Def Jam: Icon
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Games Chicago
Number of players: 1-2 (VS/ Xbox Live)
Platform: Xbox 360/PS3
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Blood, Strong Lyrics, Violence
"The music drives my life, world and soul"
The New Year rang in with over anticipated games and right down the list was the new installment to the Def Jam series and as many gamers couldnít wait to get their hands on it, I was one of them. Def Jam: Icon picks up a few years after Def Jam: Fight For New York, one of the associates from the previous installment is viciously slain and a discussion is immediately followed highlighting the events up to that day. Now as air tight as the plot was planned, the story felt that is was lacking in certain areas and parts in the plot seemed to show no relevance to the subject at hand. An interesting story though plenty of holes leaving the gamer thinking about what just happen and second guessing makes me think what was EA doing while scripting the story?
EA pushed the limits and added massive amounts features and extras to fill those plot holes and take the gamer on an interactive roller coaster ride through Def Jam. EA removed the previous fighting system and replaced it with focusing on punch and kickís and removing the unrealistic acrobats and exaggerated grapple moves. Icon has the brand new feature DJ/Environment controls, while fighting simply throw your opponent into a hazard and prepare to man the turntables to thrash your victim about with a barrage of heavy hitting music beats and explosions by holding the Left Trigger and ďscratchingĒ with the Analogís. Gamers might turn away from the little gem to soon realizing that the fighting mechanics are slowed down instead of the original clobber fast pace wrestling type of before, no weaponry and one on one battling turning the game into a realistic brawl (aside from the hazard feature) kept me tuned in, to each his/her own I presume. Another plus, everything is very uncomplicated, grapple moves are localized right in the directional pad and fighting with the Analog is an excellent change from the button mashing.
Def Jam: Icon truly stands out when it comes to the audio department, Iím not a big fan of the Rap genre but battling to some of these songs gets one pumped and fueled for the fight. Now the music in Icon just doesnít play about in the background, you use the music to fight. Depending on the Artist you choose, if his song is playing you get hyped from the beats and your actions become stronger, time your punch and kicks to the beat and your artist will pummel the competition. For those who dislike Rap, Xbox 360 owners simply enter the My Custom Soundtracks mode and battle to your favorite music with the same effects giving the gamer a personalized touch to Icon. The only downside is those custom tracks can only be used in that mode only, itís not that devastating to the game though as Icon provides some adrenaline injected beats to fight with but you canít help wish that EA would of opened the door for it.
Letís head to Graphics, for the first time in playing video games my entire life have I come across a game thatís just flat out realistic. Iím not to updated on some rappers like some people so I decided to match these Rap Artist up with their actual pictures and my jaw dropped, watertight would be the word. Everything matches perfectly with the real life counterpart, tattoos, distinct scars; facial features and yes even their ďGrillsĒ are decked out in unbelievable detail. Icon doesnít sport the Heads Up Display (HUD) like many fighting games, EA takes it one step further making the gamer rely on visual damage and condition the character is in as he becomes lethargic, battered and injured to tired to fight. The environments are just about impressive as the characters if not even more. Now as I said before the music plays a key role in combating, the music also effects the scenery as well, bass hitís will cause major special effects making the surroundings shake and buildings visually bend to minor things as making the rims spin on vehicles.
After Icon is completed in story mode it leaves many things to get involved in, Build a Label mode allows the gamer to act as manager and hire other aspiring artists onto your label. The Build a Label mode features tons of characters to run into and itís very addicting a must try. Xbox Live just adds to the immensity of Icon, take on anyone from around the globe in an one on one battle to become the greatest. Icon supports the headset function so you can talk trash or just converse while brawling, it gets a little bothersome though as you run into people who do nothing but rap, some are decent Iíll give them that but several you find yourself unplugging the headset. Overall Def Jam: Icon is a solid hitting title with only minor blemishes in the plot department and soundtrack freedom. I recommend to rent it if youíre still unsure but if your into realistic fisticuffs with unbelievable graphics, special effects and features this would be the game for you.
Replay Value/Features: 9/10
Written by Bloodytl on March 31, 2007. Please contact for permission to use.