Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 38
  2. Negative: 3 out of 38
  1. 67
    Weak fighting moves, a lackluster story mode and inconsistent game mechanics complicate what would otherwise be the evolution of the franchise.
  2. Def Jam: Icon plays well enough, but it really shines thanks to its crazy story and healthy roster.
  3. Its graphics are unprecedented, with gameplay and camera tricks that could not have been pulled off (in this form) in the previous generation. Hardcore fighting fans, however, are likely to be disappointed – and in the long run, turned off – by the lack of multiplayer enthusiasm.
  4. If this game still had the previous (or an even deeper) fighting system, a run button, and weapons, it would probably already be a classic. While the visuals are amazing, the game just doesn't deliver as well in the fighting as it should.
  5. After a while, the recycled environments and repetitive battles start to feel like a chore rather than a reward. [Mar 2007, p.96]
  6. 60
    For anyone who feels like hip-hop is more than the soundtrack to the suburban mall thug experience, the game is really a disservice to a rich culture that involves more than misogyny and violence.
  7. Ultimately, there's not enough to do in the game to keep you occupied for very long. The Build a Label mode only offers a maximum of six to seven hours of play, and the bare-bones online mode isn't going to give you much more than that.
  8. The controls are a bit sluggish and sometimes unresponsive.
  9. Building a Label isn’t deep, but it’s fun and silly, the engine makes for some nail biting fights, everything looks great, and the musically-timed catastrophes are worth the price of admission alone.
  10. 65
    This one's fun, no doubt about it, and the way the beats bang the environment is a must-see. But its lack of fighting depth definitely keeps it on the casual tip.
  11. A disappointment, especially considering how daft and intoxicating "Fight for New York" was. [Apr 2007, p.72]
  12. 60
    Icon is serviceable, but it’s not something you’ll be spinning in your disc tray for very long.
  13. 70
    If you are a fan of Hip-Hop, and don’t mind the slower pace of the fighting compared to the last Def Jam games then definitely check this one out.
  14. Isn’t it amazing that a game featuring rappers fighting, and one made by EA no less, can be considered one of the most original games so far this generation? [Apr 2007, p.98]
  15. The DJ system is unique and intuitive, the visuals well polished and, even with my rock/punk roots, the soundtrack is a commendable mix of uncensored beats. Nevertheless, the broken fighting mechanics and sluggish pacing are enough to keep this game from reaching true icon status.
  16. There's no way to imagine these fights as anything but someone's absurd rap fantasy that was somehow shoehorned onto a fighting game. [Mar 2007, p.53]
  17. Like the previous Def jams, Icon can't decide what kind of game it wants to be. [Apr 2007, p.88]
  18. Def Jam's most damaging flaw is the single-mindedness of the combat. Unleash all the punch and kick combos you want, but in very short order it will become obvious that environmental hazards are the only way to take an opponent down.
  19. Icon is an average fighting game but the graphics, style, and interesting use of music make it more entertaining than I thought possible.
  20. A beat 'em up that is both pretty and a lot of fun with interesting music-related gameplay ideas. The controls are a bit too complicated for a beat 'em up, though. And where has the 4-player game gone? [Mar 2007]
  21. The wrestling element has been butchered. [May 2007, p.90]
  22. EA gets blinded by the bling-bling and forgets to focus on the gameplay, leaving gamers with a painfully basic and shallow fighting game.
  23. Despite a few different fighting styles, matches tend to play exactly the same way no matter what environment you’re in or who’s doing the fighting. It’s like an album where every song sounds the same.
  24. 79
    Feels like an unfulfilled promise, a game that could have been great but quite happily settled for being good. It's a real shame when you consider how much fun the opening hours are and multiplayer is. [Issue #151, p.88]
  25. Icon is a fun ride, but it's got some pretty deep shoes to fill. It is fun and the music features are pretty cool, so give it a look. [Apr 2007, p.46]
  26. Overall, Icon is an incredible first effort that feels like there just wasn't enough time to fully flesh out every feature, but got the core concept nailed. [Apr 2007, p.76]
  27. Too bad the slow-as-molasses combat (and too-savvy computer-controlled opponents) keep this fighter from rivaling classics like "Tekken," "Street Fighter" and "Soul Calibur," but the innovative use of music, as both an aesthetic and a weapon, adds depth.
  28. Hip-hop fans will almost certainly have one hell of a time with this game, with the focus on building label and the extensive soundtrack.
  29. The exploding levels are a barely-veiled, needlessly complicated, rip-off of Mortal Kombat's hotspots, while fighting lacks imagination and characters blur into one. We'd have settled for a shinier version of Def Jam: FFNY - complete with Blazin' moves (inexplicably taken out here) - instead of this disappointing effort.
  30. The move towards the slower paced boxing style of Fight Night was an interesting concept, but everything else in the game screams wrestler. The combination just doesn't work well.
  31. It’s strange that EA Chicago responsible for the amazing Fight Night series couldn’t capitalize on the Def Jam series.
  32. 81
    Build a label mode seems generally linear, but it is well thought out and features an excellent cast.
  33. Def Jam: ICON successfully combines the label-management career mode and surprisingly deep fighting. This, coupled with great graphics, interactive environments, and a killer soundtrack, make ICON an easy game to recommend.
  34. Even if you don't own every Ludacris album, watching the rich environments rattle to the music is reason enough to give this a play. Just don't expect much depth from this beat 'em up.
  35. While it still very much feels like a sequel, everything is bigger, better, and more stylish. In the end, Def Jam: Icon manages to feel like a fresh experience instead of more of the same.
  36. It's just two hairs short of a masterpiece. EA and Def Jam have set the bar really high for fighting games.
  37. While Icon is the best looking of the Def Jam games, the combat system isn’t quite as entertaining, dropping the previous games’ over-the-top wrestling moves for more straightforward street fighting. It’s not a bad system, but it’s just not as wild and entertaining.
  38. Every move seems to take a split second from your button press to its actual execution, which means chaining combos becomes a very taxing endeavour. [Apr 2007, p.52]
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 4 out of 8
  1. Aug 19, 2011
    Had this one lying in my game collection since 2009 when i bought it for like 10 bucks, back than i already hated the controls, now i pickedHad this one lying in my game collection since 2009 when i bought it for like 10 bucks, back than i already hated the controls, now i picked it up and it hasn't aged well at all, awful controls, awful A.I. Your character just punch and kicks whatever he wants to, remembering their moves is impossible, after i almost broke my controller i stopped the game, removed the disc and snapped it in half. The only thing this disc is good for is to be recycled so i hope that in one day a good game will be stamped on it. Full Review »
  2. GamerP
    Jun 24, 2009
    Why did I give it a 1? Because the graphics are good thats why. Other than that it was by far the worst game I have ever played. From the Why did I give it a 1? Because the graphics are good thats why. Other than that it was by far the worst game I have ever played. From the amazing brilliant FFNY comes this horrible horrible game which really upset me in terms of how bad it was and I actually seriously wanted my money back and the 3 hours i spent 'trying' to give it a chance. The fighting was more limited than a piece of cheese and the A.I was idiotic. ALL my friends agree with me on this one... DON'T waste your time or money! Full Review »
  3. MickP.
    Jun 15, 2007
    bought this game 2 days ago already broke a control pad in frustration. The controls are a nightmare seeing as i played it 4-5 hours straight bought this game 2 days ago already broke a control pad in frustration. The controls are a nightmare seeing as i played it 4-5 hours straight and still the right stick wouldnt do what i wanted it to. Apart from that the grathics are ok and the storyline is brilliant. Full Review »