Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
Buy On
  1. Even if straight-on wrestling isn’t your thing, the fighting element in the game is involved enough to please fighting game fans. Of course, fans of the hip-hop genre will love the atmosphere in the game.
  2. Despite the occasional glitch and lack of online play, Def Jam: Fight for New York is an excellent fighter that manages to revive a dying genre without needing to recreate it.
  3. netjak
    Point blank…if you need a serious bare-knuckle fighting game in your collection, look no further. Def Jam: Fight for N.Y. is everything the hype boasts about and then some. Solid, diverse gameplay makes this title one of the best fighters this year.
  4. 90
    As far as sequels go, Fight for NY is to "Vendetta" what "The Empire Strikes Back" was to "Star Wars."
  5. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    Whether you're a fan of hip-hop or not, Def Jam Fight for NY delvers on all fronts and simply shouldn't be missed by fans of fighting, wrestling, or brawling games. [Oct 2004, p.87]
  6. A game that practically reinvents the original and presents what's arguably one of the most visceral, compelling fighting experiences you're likely to have this side of 2005.
  7. 90
    The level of work that went into this game is way beyond the norm. It's obvious that no expense was spared in making Def Jam Fight For NY a big-time title... It's one the most polished fighting games available.
  8. GMR Magazine
    Various artificially induced frustrations hold the game back from its true potential. Still, it's nearly there, and for those with strong jaws, it's an otherwise exceptional experience. The next game should be unstoppable, but it better well feature Eric B. and Rakim. [Nov 2004, p.122]
  9. A really good beat-en-up that really absorbs players. Graphically the game is very well done, and the soundtracks enhance the whole hip-hop underground scene that the title is trying to represent and exaggerate.
  10. Besides the camera, the graphics are some of the best I've seen in fighting games.
  11. I recommend it if you aren’t squeamish about knocking the crap out of very realistic and very familiar looking people.
  12. One hell of a brawler. A fantastically weighted fighting system that perfectly demonstrates how thick, raw sound effects and smooth animation can suck you into the visceral, almost feral world of these underground fights gives your fingers, eyes and ears all something to digest while plowing through a story that actually keeps you in the game.
  13. AceGamez
    Although the violence is a lot harsher, the gameplay and tension has been revamped to give a more intuitive feel without losing the need to improve those button tapping skills.
  14. 90
    On any platform, though, this is the best 3D fighter of the year (and the best urban fashion simulator of any year, if that means anything).
  15. So much better then the last version. And with saying that, the last version was also great. One problem I did find was how hard this game was. You can set the level of difficulty but damn even the easy is tough!
  16. An exceptional game. Feel free to pick it up just to see your favorite rap stars and thugs beat up one another. You'll end up getting a nicely designed fighting game in the process.
  17. As for the action itself, this is some very fast-paced and brutal - very brutal - action. Although the control scheme is relatively simple, you'll quickly learn that ther is an exact science to adminstering grapples and harsh environmental moves at just the right moment. [Oct 2004, p.126]
  18. 88
    With a new fighting system, four player battle mode, story mode, hot girls, over forty hip hop persona’s, twenty interactive environments, and stunningly brutal moves make this the most appealing fighting game in 2004.
  19. 87
    Even if you don't end up the biggest fan of the grappling system, the Blazin' Moves are certain to leave anyone impressed. There's a great sense of fun, of true enjoyment in the development of Fight for NY and that translates to the game.
  20. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The best part of all, though, is the story mode, which not only has a great create-a-fighter option, but also a surprisingly good story that almost flawlessly ties all aspects of the game together. [Nov 2004, p.132]
  21. No doubt, this is a more brutal, bloody, and foul-mouthed effort than last year's game, but this emphasis on mature content is backed up by great gameplay and an incredible atmosphere.
  22. Delivers on all fronts. Sure it has its minor flaws, but with a stellar story, crazy amounts of celebrities, licensed soundtrack, and fun fighting engine, you would be hard pressed to find a game as enjoyable as Fight for NY.
  23. A larger story line, greater number of options and plenty of interactive environments make this title one for any fight fans. It may not completely live up to its design, but it more than makes up for it in style.
  24. A challenging level of difficulty plus next-to-useless instructions makes Def Jam: Fight For NY harder than it needs to be. But once you master your skills (and overlook the camera problems), it's one of the most viscerally fun brawlers in ages.
  25. The game is easy to pick up and play, the sound and graphics are spectacular, and the amount of content jammed onto this DVD is just mind-boggling.
