Thursday, June 28, 2007

Def Jam: Icon

Developer: EA Chicago
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Systems: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
Release date: March 6, 2007
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Rhythm game + fighting game + rappers = Def Jam Icon.

0:01 I like the black and white intro. Very classy
0:02 There are five pages of controls and they all look like this monstrosity.
0:03 I ignore the control instructions and just jam on the buttons. I get some good punch/kick combos going and I manage to blow up a gas dispenser. Sweet!
0:06 More experimenting shows I can do a big swing by flicking the right analog stick. Nice.
0:07 This is the first fighting game I have played where you can get knocked out by a spinning car wash brush. Make of that what you will.
0:08 I get set on fire when I run into an exploded gas dispenser. Luckily it's a temporary condition.
0:10 This is a freaking nice looking game. Beautiful human models, nice smooth animation and realistic backgrounds.
0:12 In the demo, matches just end after a minute or two and a winner is declared with no indication of why he won. No health meter, no "Finish Him..." nothing. I hope it's not that way in the full game. It's very anticlimactic.
0:16 After finding a lot of success just jamming on buttons, I bother to read about the controls. Turns out there isn't much I didn't figure out on my own.
0:18 The convenience store owner just sprayed me with a hose. My character looks mildly annoyed. I'm laughing here.
0:20 I find I can punch a guy in the butt three times after knocking him down just by jamming on X. Homoerotic!
0:24 I decide to see what happens if I do nothing but hit the X button for an entire match. It turns out I win. By a lot.
0:28 The demo loading screen says you have to "learn each song's beat to win the fight." That doesn't seem to be true. The beats makes the background bounce up and down, but that's about it, as far as I can tell.
0:32 This time I do nothing but grabs for the entire match. I win again. I know they don't want the demo to scare people off by being too hard, but this is just lame.
0:36 This time I mix it up. Half the match I spend circling the right stick clockwise, and half the match counterclockwise. Another easy win. Sigh.
0:40 Pacificst match: I dance around dodging without throwing a punch. My opponent catches me five or six times. That's better than I thought he'd do, actually.
0:44 Doing nothing but setting off explosions for a whole match is not a good strategy. Fun to watch though.
0:48 What kind of fighting game requires you to hold a button and move an analog stick just to block? A game that doesn't emphasize strategy, that's what kind.
0:52 Using my "scratching" ability to blow things up seems kind of gimmicky. It's only useful in highly specific situations which are hard to set up. That's a shame, since this music thing had the potential to make the game interesting.

Would I buy this game based on the demo? No
Why? Nice to look at and it might be OK with a second player, but it's a button masher through and through.

This review is based on a demo version downloaded from the PlayStation Network

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