Def Jam Rapstar • Page 2

Lyrics of Fury.

After your performance is over you can dabble with the video editor (provided you've hooked up a compatible camera), working with 30 seconds of film to customise with stickers, visuals and sound effects as you see fit. It's easy to mess about with, and a welcome option to liven up footage of what in my case was a stumpy white bloke rapping out of tune in his living room in north Wales.

There doesn't seem to be an easy way to sync up timing, so you have to fiddle around with the timer a lot to start at the exact point you'd like. Another downside is you can't cut the performance to less than 30 seconds. If your best flow was over 20 seconds but then runs into a chorus, you're stuck with it.

My only real concern when performing was there appeared to be an audio delay, but I'm not sure if this had a direct effect on my gameplay and scoring. The issue isn't helped by the fact that there doesn't seem to be much of a difference between Easy, Medium and Hard modes.

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The game's compatible with all third-party microphones and you'll need cameras to film your performance.

At the set-up stage you're asked to calibrate your microphone by holding it against your speakers. I had an audio delay of 106ms. At times I could hear the delay and it was a little off-putting, but during some songs I couldn't hear anything and it didn't seem to make any difference to my performance. I also found my performance was much better with earphones, so it may be a case of user lag.

Although there's no tutorial, DJR does feature a practice mode where you can pull out particular verses and choruses to rehearse away from the full song - a helpful feature if you're getting tongue-tied with a line or two. Give it some rehearsal time and it's not long before you're racking up multipliers and big scores.

There are also clear but unobtrusive audio clues when you hit multipliers, so you don't have to take your eyes off the lyrics while you're performing. Once you've finished a song you can check out your performance and the game will highlight any words you missed during verses. This is handy for working out where you're making the most mistakes.

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There are around 40 tracks on the disc, with more planned on a weekly DLC basis.

Even ignoring the hand-holding the game is generous, throwing Trophies at you for all sort of achievements and unlocking extra customisation options for the video editor. It takes a lot of confidence to spit classic rap verses and DJR is an encouraging teacher, rewarding you for exploring the game and messing around with features. Almost every attempt at a song leaves you feeling like you're making progress - which is as it should be in a game with so much content and so many features to play with.

Ultimately good music titles are about having fun with music, and Def Jam Rapstar looks like it'll do a blinding job on that level. It leans towards the lighter side of hiphop - more Kid 'n Play than Kid Frost - but there's enough variety on offer to make even the most jaded backpacker pick up a mic.

It's telling that no matter how much I bang on about loving hard, classic rap music, I still enjoyed the pop tracks - although I draw the line at N-Dubz. I was more than willing to try songs a purist would turn his nose up at or that I would never dream of listening to for my own pleasure. As far as I can tell, that is another sign of a successful music game. Here's hoping Def Jam Rapstar lives up to the promise it's already showing.

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