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GC: Def Jam Rapstar first look

Hands-on with former Rockstar man's new project

We've taken a first look at 4mm Games' Def Jam Rapstar at Gamescom and have come away impressed.

If you like SingStar but find all that Abba stuff a bit too vanilla, this'll be right up your street. The game sees you plugging in your camera and then rapping along to famous tracks, before uploading your best 30 seconds for the game's online community to enjoy/laugh at.

The game is still in relatively early stages, so no artists have been officially confirmed yet, but the proposed track list we saw spans the full lifetime of rap, so there should be something for everyone.

Interestingly, the game aims to let you use any microphone to play it. While that means the obvious Guitar Hero or SingStar mics will work, it was also suggested that you can use your own professional mic if you have one lying around at home.

We had a go on the game and can confirm that it accurately registers pitch and rhythm - the former only coming into play in tuneful sections.

In true rap style, the game encourages two players to compete in rap-offs, occasionally singing together but mostly taking a few lines at a time then waiting for the reply.

You'll be able to unlock foregrounds for your videos with points, and you can earn them by either completing set objectives in the game or by becoming an active member of the online community, such as commenting on videos or posting a 5-star effort of your own.

4mm Games' president Jamie King (formerly of a little company called Rockstar) told us he expects the game to ship with 35-40 songs on the disc, with further tracks made available as DLC (mostly in artist track packs) in the subsequent weeks.

If the 30-second upload length sounds constrictive (sadly necessary due to copyright issues), worry not - the game has a rather ace trick up its baggy sleeve.

More ambitious players will be able to use loops created by professional rap artists to create their own backing track and then rap over it. But that's not all. The game will also feature an overdub feature, which means you'll be able to add layers of sound to create professional-sounding full-length tracks.

While this is likely to be basic compared to fully-fledged home multitrack recording on Cubase or the like, this is a rather unique selling point in the genre and we can see a lot of people having fun with this when the game launches on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Incidentally, there is a Wii version planned too, although it's likely it won't contain the video or community features, King told CVG.

Update: Following King's statements, CVG has been contacted by a rep who tells us: "As Def Jam Rapstar is still awaiting an officially appointed publisher there are no specifics on format yet but it's reasonable to assume that it may hit all three at some stage." Update ends.

We'll 'holla' when we have more.

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