Def Jam Rapstar First Look PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Apr 19, 2010
If you remember a game from the PS2/Xbox era called Get On Da Mic, well...I'm sorry. This was Eidos' ill-fated attempt at rap karaoke, just when Konami's Karaoke Revolution was catching on and right before the tidal wave of plastic instruments hit American shores. Without getting into the gory details, Get On Da Mic was terrible, and its failure meant that amidst the video guitar heroing, rock banding, and now disc jockeying, hip-hop has been woefully under-represented in the music game family.
That's something Def Jam, 4mm Games, and Konami want to correct with Def Jam Rapstar.
Set for a fall release this year on the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii, Rapstar is diving deep into hip-hop culture, and using current console features to do it. If you've got a video camera plugged into your console, you can record (and then edit/post-produce) your own performances, upload them to a yet-to-be specified community network, and view/rate other budding video stars.
Rapstar judges your flow in two respects: lyrics and timing. Their proprietary engine somehow magically knows that you're saying the right or wrong words, and there's an on-screen indicator that's showing you the correct tempo for your delivery. But it's not just simply following along to the known lyrics, there'll be moments where you can freestyle in a song, and that combined with the video performances is where 4mm and Def Jam hope some genuine YouTube-like creativity emerges (the good YouTube creativity, we pray). At least from what we saw at Konami Gamer's Night, all the songs are "clean" versions of the original tracks, which is understandable but still disappointing. If the game engine or the freestyle mechanic doesn't punish you too badly for being true to the source material, that could be an acceptable workaround.
We'll likely be seeing more of Rapstar at E3 in June, including more track reveals. For now, this is what's confirmed to be in the game:
- 2Pac - "I Get Around"
- 50 Cent - "I Get Money"
- Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg - "Nuthin' But a "G" Thang"
- Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx - "Gold Digger"
- Lil' Wayne - "A Milli"
- Notorious B.I.G. - "Juicy"
- Slick Rick - "Children's Story"
- T.I. featuring Rihanna - "Live Your Life"
- Wu Tang Clan - "C.R.E.A.M."
- Young Jeezy featuring Kanye West - "Put On"
Also to be confirmed at E3: Me and Steve Johnson in an epic rap battle. Cash rules everything around him, and that will be his downfall.