Another re-review, this one is for Def Jam Rapstar, the only all-rap Karaoke game I have ever played. This was the first game to have Kinect functionality added on. If you never heard of it, here’s the summary:
Enter the world of hip-hop and climb all the way to the top in this game where music and culture collide. Def Jam Rapstar goes beyond the usual music experience by letting you make your mark in a community that echoes the real-life hip-hop world. Perform top hits by top rap artists, both past and present. Rhyme on top of beats mixed by leading hip-hop producers in Freestyle Mode. Record your performance with your system’s camera, add special effects, and release your own single on the Web. Compete with other emcees in Battle Mode, form posses, promote other artists, and more as you build your own hip-hop empire.
Overall, this game is only for a select few, specifically those that listened to rap maybe back in the early 90’s to the 00’s and liked it. If you are all into the new stuff, you won’t find it here. It’s very geared toward specific music, so the bottom line is you will either like it or hate it.
The menu is pretty simple. It’s broken into the following main categories; Play, Community, My Videos, Store, Options and Extras. As of now, support for this game has been dropped. The community and store section relied on the servers, but they are now offline. Community allowed you to share your videos with others online and the store had all of the DLC content, which I was kind of bummed as I purchased some but since the servers are offline, so are all of the DLC songs.
This is main play mode of the game. It’s broken up into 3 categories. Party mode just lets you pick a song and away you go. Career mode is kind of like what we’ve seen in the old Guitar Hero days where you have to earn a certain amount of mics, then you unlock additional songs. There are other things to unlock such as venues, items, etc. Freestyle mode is neat if you are good at it. You can pick a beat and then just go with the flow. When choosing songs, you do have some options.
You can just get right into it by Play. Practice allows you to practice to your heart’s content. Add to Playlist allows you to create a playlist to keep going. Song details give you some interesting facts about the songs as well as all of the lyrics. Lastly, you can view the Leaderboards, although since the community is shutdown, there are none anymore.
The last options before you play song include choosing the game mode which consists of Solo, Duet or Battle mode. I didn’t have 2 mics so I’m not exactly sure how the battle mode works. You can also turn the songs vocals on or off. Lastly, you can choose your difficulty between easy, medium and hard. The only difference I noticed between the difficulties is you have to be more accurate when you go into the more difficult levels. There’s really not much to the thing, you sing to the singing parts and speak the spoken/rap parts. You are rated on timing and accuracy and pitch for the singing, although it doesn’t detect words so you can just say whatever. I did make a video Kanye West’s Stronger song which you can view below, the black box on the left is a real-time video recorder although my house is dirty so I just covered up Kinect
The my videos section allows you to edit your videos that it records. It only records a video if you have an Xbox Live Camera or Kinect. The editor is pretty cool, you can only edit 30 seconds from the video but you can also add visual effects and some other things. After you are done editing, you were able to upload it to the community website but as I keep mentioning, it’s down now.
Options include Settings, Calibration and Storage. The settings allow you to adjust the volume of the singer(s) and the song itself. You can also turn the music video on or off. Lastly, there are audio effects such as Echo and Reverb which do help in case you like to hear yourself sing. Calibration allows you to adjust the timing in case your TV/Sound is not matching up. Storage allows you change your storage device.
The extras area is fairly simple as well. There are Player Stats which keep track of your career and personal stats. Tutorials are a bunch of cue cards regarding all kinds of areas to the game and last are the credits which you can view.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this game is only for a select few. Its kind of worse now that there is no support for the game so this one has turned into a personal belonging. The good thing is you can pick it up for next to nothing, I think I paid $3 for it new. If you love the older rap songs and want to try your luck, you’re not really going to lose anything so it’s a good deal, otherwise we’ll see what the next generation has in store.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Def Jam Rapstar
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?