Def Jam Vendetta was a surprising hit that merged the world of hip-hop with the popular wrestling engine developed by AKI. Now, EA and AKI are teaming up again to deliver a new follow-up called Def Jam: Fight for NY.
The main difference between Vendetta and Fight for NY is that the new game is much less wrestling-focused. While the game still has strikes and grapples like you'd expect an AKI-developed game to have, the game keeps you out of the ring and into various nefarious locales, like subway stations and abandoned warehouses. There will be 20 different areas to fight in, and there will also be ten different types of matches. The inferno match drops you into the middle of a ring of fire, making staying in the center a must. The subway train match ends when one player gets tossed onto the tracks and slammed by a subway car. All of the arenas will have something to interact with, be it a large beam that you can slam other players into or a beer bottle sitting on top of a speaker that you can pick up and break over some poor fool's skull. Baseball bats also come into play in some cases.
Over 40 characters from the world of hip-hop and entertainment will be included. The version shown here at E3 only contained five, but those five cover the game's five different fighting styles: submission, wrestling, martial arts, street fighting, and kickboxing. The rappers shown in the demo version are Ludacris, Sticky Fingaz, Busta Rhymes, Redman, and Method Man. You'll also create your own fighter to work your way through the game's story mode, and your custom appearance will reflect your character's appearance in both fights and cutscenes. Lots of custom, licensed items will be available for created characters, from clothing to jewelry to tattoos. Custom fighters will also be able to merge moves from the game's five styles into a unique fighting style.
Speaking of jewelry, the shine of chains and earrings is one of the game's many graphical touches. The game's character models are lifelike and very detailed, and the game's animation is really solid, which adds a little oomph to the game's punches and kicks. Above all, the moves and strikes in Fight for NY look like they really hurt. Some of the game's other features, like the crowd that surrounds you in some arenas who toss away nearby fighters, add a lot to the game's great look.
On the soundtrack side, EA is taking a less strict approach to soundtrack censoring. Additionally, a lot of voice has been recorded for the game. Rappers do their own voices, though some of them--like Snoop Dogg--play characters in the game's story mode.
All in all, Def Jam: Fight for NY already looks great and it plays well. It's certainly shaping up to be one to watch for when it comes to the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox later this year.