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Oct 22, 2006
Def Jam: Icon - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
23/3/2007EA GamesEA GamesEA Chicago
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-2TBA$119.95

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The petrol pump behind can explode.
If you've never checked out EA's Def Jam series then you've missed out on something pretty special. Indeed Def Jam Fight for NY was one of the best brawlers in quite some time. Electronic Arts have just announced the series will be moving to the next generation with Def Jam: Icon headed for the Playstation 3 sometime next year. Yet again the company is creating a very hip street fighting game. While the previous games were fantastic, Electronic Arts are going all out to make this third game even better.

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Flame effects are quite stunning.
One of the key changes to this game is that it is no longer being developed by Aki, but rather EA Chicago. It would come as little surprise then to hear that the developers have used much of thier Fight Night Round 3 engine in this game. The games style has moved from a grappling styled title to a more traditional brawler. Each fighers blocking has been beefed up and they now have a quick evade movement as well. The controls have moved to EA Chicago's preferred dual analogue sticks - as per their boxing title.

One of the most radical aspects of this game is its appearance - and how that is affected by the beats of the hip-hop music. You see the game has this wonderful effect whereby it picks up the beat of the music and then makes the entire world jump and pump to the beat. You can see in these surrounding screenshots that the buildings and backgrounds look "torn" in certain places. It's on these lines that the world breaks apart and contracts. It's hard to describe, let's just say that it looks like you're in the middle of a massive earthquake.

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Big Boi and Ludacris battle it out.
This isn't just cosmetic either as the game will give you bonus damage and rewards for performing combos in time with the music and the action in the backgrounds. These can be used to your advantage if you manage to complete your combo right as the music and level deformation reaches a climax. Interestingly each of the characters will have different methods of attack and may be more suited to another - for this reason in the levels you will also be able to force the DJ to flip to a different track.

Most interestingly while the game is based on Hip-Hop music and culture the developers will allow gamers to rip music from any of their CD's into the game. The game will then use the software to alter the gameplay. Imagine the implications - Rock music Vs Country and Western, Rave Vs Classical. It should be quite interesting if it works effectively. That really could be a key to this title. If the importing of your own music isn't successfuly in terms of the game determining the beats then this entire game could quickly fall into a heap.

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Characters are stunningly detailed.
Besides the levels moving and pumping to the beats of the music other graphical aspects look absolutely spectacular. The levels, of which we've only seen one in action (the one in these screenshots), should be absolutely stunningly detailed and interactive. Speaking of which in the one we've see fighters can be thrown into the carwash before being spat back out, or slammed into the petrol pump before it bursts alight. At the moment the game looks fantastic, but is still very choppy in the frame rate; expect that to be fixed prior to release.

The only unknown at this stage is online gameplay - Electronic Arts haven't said anything about that as yet so we'll probably have to wait a while before we find out. Electronic Arts has stated the American version of Def Jam: Icon will see a release on March 6, 2007 and indeed the company has also confirmed that the European and Australian version will hit shelves as a launch title on March 23rd.