I.G.
- “Live Your Life”- T.I.
- “Nuthin But a G Thang”- Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
So how were they able to get all these different artists? Good question. Thanks to Kevin Liles, owner of Def Jam enterprises and through his relationships in the Hip Hop Industry, Def Jam Rapstar was able to get access to a lot of songs that other publishers and developers usually have a hard time clearing.
The game is rated T so expect the edited versions of these songs. But have no fear, if you’re used to dropping f bombs and other obscenities from these songs you won’t be penalized as long as it’s just a word or two. What will get you are entire phrases. For example:
Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the do’/Ready to make an entrance so back on up/Cuz you know we’re ’bout to rip sh*t up
Ready to make an entrance so back on up/before I have to pull the strap out the cut
If you’re used to the original uncensored version, saying the original phrase will cost you since the edited version of the line is completely different.
Def Jam Rapstar offers 3 modes of game play. The first is Party mode, which allows you to jump right into any available song. Upon shipment, the game will offer at least half of its library of songs available for Party mode. The rest have to be unlocked through Career mode. Within Party mode there are 3 ways of playing. Solo, meaning one person doing everything on their own. Duet, which would be two people playing; one doing Dr. Dre and the other Snoop Dogg to use Nuthin but a G Thang as an example. Finally the last is Battle, which would be two people going toe to toe, word for word through the whole song for points.
Def Jam Rapstar also offers Career mode. Within Career mode there are 5 stages. To advance from one stage to the other, you need to accumulate a certain number of mics across all the songs that are offered in that particular stage. Career also contains Challenge mode, which offers challenges based on timing and score and will also unlock various items within the game.
The final mode Def Jam Rapstar is freestyle mode. This is where all you aspiring mc’s can drop your own dope rhymes on some fresh instrumentals. These instrumentals will be provided by some of hip hop’s biggest producers. Details on who still yet to be announced.
Scoring is based on 3 things: pitch, timing and accuracy. Those of us familiar with other music games such as Rock Band know that when we don’t know the lyrics to a song, we can pretty much bs our way through it by humming the correct pitch. Not so fast here. A new, innovative technology has been incorporated that will definitely make Def Jam Rapstar stand out above the rest. The game uses voice technology that knows exactly what you should be saying. So no bs’n your way here.
Def Jam Rapstar stresses the fact that it is all about you. In other games, your created avatar is who you see on the screen performing the songs. Def Jam Rapstar uses no avatars whatsoever. Instead, it uses the Xbox 360 Live Vision camera and the Playstation Eye for the PS3. It records your entire performance so you can see yourself make a fool of, well yourself. So while performing your song, in addition to the lyrics, the original music video of the song you’ve chosen will be playing, as well as your performance through the camera itself.
The reason they do this, is because Def Jam Rapstar allows you to save your video and use their in game video editing tools to select the best 30 seconds of your performance. These editing tools allow you to add sticker layers, motion graphics as well as audio elements such as reverb and pitch correction. Once you’ve perfected your video, you are able to upload it onto their website and begin sharing it not only with the Def Jam Rapstar community, but with your social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as well. Once these videos have been uploaded, you are able to challenge someone else’s video with one of yours. Then the community decides who has the best video. The cool thing about this is that anyone can take part in the judging of the video, not just those who own the game or who are a part of the Def Jam Rapstar community. It is your job to promote your video, and get as much positive feedback as you can, so you can be victorious in these battles. Another cool thing about this is that there is no minimum amount of points necessary to upload your video. So not only will we be able to see some really impressive videos, but the real bad ones as well. And who doesn’t have fun watching those? Maybe we’ll discover the next William Hung or Pants on the Ground guy.
Overall my first experience with Def Jam Rap Star was definitely a fun one. Being a big rap and hip hop fan I was glad to see the variety of artists and songs already offered within the game. The online community and the ability to share your videos with everyone will definitely give the game a good amount of replay value. It’s true that these types of party games do tend to get stale fast, but with the features Def Jam Rap Star offers, I don’t see this as being an issue. An official release date won’t be announced for about two weeks as well as the bundles and pricing, however most third party microphones will work. It will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii. Look for Def Jam Rapstar to be hittin the streets sometime this fall.