Def Jam Rapstar Updated Hands-On

We got a fresh look at this urban karaoke experience and battled 4mm Games president Jamie King for bragging rights.

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Gazing around your local games store, you'll notice that there's certainly no shortage of rhythm or karaoke games. SingStar, Lips, Guitar Hero World Tour, Rock Band, and Karaoke Revolution seem to have karaoke gameplay pretty well covered, but developers 4mm Games is banking on the power of hip-hop, a partnership with Def Jam Recordings, and some unique features to swing the balance in its favour. We took a closer look at this infectious title at GamesCom 2009, in Cologne, Germany.

What's New: While the set list is still a work-in-progress, we got a good idea of what to expect with tracks that included Gold Digger by Kanye West, Always on Time by Ja Rule, Rapper's Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, They Reminisce Over You by Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Live Your Life by T.I., Molotov 4 by Sefyu, Mein Block by Sido, Put On by Young Jeezy, Right Round by Flo Rida, Stand Up by Ludacris, and around 30 more tracks from the likes of Run DMC. Regionalised artists will also appear in the game, such as Dizzee Rascal for the UK release. One cool idea King mentioned is that every performance uploaded to servers can be geotagged, allowing you to see if you're the best at a particular track in your suburb, city, or even your country.

According to King, regular DLC updates will allow 4mm Games to publish songs that fall into subgenres or niches. He also confirmed that while all of the songs are radio edits, there won't be any changed words, and the uncensored lyrics may skew the game to an older audience. Given the material they're dealing with, this seems like a sensible approach. King also told us that some songs are particularly suited to duets, and while female artists will make an appearance, there will be plenty of songs "for the fellas."

What's Different: We pulled up our socks, tightened our belt, and challenged 4mm Games president and rapper extraordinaire Jamie King at Kanye West's Golddigger. Unfortunately, we lost, unlike Chris Watters, but had plenty of fun letting our inner rap star out of its cage. Even if you're not into listening to hip-hop, there's something infectious and energetic about it as a genre, and it's hard not to want to bust out some dope lyrics in the process.

What's The Same: When you're singing, the graphics appear very similar to those in SingStar or Lips, with a bar displaying your pitch and timing, a multiplier bar, and the words appearing above or below. If you have a camera plugged in, you can use it to record your performance, and at the end of the song you can add a range of graphical effects and then upload a 30-second clip to the Def Jam Rapstar Web site. You also get scored on various indicators, including text (saying the right words), "takt" (timing), and "tonlage" (pitch), as well as your multiplier. King says the game will support all existing microphone peripherals, as well as the Xbox Live Vision and PlayStation Eye cameras, and there are plans to launch peripheral bundles with the game at launch.

What Impression The Game Made This Time: Def Jam Rapstar is still in development, and all the graphics we saw were merely placeholders. However, the game shows a lot of potential. The included songs seem destined to create countless living-room battles, and the community aspect sounds like it might set it apart from its existing competitors. Def Jam is currently scheduled for a fourth-quarter 2009 release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii.

Discussion

44 comments
Da4biddenOne
Da4biddenOne

You guys just don't know how long i been waiting for a game like this. Sure RockBand and GuitarHero are great games but its about time gamers stepped onto the hip hop scene. Im telling you im gonna score big right off the top on this game. Cash Rules Everything Around Me cream gets the money dollar dollar bill yall.

Jackmouve
Jackmouve

JimInPT to answer your question, YES. I'll be trying to play COD or some other online game and there will always be some dude thinking he's a rap star and won't shut up. Lot of people thought guitar hero was going to be stupid and not mant people would play and it only spawn and whole new genre (profitable one at that). I think alot of people will get into at lease the community aspect of this game. If hardcore hip hoppers can get into playing Iron Maiden (which I have witnessed personally) on GH, don't see why this game can't cross over too. I mean, hip hop is far more universal that Hard Rock AND it seem like they are using the most universal songs withing then genre. I think this will be a great drunk, party game... LOL

Doolz2024
Doolz2024

I wish they'd do another game like Def Jam: Icon. That was a really good game

rahmie0789
rahmie0789

this game isnt gonna be shyt if they dont get a classic playlist...

slykid23
slykid23

totally non racist comment although i do wonder if white kids can play this game is the lyrics aren't censored.

JimInPT
JimInPT

If you put one of my guns to my head, I couldn't come up with a dumber, less interesting game idea than this one. Are there really that many braindead lowlifes looking for something to do with their PS3s?

sanechupp
sanechupp

They should make another Def Jam Fighting Game.

