E3 2010: Def Jam Rapstar (Impressions)

by: Tina -
If there’s one musical genre that’s been generally untouched by the video game industry (at least successfully, anyway) it’s the hip-hop/rap genre. 4mm Games decided to eradicate that issue with their new team’s first game to be released: Def Jam Rapstar. The game has the basic idea of following notes guided by an interface that many other music genre video games have. What’s unique about Rapstar, however, is its sole focus on lyrics.

Gameplay is surprisingly diverse for a game with such a specific focus. You can battle out a song amongst friends, sing in unison with one another, or even free-style. You get points for lyrical accuracy, as well as timing. While background visuals in most of the music genre video games contain funky looking characters rocking out on elaborate stages, Rapstar’s features all the original music videos to the tracks being played. I definitely feel more like a rapstar with white Buicks bouncing in the background on hydraulics and ladies in bikinis walking around nonchalantly. All stereotypical jokes aside, the experience of rapping along to songs I normally can’t discern the lyrics to is a hell of a lot of fun, with a dash of obligatory self-laughter to go along with it.

Rapstar’s E3 presence is definitely reflective of the kind of game it seems it’s going to be at release in October. Particularly after Redman and Method Man’s performance completely packed Konami’s section of the E3 showroom (reminiscent of an actual venue-style performance), E3 goers were enthusiastic to hit the stage and come into their own Rapstar being. From my fellow journalist nerds to the ringers hired for show, it was a like a consistent party on the mini stage adorned by big screens to show off the sleek interface.

Although the set-list for demo purposes is currently minimal, the range of hip-hop to r&b even under the E3-restricted roster of tracks is surely accessible to anyone with the slightest bit of attraction to these musical genres. There are a great many other songs that could work perfectly with Rapstar’s motif that make the October 5th release that much more anticipated. Drunken party shenanigans, anyone? 
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