Def Jam Rapstar

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Modes
Def Jam Rapstar Co-Op Review
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Def Jam Rapstar Co-Op Review

If there’s one music genre that’s been sorely under appreciated in game form it’s hip-hop. While some might consider it’s content catalog of 30 years a lot smaller than six decades of Rock and Roll, there’s still plenty of great songs that are “classics” as well as plenty of new songs to keep us rhyming. We finally have a game dedicated not only to the music, but some of the culture behind hip-hop in Def Jam Rapstar from 4mm Games.

The core of Def Jam Rapstar is identical to most other karaoke style games out there - the lyrics are displayed along with an indicator letting you know where you should be singing. A video for the song is played in the background for additional visual appeal. As you rap well, you’ll earn a multiplier gaining more and more points - rap poorly and you’ll lose it. What makes Def Jam unique is that pitch doesn’t come into play all that often - instead you’ll be worried about keeping the beat and timing of the song as well as saying the correct lyrics.

Def Jam is actually able to detect whether or not you are flubbing the lyrics in a song - and depending on your level of difficulty - it can be scarily accurate. After completing a song you can actually look back at the entire lyric sheet and see where you missed words, this also doubles as an excellent way to learn the lyrics. While I found it easier to cheat the system on easy - once you bump the difficulty up one level you’ll find it much more difficult to do. Simply rapping “blah blah” in time with the music won’t work - though if you can say words that sound similar you might have better luck. It should be noted that the songs on the disc have swear words edited out - and the game seemed to let you flub these sections more than others. Thankfully - for purists - the downloadable songs contain the lyrics in their original form.

The game features a career mode and a party mode - career is simply a way to unlock a few tracks as well as try a few challenges like hitting 75 words in succession. Party mode allows you to choose from any of your unlocked songs. Both modes are available in co-op - or as the game calls it - duet.

The nice thing about the duets are on songs where you have at least two rappers - you can choose who you want to rap as. One player is Snoop Dogg while another is Dr. Dre on "Nuthin But a G Thang" or one player is Lil John while the other is the Yin Yang Twins in "Get Low." In other songs where the parts aren’t clearly split up, players will alternate verses and then join together on the chorus. For scoring each players has their own multiplier and points - but the total score gets banked together from both players.

The co-op specific songs are a ton of fun to play - especially once you and your partner really learn the lyrics. I would have liked to have seen a way to know which songs support this form of co-op - I think I counted about 6 of them out of the ones I unlocked. If you know the song, and you know it features two artists, chances are you’ll both have unique parts. Thankfully the game still makes all song co-op friendly and doesn’t limit you to these six.

There’s a few other bonus features in Def Jam Rapstar that some folks will like. There’s a freestyle mode with several beat tracks that you can lay down your own rhymes too. You can even record a clip of it and upload it to the Def Jam community site to be voted on. Right now the game supports the Xbox Live Vision Camera or PlayStation Eye to accomplish this - but Kinect support will be added soon. The videos are limited to 30 seconds in length, but you can customize them by adding effects, stickers, and masks.

All in all, Def Jam Rapstar is a solid music game with a few unique features and a wide range of hip-hop music from classics to modern day hits. The community features should really help keep this game popular along with the DLC - so if hip-hop is your thing, you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in this game.


Co-Op Score

The Co-Op Experience: Rap with another friend through any of the games songs. Certain songs are set up for a duet while others allow you to alternate verses.

Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.