Title: Def Jam Vendetta
Company: EA Sports BIG
Platform reviewed on: Playstation2

One of the most interesting wrestling games to hit store shelves in a while is Def Jam Vendetta, EA Sports’s newest wrestling game.

The game is one of the most talked about wrestling games to come out in quite some time. Let’s take a look at why that is.

Instead of the traditional wrestling game that would feature wrestlers from one of the big promotions, Def Jam is built around an underground league of grapplers, with a mix of rappers form the Def Jam label, including DMX, Scarface and others.

There are two basic modes for DJV – exhibition mode and career mode. In career mode, you choose one of four wrestlers to go through a series of matches before meeting the boss wrestler, which is one of the Def Jam wrappers. Along the way, you earn points that you can use to beef up your grappler’s attributes, or purchase pictures of one of the “girlfriends” you pick up along the way. You can also build up points by winning exhibition matches in either tag-team, three-way dance or fatal-4-way formats.

This is where the game really succeeds. EA brought AKI, long known for creating the engines for THQ’s N64 games, on board for DJV. The controls are simple to master and are incredibly easy to use. High pick-up-and-play marks here.

Graphics and Sound
Top marks in this category also. EA is one of the best companies when it comes to display and animation, and they do not disappoint here. The background graphics are stunning, and the flow, especially the cuts between camera angles, is very smooth. The graphics are also pretty realistic, and the environments are heavily detailed.

As one might expect with a game that is backed by a major record label, the sound is stellar here. Not only is the music perfect for the game (this coming from a non-rap fan), but the sound effects are perfect.

So far so good with the game, but there are a few things that should be noted.

Above all else, this game should not, under any circumstances, be purchased for a child. Several elements of the game are not suited for younger audiences, including the language and the use of women in the game.
There is no create-a-player mode, an essential for any game produced these days.
The match options are very limited. No cages, ladder matches or any weapons are found here.

Despite this, the game is an extremely solid product. DJV is reminiscent of the old-school wrestling games where the grapplers were not from the WWF or WCW; rather they were original creations by the companies. The inclusion of the rappers will mean more to fans of the music genre, and will no doubt encourage high sales.

Pick up this game, because a rental just won’t cut it.

4 stars out of 5.