|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: AKI/EA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Patrick||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Patrick Evans
I can remember the trip that I took to the local videogame shop to check out what was new and seeing Def Jam Vendetta for the first time. Rappers getting into the ring and settling the differences seemed like an iffy idea for a game at first, but she handled like a dream. Developed by the same team that did the excellent WCW wrestling titles on the N64, Def Jam was arguably the best wrestling title of its day. Fight for New York, its sequel, upped the ante considerably by morphing the game into a street-fighter/wrestler with five different fighting styles and the ability to customize your wrestler in many ways.
Def Jam Fight for New York: The Takeover is essentially the same game as the console Fight for New York. Gamers get to create a fighter and move up the food-chain in a local street gang, representing his colors by pummeling rival gang-members. The only noticeable changes to the storyline, at least as far as presentation is concerned, is the lack of voice-acting in a huge majority of the story clips and the increased presence of the police.
All of the story clips during the first half or so of the game involve going to a venue and beating down some guy in retribution for something he did. Hey, go get that fool for pushing mix-tapes at our club or Yo, that guy tagged our homeboys ride are pretty typical of what you will be dealing with. The only entertaining bit of these scenes occur when the cops show up and you have to beat them in a fight. Not only is the scenario ludicrous, but the cop is easily one of the easiest fights to deal with. Nothing says F*$@ the police like a Lugz boot to the face of the local undercover law enforcement.
The plot does finally come around to something a little more plausible and entertaining, but it doesnt match its console brother at all. Some of the coolest scenes in Fight for New York have been carried over, but they dont feel like they fit as well as they did the first time around. Takeovers plot boils down to you against them and only serves to advance your character to the next fight, which for many is just fine.
After all, when you have a combat engine that feels this good, what need is there for a story? The strongest and most responsive wrestling engine in the industry, developed by AKI, really flexes its muscle and provides a unique street-brawl/wrestling game thats still tops after so many years. There are five different fighting styles to initially choose from: Kick-Boxing, Street-Fighting, Martial Arts, Wrestling, and Submission, each with their own move sets and finishing moves. Players that have never played an AKI wrestling title, opting instead to stick with the far inferior WWE titles, will be pleasantly surprised by the depth and ease of this engine. Each style is a drastically different gameplay experience from the others. Street-fighters throw killer haymakers, but their grappling is limited to knee strikes on an inside grab. Wrestlers, on the other hand, focus strongly on locking their opponents in and performing all the professional wrestling moves that we know and love.
These differences in the fighting styles go hand-in-hand with the character customization available. When creating their fighter initially, the options build, facial features, and such are pretty limited. Not to worry though, since the options for clothing and accessories are more than sufficient in creating a fighter that fits your personality or style. All the brownie points for personalization come from the ability to completely customize your fighters fighting style and move set. If you start with a Street-fighter and want to learn some wrestling grapples, then all it takes is to earn enough development points to learn the wrestling style. Players can choose to either diversify their combatant by learning three different styles or to specialize by focusing on one style exclusively. Individual moves can also be set for your players once they are learned, so there is every opportunity to create an elite brawler imaginable.
My only gripe about the combat here in The Takeover is how easy it is to breeze through. Here, if a fight starts out one-sided, there is little the losing side can do to turn the tables and escape the KO. For a majority of the fights, players will simply pummel the computer until their life-bar hits danger and perform the KO without much of a struggle. Moving the difficulty up does make for more of a challenge, however. The ease in beating the computer testifies to the strength of the control scheme and fighting engine, but, for whatever reason, reverses dont seem as threatening as they once did.
One of Def Jams greatest appeals is how visceral and gritty the game looks and feels. Moves are over-the-top and produce bone-crunching that would cause even tough-guys to cringe. Thankfully, the translation to the small-screen captures these moments without fail. The action found in The Takeover is just as fast and smooth as before with almost no slowdown to be seen at all. Venues look just as good as they did on PS2. All of the 65+ fighters are animated with the same unique style as well. As far as ports go, this may be one of the best in terms of the visual recreation of the original. Only those with the keenest visual sense will note the downgrade in textures in the crowds and other random places. Audio translation to the PSP doesnt fare nearly as well, however, due to the limited space on the UMD. Almost all of the storyline is told in text instead of spoken dialog. There are still pre- and post-fight smack talks, but that isnt enough. Luckily, the hip-hop sets a perfect atmosphere for a title such as this, and the un-edited soundtrack will get you pumped to pummel all your favorite rappers unmercifully.
Def Jam Fight for New York was one of the greatest wrestling/fighting games of the current-gen, and simply porting it intact with a couple extra moves seems enough to produce a fine game on PSP. Rounding out the solid packaging of Fight for New York with basic-but-fun multiplayer options for The Takeover is simply icing on the cake. Players that have played the original console version to death need not apply, but rookies will easily get their fill of rapper-pummeling by picking up this one.
CCC Staff Writer