Review: Def Jam: Fight for New York

If there's one genre that can fill a room with an enthused rant of shouting, laughter and a hell of lot of cursing to boot, it's a wrestling game. With Def Jam you can expect that effect to be amplified somewhat as this is some brutal street beat down stuff!

New kid on the block:

The general gist of DJFFNY is simply that you are a new and upcoming 'bad boy' at the foundation, a hang out for rappers and those with baggy jeans, gold teeth and a ridiculous amount of jewelry.. I mean err 'bling'. The story mode of the game is really quite cool in how it sets the scene, y'see the reason you get into fighting is because you are involved with helping a friend escape from going to prison by causing a c ar crash, all showcased with some lovely FMV, and stowing the fugitive away. The guys at the foundation aren't quite as convinced of what you can do and so your mission to prove your worth and spill some red stuff begins (it is rather satisfying to cause a flying splash of blood after all)


Splittin' wigs:

The story mode introduces you to how everything 'goes down' as it were. During your first fight you'll get taught how to punch, kick, grapple etc but most importantly, you'll be taught how to knock someone out, vitally important on the street because that's the only way to win (non of that sissy 3 count pin business in this game) The way it works is you have to pummel your opponent so badly that their health flashes red with danger, that's your cue to win and knock them out. This can be done in a number of ways; firstly, you can perform one of your special 'blazin' moves pulled off when you give a good enough beating to earn one with the blazin meter. One wiggle of the c-stick pumps your character up to use it and one simple grapple followed by a flick of the stick pulls off a bone shattering move that's more than worthy of a knock out. Again though, your opponent must be in danger to get the KO.

The second way to do this is by using the environment in some way, possibly the greatest feature of this game. Whether it's smashing their head into the jukebox in the bar or ramming their head through an oversized speaker, it all qualifies in well and truly knocking your opponent out. Its real easy to pull off too, from a grapple you just push the direction of the nearest object and 'A' and you'll push them into it, vulnerable for you to take a hold of them and do some serious damage, and trust me, it looks so real and looks so harsh it'll make you shout out, be it in approval and admiration of the sick thing you just did or in agony and disbelief of what's happening to you. Throughout a fight also the crowd will have weapons which you can get a hold off, shatter a glass bottle of your foe's head or hit their head for a homerun with a baseball bat and the KO is yours.


Another way of getting a KO is by using the crowd themselves. Pushing someone into them from a hard grapple (performed by holding 'L' as you press 'A') will have the spectators take a hold of them; you can then use them to do a lovely double team move and alas get the KO. All this makes the game really quite technical, you have to think on your feet and plan what you're going to do, you can't just button bash and prey for the best. You need to be aware of when your opponent is in danger and then use the appropriate means to take them out. It's a great twist to a fight and makes for some great excitement and hair raising moments. Cower in fear trying to prevent a KO happening to you if you're in danger. Sit on the edge of your seat in anxiety of finally putting someone out of their misery. Fights can go on and on with the tables turning to the advantage of all fighters for some thrilling experiences. The down side however is the sheer frustration when that opportunity just doesn't arise and numerous chances to KO pass by.

Gameplay wise it's all very fluid and plays very well, its simple to get the hang of yet deep enough to keep you on your toes. It may be a little overwhelming at first but soon KO's will be second nature, teaching how to do it to your friends might take a few minutes (best not to on the first fight, its more fun!) but its not too taxing. In comparison to other grapplers id say this one tops them in the control department. What's more is there are a number of different styles of fighter. You can chose to be of kickboxing caliber, a street fighter, martial arts expert, a wrestler or a submission expert. Each have their own advantages and change how a fight is played out, the great thing is, when you earn enough skill points you can choose to learn another style and combine the two!


Bling, big bucks, tattoos and girls:

After winning fights in story mode you will be awarded money and skill points depending on how well you did. A number of factors determine this including variance of moves, first strike, use of the environment and crowd reactions etc. The money you earn can be spent to your hearts content in the shops to customize your character, be it new clothes, j ewelry, a haircut or tattoos, they're all here for you check out and more and more gets unlocked along the way so there's always something new to check out. The skill points go towards building your characters attributes; upper strength, lower strength, speed, toughness and health all need building and you choose how to spread your points across them to make your character better. Your points are also needed however to learn new moves. A vast array of blazin moves become on offer to be taught at the gym with every opponent you defeat, the gym instructor may overcharge for teaching them but they're well worth it. Your character can have 4 blazin moves so it's worth making sure they are all good ones, a lot of them are extremely ruthless, you just have to have them.


A story mode wouldn't be a story mode however without some game related decisions, luckily there are a few and although sometimes pointless they are entertaining. For instance, after making a name for yourself you hang out at the bar and all the chicks are checking you out, you therefore get to chose who you'd like to be your girlfriend! If only this was reality. Amongst the scantily dressed ladies are famous names such as the one and only Carmen Electra, grrrrrowl. Even more entertaining is when another lass checks you out later in the game and you can choose whether or not to cheat on your girlfriend! Choose wrongly and a fight breaks out between them with you controlling who you chose! Great fun.

Taking names and extras:

Forgive me for comparing these game drones to the legendary Reggie, I couldn't help myself. Fact is DJFFNY has a whole bunch of famous names involved; it is by EA after all, what did you expect? I already mentioned Carmen Electra but there's also Xzibit, Busta Rhymes, Method Man and a whole lot more including Ice-T of all people! They also offer their singing abilities on the games soundtrack so you can guess its all hip-hop and rap that will be flooding from your speakers…not my thing but it suits the game and it's bearable and forgivable, so too are the terrible taunts and slurs of the characters that go something along the lines of "now ya down there, how bout ya shine ma shoes?"; funny the first time but it loses its snap the 10th time you hear it.


There's a huge amount to unlock in this game, with 28 venues and 74 fighters, not to mention all the clothes and moves and such, this game will last you a very long time. It even encourages you to keep playing the amazing multiplayer by awarding you points the more you play it to spend in the unlock section on the menu. No harm done as the multiplayer is amazing, the free for all mode experiences a bit of slow down and there are a few niggles such as not being able to stop somebody doing a move half way through it and freedom to aim on who you'd like not who hit you last that would really iron the game out but aside from that, this game is made for you and your mates to brawl it out on. It's great just for normal fights but theres also insane modes to unlock such as an inferno match!

Final Say:

The 18 age tag is well at home here, this game is brutal and down right fierce. The innovative KO style of the fights and the inventive way of using the crowd and the environment to lay the smack down is very satisfying. It may not have the well known names of WWE, and the famous rappers in it don't really glamorize things much to those who aren't into rap but this is a great game; it plays well and there's loads to do, all encompassed with a formidable story mode and, the be all and end all, a great multiplayer which, lets face it, is what these games are made for.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Better than the first, brutal and awesome to play. Sick of WWE? look no further.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan5
Final Score



Crowd interaction and KO's
Loads to unlock


Can be frustrating and unfair
HipHop and Rap sucks

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