Def Jam: Icon is the fourth fighting game within the series developed by EA Chicago and Def Jam. The game differentiates itself from past titles in many ways. Graphics, controls, and style have all been revamped. The question is, is it a good change?
The gameplay is simple: beat your opponent down with fighting moves and environmental combos before he beats you. However, the gameplay will take some getting used to for fans of the series. Pretty much everything has been changed, and the controls can be a little awkward at times, though once you fully adapt to them and get used to them, it’s not so bad.
The controls revolve more around a connection with your character and their style. When using your character or created character, you choose a song to represent yourself. During the fights, either your song will be playing, or your opponent’s will, depending on who gets the boost within the fight.
Changing the song doesn’t happen automatically, though. You must take the initiative and enter the DJ control mode during the fight itself. While in the scratching mode, you must move the right analog stick in a specific pattern. Doing so will change the song over to your song along and create a nice little explosion. This will then shift the boost within the fight over to your character.
Be warned, though, that this is all during the process of the fight, so you must make sure your opponent is down long enough for you to pull off the song switch. If not, they can easily unleash a devastating combo on you in your vulnerable state. However, the rewards far exceed the small risk that comes with this.
The game features a pretty normal attack scheme with both strong and quick attacks. There are also several fighting styles to choose from, with a total of six styles overall. The biggest change is that the title has moved from the wrestling style fighting that was featured within past titles and now focuses more on striking moves.
Once you get into the game, you will notice how much has changed in the graphics. They feature a more realistic environment with more grit and more dirt to it, but they look fantastic. The environment isn’t just for show, however. It is also a key part of winning your battles against your opponents. For example, within the gas station level, you can hit the tanks for explosions, the car wash to hit your opponent, and the front door of the gas station to spray your opponent with a fire extinguisher. Each level features different elements that are there to cause environmental damage.