WILW Games: Def Jam Vendetta

We’ve talked before about how good the AKI N64 wrestling games were. We’ve talked about how the games that came after, while good, never quite had that same special thing that made those particular games so spectacular. And while the rumors swirl that maybe one day we will get another AKI wrestling game, all we are left with is what came before. And it is with that eye that we look at Def Jam Vendetta.

Released in 2003 for the PS2 and Gamecube, Def Jam Vendetta took a tried and true concept, wrestling, and mashed it up with real life hip hop stars. On the surface it didn’t make a ton of sense. It was published by EA who hadn’t made a good wrestling game ever and while the cross section of hip hop fans and wrestling fans is pretty large, hip hop artists as wrestlers should not have worked. Yet, somehow, it did. Because the game was mostly WWF No Mercy with rappers, the underlying game play was as good as ever. Sure, there was some more arcadey style things thrown in but at its heart, it was a wrestling game. The story mode was deep and engaging, the graphics were excellent, the music, as one would imagine, was fantastic, and the overall presentation was right in line with the EA Big stuff at the time which is to say over the top, but damn fun. Def Jam had an absolutely killer lineup of artists at the time and they were able to leverage them into a mass market appealing game. The moves each rapper got were as insane as the rest of the game but added to the overall feel. It was a blast to play multiplayer as well and led to many a long night in living rooms and dorm rooms nationwide. While it lacked traditional wrestling game features, it more than made up for them in atmosphere.

If you’ve never played Vendetta, or its equally awesome sequel Fight for New York, you owe it to yourself to find a way to do so now. There really is nothing else quite like it on any console. The rock solid game play holds up as well as any game released today and while it may not be as deep as current grapplers, you really won’t miss anything. Personally, I’d love to see another entry in this series. The last game released, Icon, was absolutely horrible and destroyed the franchise. Enough time has passed however where a fresh start, with all the modern bells and whistles, could do big money. But this isn’t just about me. What did you think of Def Jam Vendetta? Follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what you thought of this franchise. And make sure to check back next week as we take a look at the big WWE weekend with NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3 and Summer Slam. Until then…

Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan was once the most feared and respected luchador in the world until the "Great DDT Disaster of '85" where Dan unfortunately DDT'd his opponent so hard into the ground that he opened a gate to the underworld that let unholy things into this world. After that, Dan refused to wrestle anymore but he's found new life writing and talking about his favorite hobbies here at Geekade. He pens the weekly Why I Love Wrestling series, co-hosts The Stone Age Gamer Podcast, expertly pairs video games with beer, and much, much more. Dan is a personality that Geekade simply would not be the same without.

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