In the wake of Electronic Arts' recent announcement of Def Jam Vendetta II, we took a long look at the teaser trailer to see what EA and Aki are cooking up for the next entry in the promising new franchise. The original Def Jam Vendetta presented a surprisingly good blend of solid gameplay and a liberal dose of Def Jam's trademark personality. Japan-based developer Aki's experience with the wrestling genre allowed the original DJV to offer a surprisingly addictive experience, with rich gameplay and atmosphere. For the follow-up, it appears Aki is headed off into some unique, new territory that should expand nicely on last year's game.
While the brief trailer didn't showcase a ton of gameplay, there are some provocative tidbits on display if you keep your eyes peeled. The snippets of a brawl between Method Man and what looks to be an original character for the game give some hints as to how the gameplay is changing in this installment. The new fighting system mentioned in the press release appears to shift the mechanics away from the wrestling system Aki used in the original game and instead makes use of elements seen in traditional fighting games. Weapons appear to be a new addition to this year's game; for instance, you'll notice a creative use of a glass bottle in the trailer. The environments themselves will also serve as weapons, and they appear to feature some interactive elements. The trailer clearly showed Method getting smacked into what appeared to be stage lights in one part of the arena and, our personal favorite, Method slamming his opponent into a pole and then kicking him through it.
The trailer also revealed a few hard facts in bullet-point fashion that give a good idea of the game's scope: 90 fights, 40 artists, 22 venues, and five fighting styles, which should offer quite a bit of content. We admit we're pretty intrigued by the use of weapons, the interactive environments, and the five fighting styles. The features seem more akin to what you'd find in a traditional fighting game than in a wrestling game, which should make for a decidedly different experience. While there's no word on whether the girlfriend system from the original game will make a return, the presence of Lil' Kim and Carmen Electra in the game's roster ensures there will certainly be some memorable action to be had (not to mention the potential gravity-defying costumes).
Based on the information we've gathered on the game from the press release and the teaser, Def Jam Vendetta II seems to be on the right path to follow up on last year's strong start for the franchise. The new fighting engine sounds promising, and the roster of characters is looking good as well. We're curious to find out what's going on in the game's modes, such as whether there will be any online action involved and what EA and Aki will do with the girlfriend feature for this installment. Def Jam Vendetta II is currently slated to ship this fall for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. Look for more on the game in the coming months. To get an exclusive look at the teaser trailer for the game, check out our media page.