Silent_Stalker2
Silent_Stalker2

God this game better have more of the old rap then this new age "hip hop" crap thats been owning the radio... N.W.A, Tupac, B.I.G, DMC, Public Enemy, Old Eminem, Ice Cube just to name a few... Maybe some 50 Cent, Jay-Z. And all songs should be the explict versions too. All the songs already have explict meaning and metaphors so who cares if they just come out and say it.

zero_120
zero_120

betaa have some eazy-e in this b

Wiiviewer-Guru
Wiiviewer-Guru

Well Well Mr. kerrang-09 you really seem to know your stuff... I agree with Shaun kingston and enimen... but dizzie rascal wtf!? I rather go with well known rap artists that have been successful through various albums rather than some song, I would really like to see some Biggie little and Dr. Dre tracks... Peace yall!!!

kerrang-09
kerrang-09

Wiiviewer-Guru !!!! you only know rappers that are past there sale by date. Run DMC SHOULD BE ON IT SO SHOULD SHAUN KINGSTON. DIZZIE RASCAL,EMINEM WE MADE YOU,

Wiiviewer-Guru
Wiiviewer-Guru

Vanilla Ice or salt n pepa anyone?? I wonder who is going to be in it, G-Unit is a must!.... mmmm Who else...MIKE JONES.... WHo?...... MIKE JONES.... WHO tha??.... MIKE JONES!..... well there is a guy that would most probably NOT make the list haha, Anyway if Twista makes the list am pretty sure he is going to be the Boss or extra hard difficult 0,0 he raps very fast!!! anyway peace yall

califone
califone

It will be full of pop garbage with a few gems here and there. No doubt it will be heavily censored, too, leading to awkward white-boy moments. I'll pass.

dagamemon
dagamemon

hopefully this will be better than Get On Da Mic

thomas250
thomas250

About time they came out wit a rap 1 cuz im sick of all this rock sh**t comin out every 5 months

mc0375
mc0375

it gonna be fun 4 wii!!!!!

jimbo_24
jimbo_24

great idea, bad track list.....flo rida wtf?

Schwarte
Schwarte

Nice, wanted that since Singstar first came out. Nice to see that Put On is on there. My lovely ringtone xD

agathalynn
agathalynn

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Petercairns
Petercairns

YEEEEAAA HOME'E!!...yes i am white..

pure_impact
pure_impact

I hope they give us vid to look at the previews soon cuz this sounds very promising. Finally something for the rap fans to get excited about.

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

Errrr do half the people even know this is totally unrelated to Icon and FFNY...? Anyway sounds pretty decent. :P

LonePWNR
LonePWNR

Why do people compare this game to Icon of FFNY. This games is completely different besides the hip-hop.

jadefury27
jadefury27

this game needs busta rhymes like i need more cowbell! songs like "gimme some mo" and "break ya neck" would be like the dragonforce for this game. I got over excited when i saw this article because i thought it was a sequel to def jam icon. icon sucked and i hope they go back and do it like fight for new york.

richioso
richioso

Hope they can get some Wu-Tang in there somehow

richioso
richioso

Lovely, Smooth a$$ lip-lickin LL Cool J singalongs, and mega combo Run DMC marathons. And to all you people talkin about the previous games Vendetta was cool but at the end of the day it was a wrestling game with good songs.

Cloud_Strife_74
Cloud_Strife_74

This game must be the clean from what ICON could not acomplish also ICON sucked.

alex_mercer
alex_mercer

"FFNY was one of the best fighting games ever. ICON was one of the worst. But this seems pretty cool." i agrees with oracle and Spectacular66, FlaMezV2, fight for new york was the best =) i think they should remake it for ps3 with updated grapics sound good or wat ;) "This is easily the biggest load of rubbish i've ever heard of, (rubbish is not the word i wanted to use) What happened to the Def Jam games like Vendetta and Fight for NY. This one looks AWFUL! I've just lost soooo much respect for the Def Jam label. What the hell crossed their minds when they made this rubbish!"

Alex_09
Alex_09

I think this is better than those fighting games. All those did was increase the false idea that these guys are hard.

OracleXIII
OracleXIII

FFNY was one of the best fighting games ever. ICON was one of the worst. But this seems pretty cool. Gonna be fun rappin in German, they got some real good artists there.

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

so you can sing rap songs in def jam now huh? whatever

kingrutoz
kingrutoz

finally rap is being brought into video games now i aint gotta buy rock band or guitar hero >:D

Spectacular66
Spectacular66

They should have taken the success they had with Fight for New York and ran with it. My brother DID NOT like Icon at all after playing it

nii_osae
nii_osae

Its going to be wak. Why not bring back the old fighting style of def jam with cool tracks and players. That will be gee

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

(slightly unrelated) I miss Def Jam FFNY..... The one made by EA for this gen was almost a total f up. Hope to see another Def Jam fighting game cause I don't play music games.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Yeah, a hip hop karaoke is whatwe've been waiting for. DLC is bought like some new Jordans.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Yeah, a hip hop karaoke is whatwe've been waiting for. DLC is bought like some new Jordans

FlaMezV2
FlaMezV2

This is easily the biggest load of rubbish i've ever heard of, (rubbish is not the word i wanted to use) What happened to the Def Jam games like Vendetta and Fight for NY. This one looks AWFUL! I've just lost soooo much respect for the Def Jam label. What the hell crossed their minds when they made this rubbish!

soulless4now
soulless4now

Kanye and Jeezy songs? Now I'm interested.

Ruffin316
Ruffin316

Wait, wait, wait... this is a karaoke game that focuses ?! YES!! FINALLY, WE HIP-HOP HEADS GET OURS!! Erm, sorry.

LiLGEO__
LiLGEO__

i did that big def jam fan playd every game hope they make up 4 the last one

kraz1e8
kraz1e8

as much as i am a hiphop head, i can only hope that this game is not going to be a gimmick

mightEone
mightEone

Could be good? idk too much music games for me.