Def Jam Rapstar

Here’s one I really enjoyed writing way back then. Especially because I got to brag that I was actually quite good at it. This game enjoyed a resurrection this past year, playing it at uni. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the community, as the only servers were closed, and the producers got in some hot water for using music and videos they didn’t have rights to. Nightmare for them. Still, I enjoyed it. I’d love a sequel, or a rap version of Lips. I’d be happy with that. This was originally from the Blogger once again, first published on the 19th of May, 2011. Not my best work, but me showing off my scores was a plus for me. I promise I’m not like this in real life. Honest.

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Def Jam Rapstar. It never really should have worked should it? I don’t think that any singing/karaoke should be good at all. But for me, this just felt right. I should preface by saying that my brother had Get On Da Mic for PS2, which I similarly liked (although it was met with scathing reviews, I still found it to be enjoyable. Probably because the music was more catered to me than things such as Lips or SingStar.) That said, I wasn’t sure if I wanted a singing game. Would it work? In short, yes, it works.

Of course, I have the UK version of this game. One aspect I particularly liked was the fact that we got a load of English artists on the game, including, but not limited to: Bashy; Tinie Tempah; Tinchy; Roots Manuva and (to my delight) Devlin. As well as these, of course there was a whole host of American hip-hop and rap including older tracks such as Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” and Salt-n-Pepa’s Push It up to modern-day music, such as Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”. But what good are all these (licensed I should point out) tracks if the game doesn’t function correctly.

Well I’m going to go out on a limb and say this works almost perfectly. How do I know this? Because after going back to it a while after first purchasing it, I managed to get fairly high up on some leaderboards…

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Yup. You should respect me and my incredible rapping skills. I did recently revisit the game to find I was no longer first here or anywhere else for that matter, which leads me to think the game has been hacked or something while I was gone…yeah, sure it has, that’s got to be it. Still, it was cool while it lasted.

If I remember correctly, the game ranks you on three different attributes which I will not be able to remember for the life of me without the manual. I have now found the manual and still do not know what they are. Purely out of memory, I think it is something along the lines of pitch, timing and lyrics. Don’t hold me to that, hopefully by the end of this I should be able to give you the right titles. You can play the game on easier modes which have the lyrics on-screen for you throughout and this is all well and good for most people, but I needed more of a challenge, you can also play songs on expert with no lyrics on-screen. This can be daunting at first but if you know the song well enough, you’ll be okay. I managed to notch up a fair few 5-Mic (possible reference to The Source?) “Off The Chain” ratings on Expert, so it’s not too bad at all.

The graphics aren’t really important in something like are they? That’s not a problem anyway, as all the tracks are fully licensed which means that while you rap along the music video is playing in the background. This can be detrimental however, as when you have to rap whilst watching something as classic as Roots Manuva’s “Witness (1 Hope)” video, it can be very distracting!

Still, I’m not going to complain, Konami have put together a great title here. I do have two small gripes with it though. One is the achievement list. It’s not just this game, it happens (a little too) often but ones that rely on the community to vote your videos up, unless you’re going to boost or do it yourself, (still boosting? I don’t know. I need to stop with these brackets) then they’re pretty much out of reach as this seems to be a pretty harsh community-due to this that elusive (Wiley reference for anyone who cares) 1000g is pretty much out of reach. However, there are a load of cool achievement names which most rap fans can appreciate (“It Takes Two”, “All Eyez On Me” and “Stuntin’ is a Habit” to name just a few.)

My final problem is the lack of replay value if you’re not playing this with friends. Sadly enough for me, I wasn’t. I only have one mic (Nas) and not a lot of friends who would even be interested in rapping, so it’s single player for me. Aside from trying to top the leaderboards, after you finish the main game, I didn’t feel there was much to do. I don’t want to battle people I don’t know (they would rage quit after my amazing abilities were shown haha) and sharing videos is even worse when you get little teenagers spouting all sorts of profanities because they don’t like anything which doesn’t come from Lil Wayne or someone (not a Lil Wayne diss at all, I don’t hate him like most people my age seem to these days).

Actually, one more problem-the aforementioned teens playing this game. In an effort to appeal to a broader demographic, the game is rated Teen or 12 here in the UK. Not too much of a problem for some, but when you know the explicit versions, having to go back to a clean radio edit can be quite a problem. It doesn’t penalise you for swearing, but as you may know, clean versions can change words other than the profanities.

Still, it doesn’t stop this being a top-notch game, if you are a fan of rap. I need to stress that. If not, you may want to stick to Lips or something as this is the more urban equivalent. Anyway, on with the final scores.

Audio: Well, let’s be honest. The game would fall flat on its face if this wasn’t on point. Thankfully it’s all good! Everything is CDQ as expected. One problem is the trade-off for the UK songs. I’m not happy I had to pay money for Chamillionaire’s “Ridin'” (for the record, probably my favourite rapper of all time.) 95/100

Visuals: Not bad, just what you need really. 80/100

Playability: Cannot complain. A great game. Very good. I mean, it’s rapping. I’m really trying to put something here, but this is as simple as it comes. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. 80/100

Delivery: I’m going to take into account how long it held my interest here and truthfully it just wasn’t that long. A good game and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel to see how it improves. 70/100

Achievements: This is the part which annoys me. For everything good about it, the achievement list lets it down. If it was based on skill, I’m sure I could have 1000g’d it, but the community achievements are just too much. It’s a shame though. 40/100

Overall: I really do like it. Me not selling it by now is testament to this. However, I also haven’t played it in a long time. Bottom line, if you like rap and have friends who would play it with you, get it, you will have a blast. At the least if you’re interested, you can give it a rent on LoveFilm first. You’re not going to regret a rent at all! But according to the previous scores, I would give this game 80/100!

Well, there you go. Originally I scored it 73/100, but now I’ve changed my reviewing system, I had to change a few scores. I’m not basing it on an average anymore, just giving it the score I feel it deserves. Prior to this edit, when it was at 73/100 I stated “that’s lower than I expected. I should be higher than that, if I wasn’t going by the above scores I would honestly have said about 80. But it’s still respectable, plus you shouldn’t let me make up your mind for you, it’s just an opinion. Now I’m probably going to have a go. Yeaaaaahhhhhhhhhh Boyyyyyyyyyyyy!” However, now, it’s at the right number, so there you go!

Edit I: For anyone who is interested, here’s a load of the higher scores I got in my prime on this game-

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I actually topped that score by a fair margin fairly soon after the first photo was taken and completely forgot about it.

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I also managed to get to second on Tinie Tempah’s Pass Out. My pitch was just too low to crack first place. Nightmare.

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This one probably shows most of my ability as it’s a worldwide one. Keep in mind I hadn’t heard the song in years, I’d say that was pretty good. No idea where I am on there now though.

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Similarly here, I got to 26th on Lil Wayne’s A Milli. Not sure why I’m sharing it, perhaps it was because I only had two goes on it. I might improve next time I’m on.

Also, with regards to what the three measurements of success are on the game…I still haven’t checked. I will get back with that!

Edit II: Alright, I finally found out what they were. It was timing, pitch and lyrics. Was I right before? I think so. I’m sure no-one cares anyway!

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