More than a gleaming vindication for anyone who’s ever been stung by SingStar’s dismal rap scoring – this is the shizzle!
Format: PS3 (version played), Xbox 360, Wii Dev: 4mm Games / Def Jam Interactive / Terminal Reality Pub: Konami / Autumn Games Out: 26/11/10 Players: 1-2
Before you say, “This is just another singing game,” it’s not. We’ve waited years to have a proper ‘rapping’ game, and those of you who remember Get on da Mic can breathe a sigh of relief. Def Jam Rapstar is flipping dope.
What separates Rapstar from SingStar and all the other sing games is that it has been custom-built for rap music. SingStar crams rap songs alongside melodies, and to this day its rap metre fails to recognise inflections in your voice that are crucial for the genre. Rapstar actually tracks the timing and pitch of voice down to the syllable. It’s no push over, mumblers. Testing it on rap songs I didn’t know was useless. However, playing Roots Manuva’s lyrical complex ‘Witness (1 Hope)’, which I’m confident with, proved its accuracy as I managed to score highly straight off the bat.
I’ve no hesitation recommending this for parties and serious hip hop fans. Party mode allows you to create playlists so you can play a string of songs with only score result breaks – to my knowledge, SingStar still hasn’t implemented this simple, yet very useful, feature. Career mode is your chance to work through the game’s full setlist, moving up in the ranks and unlocking new material as your rap performance improves. I know my way round a hip hop song or two, but I’m no Dr Dre. So the presence of a practice mode, where you can play full songs or choose a start and end point among numbered choruses and verses, is another cool addition.
Likely thanks to the involvement of Def Jam, the artist list is packed with names young and old that should please all you wannabe MCs: From new kids 50 Cent, Kanye West, Ludacris and Tinchy Stryder to the likes of 2Pac, LL Cool J, Run-DMC and Notorious B.I.G. And UK exclusive tracks, like Chipmunk’s ‘Chip Diddy Chip’, N-Dubz’ ‘I Need You’ and, this year’s golden child, Tinie Tempah with ‘Pass Out’, make this one burning collection.
Now, normally that would be it. Rapstar also gives aspiring MCs the chance to show off their rap skills in Freestyle mode. Here you can rap over instrumentals, adding audio effects to spicy things up. Bizarrely, you can’t record the whole audio performance and share it online – something SingStar trumps Rapstar on. However, you can use a camera to record and share a 30 second clip of your performance. And just as SingStar has adopted community features, you’ll find similar stuff here.
Yet why grumble about these meagre shortcomings? This is the real deal. Def Jam Rapstar serves us a sharp list of rappers, meaningful innovations and the most accomplished lyrical recognition yet seen. It takes hip hop games to new heights. SingStar and the rest of you fakers take note: this is how you make a rap game.