reviews\ Oct 21, 2004 at 8:00 pm

Def Jam Fight For NY - PS2 - Review

There is nothing better than watching multimillion dollar hip hop superstars beat each other senseless...well, except watching them waste all their money and having nothing to show for it 10 years down the road (Although MC Hammer has recently found lucrative success in 2nd-rate reality TV).  When Def Jam Vendetta first hit the shelves, it became an instant favorite among hip hop and fighting fans alike.  Now, the crew is back and throwing down a title that just needs to be played, Def Jam Fight for NY.  Offering more characters, innovative customization, and intense fighting gameplay, FFNY answers the age old question: how gangsta is Henry Rollins?

There is a story mode and a battle mode in the game.  The latter is suited more for gamers who are looking for a quick rock 'em- sock 'em fix, whereas the former delivers a story that is both enthralling and entertaining.  In story mode, the game continues from where Vandetta left off with D-Mob, ruthless crime lord and whoop-ass condeseur, being 'escorted' in police custody.  A one-way trip to the pen is cut short when a mysterious character (you) plows through the squad car, freeing D-Mob.  The police immediately bring in a sketch artist to identify your character. 

This is where customization comes in, optioning a preexisting set of brawlers or a detailed character creator to make him how you want him to be.  Choose wisely, not only will your creation be seen in the ring, but will be actively involved in the games cutscenes and cinematics.  You can also pimp out your character with tattoos, fresh gear, and 'bling' straight from Jacob the Jewler.  Your create-a-character selection isn’t limited, but it’s not diverse enough, either (can’t a playa get a mullet?).  D-Mob and his crew test your skills to see if you're worthy to hang with the big boys, and it’s up to you to beat your way out of the amateur pit and into the winners circle.  You are given your very own crib to chill in between fights, where you can display your trophies, listen to voice and email messages about new events, and access the city map to locate fight clubs, shops, and more.  

One thing that hurt Def Jam Vandetta was that it was seen by many to be a hip hop-wrestling game.  To fix this for FFNY, developer AKI threw in 4 additional fighting styles: Street, Kickboxing, Martial Arts, and Submission.  Each style focuses on a particular strength which can be developed at Stapleton Athletics.  As you progress, you will be able to add other styles and a plethora of moves to take out your opponents.  But be careful, this ain't your papa's fighting game.  FFNY offers interactive environments where anything goes including crowd involvement in the fight and the use of weapons like bottles, pipes, and bats.  As you are fighting, your momentum meter will fill up and allows you to unleash 'blazin' moves that will devastate anything in your path for a beautiful K.O. finale.  I did find the controls to be occasionally unforgiving and a tad slow to execute, but this game contains one of the most fluid fighting engines I have ever played.

Def Jam represents some of the best in hip hop and over 40 recording artists and celebrities make appearances in FFNY including Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, and Carmen Electra.  Though they offer no valid reason why any of these superstars would willingly put themselves in the ring, they can sure put up a fight.  The fights take place in 22 different venues, which change as you progress through the game.  Each arena is interactive, adding a whole new level to the fighting genre.

Battle mode drops the story and inserts you right into the ring.  There are 9 different types of battles including going solo or teaming up with another Def Jam artist for twice the pain.  Battle mode does not hold up in content on its own, so if you don't like drawn out story modes and don't have a friend to play with, you may want to look elsewhere (of course, the reason you probably don't have friends is because you lock yourself in your room playing video games all day.  God bless you!).

FFNY definitely kicks it up a notch graphically.  The superstar models are ridiculously detailed and it really feels authentic when Flava Flav closelines Ludacris.  The crowds don't look half as good but they are very animated and add a lot to the presentation of the game.  The main flaw with the graphics, and I consider this to be a critical error on the developer's part, is the problematic camera system.  Oftentimes, the camera makes it nearly impossible for you to see your opponent and by the time you manage to step out of the blind spot, he has already managed to grab a hold of you.  The lack of vital transparency through the crowds and objects is disheartening.

The game features 40 hip hop superstars; how do you think the game's sound is, Sherlock?  That's right; it features a collection of new and old-school hits from Def Jams best.  Taking after EA's franchises like the Madden Series, FFNY sports a jukebox to add or delete what you hear while in the ring.  They also lend their voices for speaking roles, varying from quick one-liners to drawn out conversations.  The sound effects aren't wide in variety but smacking an opponent into an SUV never sounded so right.

All together, the fight for control of hip hop's underworld is worth checking out.  Even if you aren't a fan of hip hop, you are bound to find something you like in Def Jam Fight for New York.  At the very least, you should rent it.

Review Scoring Details for Def Jam Fight for New York

Gameplay: 9.2
A hybrid of hip hop superstars and the fighting genre makes for a winning combination.

Graphics: 9.0 
Besides the camera, the graphics are some of the best I've seen in fighting games.

Sound: 8.9
Bumping Music + Authentic Voice Acting + Good Sound Effects

Difficulty: Medium  

Concept: 8.7
Throwing fists with your favorite Def Jam stars?  That's better than an autograph!

Multiplayer: 8 
It’s a nice add-on, but FFNY is really about the story mode.

Overall: 9.0
It’s a great sequel and a great fighting game.  Though there are a few things I am not pleased with, I know it’s a game worth playing.



About The Author
In This Article
From Around The Web
blog comments powered by Disqus