Def Jam: Icon
Much like the hip-hop industry that the game stereotypes, Def Jam: Icon opts for bling rather than depth. The third in the series, Icon drops with an expanded story mode that lets you control record distributions and sign artists to your label, but it is the stunningly realistic graphics that make it stand out from other fighters. Life-like rappers throw down against surreal backgrounds that bump and bounce with the soundtrack, creating a fascinating juxtaposition. The fighting is enhanced by hazardous environments that explode, shock and set characters on fire to the DJ-like maneuvers of the player’s control stick—therein lies the fun. Players can forgive the slow-load screens and limited solo replay value for the chance to set Sean Paul on fire—because really, who hasn’t wanted to do that in their lifetime?