Hip-hop music and rap has been part of the music culture since the early 70's. a few years ago, EA and Def Jam, the hip hop record label, got together to create fighting games with a theme based on, what else, hip hop music. At the time of its creation it made a lot of sense but instead of the wrestling game put on the ring, it was transported onto the street. Added into the mix were a bunch of well known rappers to add in to the success of the game. Although now it is seen that rap and wrestling are not a good mix, it still made great fun and was a success.
All the big names in rap are included in the game: Mike Jones, Young Jeezy, Lil Jon, Ludacris and many others. A few non-rappers are also included like Anthony Anderson as an evil record executive character called Troy Dollar, and then there is Ken Liles, Def Jam-Warner Music Group executive, who plays a cameo role of a hip-hop record mogul.
The story mode of Def Jam Icon is the best part of the game where the player can create a label with a character who starts out as a nobody in the music business. Then the story moves on to defend a hot shot record executive called Carver, then a quick rise to be an A and R man where the player gets to beat up a lot of people in order to get signed up into the label. The gamer can interact with their characters via email which are then read aloud by the characters.
As soon as the artist created is signed up, there is income which will then be used to release budgets for songs composed which would then be used as an investment to earn more profits. Throw in the usual hazards of being a professional like paying the bills, paternity tests from indiscretions, as well as other characters who decide to drop out of a tour so they can do other stuff. Of course there is always the option of not paying for any of the bills but that won't keep the artists happy or stay in the label. The more money is earned the more problems are created, and this includes attracting more women who swarm in scenting money.
The game goes on and on like this and it is fun but the fighting is where Def Jam: Icon breaks down a bit. This game is unlike the previous games where wrestling was the way to keep the action going. Here it is methodical fighting and it takes a skilled gamer to fool the opponent with the different types of attacks. The key to keep the song of the player going is to keep the opponent down so before the fight, the gamer has to choose the song to be played.
Overall, this is a 3D fighting game which is not so satisfactory in terms of fighting but the all around fun is unique and keeps the game going.