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Def Jam Vendetta
Published by: EA Games
Developed by: EA Sports BIG in partnership with AKI Corporation
For: GC, PS2 Version reviewed: GC
ESRB Rating: T for Strong Lyrics, Strong Language, Violence, Suggestive Themes

I?m not much of a fan of wrestling games. The greased-up fa?ade of the ?sport? allows for some basic masculine soap opera dramas, but ends up just being a way to have as much violence, sex, and pageantry on TV as possible. And that?s not even counting the pay-per-view shows, such as No Mercy, Summer Slam, and Judgment Day. In truth, the entire thing is just stupidity, and more and more of the general population is starting to agree as the ratings for the WWE drop. Wrestling games, with established series such as Smackdown!, RAW, and Wrestlemania all sell very well. People buy because they can recreate what they feel has been lost in the shows: a sense of fun, a sense of excitement, and a sense of satisfaction after The Undertaker beats Triple H, or whoever is fighting that night. I played wrestling games because my friends liked them, and, frankly, the subject of whether or not a game was what we were going to play wasn?t worth my friendship. I never liked wrestling games until Def Jam Vendetta.

Graphics

Using the same game engine as many other AKI wrestling games on the market, Def Jam features many familiar animations from such AKI games as WWF No Mercy, and others that have gained a certain reputation for the company. As such, the animations in the game are nothing new, but are still used to great advantage for an adrenaline packed game experience. Other animations for new moves are well done, and show that good things will come when the sequel, Def Jam: Fight 4 NY, comes out in the fall. Character models have a high level of polish, facial animations and limbs animating especially well. The crowds are even three-dimensional, so that it doesn?t seem that you?re looking at a stop-motion audience that witnesses all of your moves. Cut-scenes are well done, but don?t seem to have the same high production values as the game itself, which is odd for any game. Jaggies and strange animations are abundant in Def Jam?s cut-scenes, and it feels that more emphasis was placed on the graphics and lighting effects in the fighting rather than in the cinemas; no balance was achieved, and so the two cannot compare to one another. Despite these minor quips, the graphics in Def Jam Vendetta are very well done, and do justice to any system that they appear on.

Game Play

This is all wrestling. If you don?t like seeing people experiencing huge slams, bone shattering submission holds, or physics defying flips, then Def Jam Vendetta isn?t for you, especially if you can?t move past the increasingly poor production values from recent wrestling outings. Through an incredibly shallow story mode, you compete in different matches, with the fights against Def Jam artists such as Ludacris, DMX, Method Man, Redman, Capone, and others that get exclusive venues (including, much to my annoyance, Club Luda, which is a strip club, combined with people of both sexes dancing in the background). I expected nothing less than a shallow career mode, and I got nothing more. A bare-bones story ties all of the different matches together, with the incentive to unlock all of the arenas and fighters, as well as get all five girlfriends. This is the only incentive for single-player replay; multiplayer, however, is a different story. Multiplayer has to be one of the most fun times I?ve had with friends outside of playing Halo. It?s that fun. Multiplayer is worth buying this game, it?s worth sitting through all of the lame story and all of the stupid things that come along with it. It?s worth all that just to play the multiplayer modes, which are, as I may have implied, a blast.

Sound

The sound is pretty good, with voices coming through well and clearly. All of the rappers act like you would expect them to, with more larger than life attitudes and gangsta voices that make them as true to life, or true to fiction (as the case may be) as possible. All of the music is well done. Instead of the generic rock that is typical of all wrestling games, EA Sports BIG has taken classic rap songs, such as ?Party On (Up In Here)? by DMX, and ?Fight the Power? by Public Enemy, taken away the lyrics, and put the beats in during game play. The actual lyrics play during the menus and before matches, so if you?re a fan of any Def Jam music, then this is your game.

Control

The control in Def Jam Vendetta is amazing, and needs to be used to be totally understood. It best compares to older games, such as WWF No Mercy on the N64, which use the same system for light and hard grapples to vary the moves and give increased challenge and skill level for players willing to be any good at the game.

Appropriateness

There are several problems with Def Jam Vendetta, barring the violence, which is really what this game is about. All out wrestling is the name of the game, and if you choose the most balanced fighter, you will ?break? bones when you do your finishing move. Perhaps the most offensive part of Def Jam is the sexuality, which is represented by women, ?girlfriends? if you will, that fight over you and wear revealing, tight clothing. When you win a story mode match as one of the women, you unlock a gallery of her pictures, which were actually posed by real models, and are not computer generated. Mostly, nothing is suggested, but one of the girls, Deja, poses in a skimpy bikini. All of this should have been excluded. It adds nothing to the actual game play, and gets kind of annoying, as well as inappropriate. Heck, it?s worse than the WWE series? games, and that?s saying something. Next comes profane language, which is prevalent in the game. Before the above matches, your ?girlfriend? argues with the girl she is supposed to fight, and tells her to ?get your hands off him, b****!? Sorry, but in any gaming situation, this is not okay. I know that Def Jam has ?street cred? to uphold, but c?mon people! Don?t you know when enough is enough? Luckily, that?s pretty much the only profane language you?re going to hear in the game, and that?s an up from games like XIII, where profanity seems to take dominance over the majority of the in-game dialogue. It?s also a step up from extreme sports games like Aggressive Inline, where words like dumba**, d***, and others are not uncommon, and in fact provide much of the dialogue in game as well. However, this game is much more explicit than any of EA Sports BIG?s games, such as the critically acclaimed SSX series, and the highly praised Street series, which all are rated Everyone. For the most part, however, in this game you will find a fun, enjoyable, and action-packed experience that is perfect for gamers that are in their teens (because they are probably going to be the only ones who will like it very much), and it is a excellent multiplayer game. If you like any game that involves wrestling, pick this one up, because in that game box is serious fun.

Final Ratings

Graphics A Game play A Sound A Control A Appropriateness D

Overall 83%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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