  26. If you’re not into hip-hop, then FFNY will be a bit hard to take. The game practically oozes with it, from the language to the story to the celebrity rappers to the extensive hip-hop soundtrack.
  27. This inconsistent AI provided some major frustration, as well as some pain to my controller as it came in contact with one of my walls.
  28. The controls feel precise and fluid as they react according to the situation you are in. If one thing that may be a downer to some casual gamers is the difficult A.I. in the game.
  29. The fact that it's got the deepest story ever seen in a fighter simply adds to the realistic feel of the brutal combat within.
  30. Def Jam: Fight For NY is a good game -- there's no doubt about that -- but it's perhaps that rarest of fighting games -- one that's better off played solo, or against one other player only, rather than in true multiplayer.
  31. Yeah, this is a bit of a button masher, but there is enough style to the game and depth to the system that you can get beyond this.
  32. Improves on "Vendetta" in every aspect [with a] well-told story mode and improved fighting engine.
  33. 80
    An incredibly fun game born of a fascinating concept that follows through on its potential in almost every way. If you’re a fan of hip-hop, or of solid grapplers with a huge does of the old ultra-violence, you’ll find plenty here to keep you bouncing in your seat.
  34. 80
    Controlling your fighter can become a difficult chore as the characters often feel sluggish and almost unresponsive in heated bouts where quickly moving CPU characters always seem to have the advantage.
  35. Should the lyrically challenged feel left out, you can create your own brawler outfitted in ice courtesy of celebrity bling supplier Jacob the Jeweler. Better to look good than to—ow—feel good.
  36. 80
    The fighting is hard-hitting, intuitive, and satisfying, and the story-mode is well-developed enough to give it long-term legs despite it's lack of an online multiplayer component. On top of that, the manner to which the hip hop element has been realized is really impressive.
  37. PSM Magazine
    It keeps you captivated most of the time. I just wish the fighting engine from the previous game had been left intact. [Nov 2004, p.82]
  38. EA Big did more than just nip-and-tuck with the sequel, creating a deeper and more satisfying experience. The improved graphics, hefty roster of fighters and unlockables, and involving game play mask the frustrating flaws found within.
  39. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 7 / 8 / 8 - 31 silver [Vol. 846]
  40. An extremely violent, bloody, foul-mouthed and visceral fighter filled with plenty of style. Unfortunately, good looks, a cool character creator and some sweet environments are commodities that lose their luster after several hours of play.
  41. games(TM)
    A more solid, playable and visually splendid grappler than this will be hard to come by... If it weren’t for the fact that you can easily clock Story mode and unlock everything in a weekend, we’d have a much easier job recommending Fight For New York. [Nov 2004, p.108]
  42. Sure, you can dress your fighter in all sorts of swish gear and blinging jewellery and Henry Rollins is on hand to teach you new 'Blazin' moves and generally improve your tactics, but once you've taken away all the gimmicks, you're left with what is still a very niche title.
  43. 66
    The opponents seem to always outclass you, with the AI coming across as simplistic, relying instead on superior stats as opposed to any kind of impressive fighting prowess.
  44. The gameplay is marred by the unforgiving AI that brutally destroys you whenever you gain just the slightest advantage. With that being said, Def Jam is at times more stressful than fun to play.
  45. Not to mention, cheap AI, stiff controls, the "I can be beaten in a weekend" story mode, and an overload of psuedo-censored rap music hold this wrestler disguised as a street brawler back from being truly great.
  46. Play Magazine
    New fighting styles, more weapons, added match types, rowdy crowds and some wicked, brutal environmental interactions help make up for the watered-down brawling. [Oct 2004, p.87]

Awards & Rankings

#20 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#12 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 98 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 98
  2. Negative: 5 out of 98
  1. Feb 11, 2019
    Good game. Very good game. Great game. Excellent game. Perfect game. A God's gift.
  2. Jun 25, 2019
    The best human Creation game in the world ! great soundtrack , great gameplay , great scenario .
    one of the best EA projects !
  3. Oct 3, 2018
    This 'M' rated sequel to "Vendetta" is a big improvement. It's everything the first one should have been. Featuring a deep roster of fighters,This 'M' rated sequel to "Vendetta" is a big improvement. It's everything the first one should have been. Featuring a deep roster of fighters, deep customization options and several modes, it stands as one of AKI's best titles. If you're a fan of Def Jam's artists, the movie "Fight Club" and fighting games, you'll love this. I would rate it with an 8.7 out of 10. Full Review »