When Def Jam Vendetta brawled its way onto consoles last year, it turned the fighting game world upside down. Not only did the game feature an incredibly solid wrestling scheme (thanks to Aki's incredible programming), but it also featured a number of the Hip-Hop world's most popular stars beating the snot out of each other with some brutal moves. Fans loved taking their friends on as DMX or Method Man among other stars, in underground fighting arenas. However, they were disappointed with the brevity of the game's story mode, featuring a nameless fighter going up against a crime lord named D-Mob and his band of henchmen. Well, next week, the much anticipated sequel will tackle store shelves, and players will have a radically expanded experience that's at least three times larger than the original title. Wrap your wrists and protect your neck, because it's time for Def Jam: Fight For New York.
The demo we received didn't allude to the overall plot of the title, which centers around battle raging in the underground fight world between two separate factions: D-Mob's gang (the villain from the first game) and Crow's Crew (portrayed by the Doggfather himself, Snoop D-O-Double G). Apparently, at one point in time, D-Mob employed Crow to handle his affairs, but a falling out between the two men split the criminal organization down the middle. Unfortunately for D-Mob, this division of his territory weakened his power, which left him open to his rivals. Fight for New York takes place shortly after the first title, with D-Mob in police custody and Crow poised to invade his rival's turf.
The one level of story mode included in the demo alluded to the complex storyline that players will take part in. As a nameless low level hood in the organization, you've just beaten down Magic (played by Busta Rhymes) and are grilling him for information on your kidnapped girlfriend. After stalling a couple of times, he finally lets you know that she's being held in an abandoned factory in Brooklyn, but that there's no way that Crow's crew will let her live. Shortly arriving at the location with a severely injured Blaze (played by Method Man), you walk in to discover your girlfriend tied to a chair at one end of a large room. Unfortunately, she's not alone - Sticky Fingaz (of Onyx fame) is holding her hostage, and has a deadly surprise for the player. He's poured a large circle of gasoline around the room, and after setting it on fire with a lighter, plans to murder both the player and his girlfriend as part of a planned "accident."
The "ring of fire" actually highlights one of the new additions to Fight For New York, that of interactive environments. Players actively have to beware of their surroundings, because now more than ever before, the arenas you fight in can be as deadly as your opponents. Players can get set on fire, rammed into pillars or even run over by subway trains. The Foundation arena in the Battle Mode section of the demo helped drive this point home. The crowd was more than willing to lend a helping hand to fighters who got too close to the edge of the fighting area, holding some of them for combos or offering weapons to combatants. There's plenty of objects that can be used to dish out pain, like bottles, pipes and broomsticks. While Vendetta focused upon a lot of wrestling and grappling mechanics in its fights, Fight For New York expands the number of fighting styles dramatically. Players can now choose between Martial Arts, Street fighting, Kickboxing, Submission and Wrestling styles to lay the smack down on opponents, and can even combine styles to create their own unique forms of destruction. This also includes the ever popular "blazin" moves, which can knock an opponent out in an incredibly brutal fashion.
What will also stand out is the graphical improvements made to the series. Not only do the 40 plus artists and celebrities look much larger than the previous game, the bling that each character is rocking is enough to blind players. Diamond studs, gem encrusted watches and platinum chains, amongst other jewelry sparkles brightly on character close-ups. Like the first game, Fight For New York comes packed with a huge soundtrack by many of the game's stars, including Redman, Joe Budden and Fat Joe. What we've seen is amazing, and we can't wait to put Fight For New York in a headlock when it slams into stores next week. Check back soon for a full review!
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