Def Jam: Icon

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Def Jam: Icon Game Poster Image
Mature brawler set in the world of hip-hop music.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You are managing a hip-hop record label and fight artists in hopes of winning their respect and allegiance.


It's a fighting game with punches, kicks, backbreaking throws, and even fighters who catch on fire. Onscreen characters will bleed after a severe beating, and will even catch on fire at an exploding gas station. You can cause objects to smash onto an opponent's body, or kick him when he is lying down, and watch as he turns black and blue.


Some women dancing suggestively around a pole.


Many of the hip-hop songs feature strong language and derogatory comments. You will hear the "N" word, "bitches," "hoes," and motherf---er."


Features 29 hip-hop songs including Big Boi's "Kryptonite," and Ludacris' "Get Back."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few songs refer to drinking or getting high.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that many teens will want to play this fighting game because it features big hip-hop and rap artists, but it's very much an M-rated game. That's why this well-constructed game gets plenty of stars for quality but earns our rare "Off" rating for 17+. Characters punch, kick, and throw each other across the room; onscreen characters bleed after a severe beating. In-game harsh lyrics are common, including "bitches," "N"-words, and "hoes," and lines like "tell yo buddies I f--ked you right, tell 'em how you licked my b--ls."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 16-year-old Written byFataltoxins November 13, 2009
Adult Written bylatino April 9, 2008

best def jam game ever

they should make it for wii that will be so bad ass
Kid, 11 years old December 13, 2009
parent its not so bad for teens most teen listen to hip-hop with cussing and drud reference i do
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

good game

great game for teens and tweens 12+

What's it about?

You can playDEF JAM: ICON as or against some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including Ludacris, Big Boi, The Game, Method Man, Sean Paul, Paul Wall, and T.I. As with most fighting games, you must discover and exploit the weaknesses of your computer-controlled or human opponents. But this is no "button masher": Gamers who don't take the time to learn how to best punch, kick, grab, throw, and block won't get far in this brawler. Music can also be used as a weapon -- by timing your attacks to match the beat of a song, you can trigger environmental hazards in time with the music, from exploding gas pumps to an electrifying lighting rig at a TV studio.

Is it any good?

This fresh take on the struggling fighting video game genre works -- but its appeal may be limited to hip-hop music fans and its blinged-out superstars. Def Jam: Icon, the latest in this hip-hop fighting game series, offers greater interaction with music, more characters, online play for long-distance brawls, and outstanding graphics. Visually, Def Jam: Icon delivers an interesting blend of photorealistic characters with a surreal effect of buildings and cars that pulsate and crumble to the beat.

Def Jam: Icon is a fun and unique take on the fighting game genre, where music isn't just used in the background but plays a key part in the gameplay. Mature hip-hop fans who love fighting games will find Icon a perfect blend of the two.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the bad behavior and language. Why is it glorified in some circles as part of hip-hop culture? What does the word "icon" in the game's title have to do with this glorification? Which artists do you see more as icons than musicians? Why do you think so many hip-hop artists use such graphic language?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Electronic Arts
  • Release date: March 7, 2007
  • Genre: Fighting
  • ESRB rating: M for blood, strong lyrics, violence
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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