DJ Hero was first introduced last year which brought a new peripheral, new set of music and the chance to kick like a DJ. A year later and the sequel sets to deliver a huge soundtrack, famed DJ’s and new ways to play. Now one would think that music based games would have slowed down but they’re stronger then ever this year. DJ Hero 2 is no exception as it takes most of what it had in the original and turns it up to 11!
DJ Hero is different then the other music based games, besides the peripheral being a turntable, its appeal is to a broader audience. Featuring most of its music from popular radio hits, club hits and remixing them for a unique jam exclusive to the game. The creators also have done away with the traditional story based mode and offers up Empire Mode which lets you play set lists of songs as you watch your DJ go from a local to a mega star. With the occasional all star DJ replacement for a set list. DJ Hero 2’s focus seems to be more dance/pop based then its predecessor, including tracks, remixes and character likeness for renowned DJ’s like David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Tiesto. The game still offers enough variety to catch everyones attention though.
Much like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, the notes come down on what looks like a record and players will have to hit the note once it reaches the line mark. Players pick through a generic set of character DJ’s and can also play as your xbox live avatar if desired but they seem a bit to big or wide in game. What’s added this time around is the ability to freestyle scratch or crossfade to a song in particular sections. This allowed us to really get some unique sounds in for bonus points which are rated by how well we freestyled in the mix. Graphics have been bumped up and everything looks nicer then the first DJ Hero. The game can also be played very casually amongst a group of people if thats what you fancy. Party Mode allows you to play along with the mixes or just listen, this can be enabled in the main menu but your going to have to go with whatever’s playing as the tracks are set to random.
There are 83 mixes in the game, each bringing its own style and difficulty. The first game seemed to have been strict on using one song for lyrics and the other for it’s instrumental. One of the differences this time is the remixes utilize different sections of both songs which work much better and keep you guessing on where the track is going. Two Player mode has been revamped to include actual DJ battling much like Guitar Hero but sounds like what an actual turntable battle is. You can compete in a number of ways including Star Battles, Checkpoints, Streaks and Accumulator. They are all welcomed additions from the standard high score challenge. The battle can also be taken online which runs smooth and responsive.
While players were able to grab a microphone and jam along in the first one, this time around they’ve added a Vocalist option that allows you to see the words and pitch to the song while you get rated. The vocals work much like Rock Band and new Guitar Hero games but also allows three players to get in at once. One gripe about vocalizing to a mix is the fact that since tracks are remixed, catching notes to repeat or going between two songs lyrics can get rather challenging, especially if you only know one of the two songs which can happened more then not. A big step up is the live stat feed that happens from the main menu. Players can see top scorers, friends score comparisons and issue challenges which work seamlessly.
Calibration takes some time to get right. All music games have a level of calibration but this some how took a bit more concentration to get accurate. The cross fader on the Turntable peripheral also feels a bit to loose for our taste as it would do the occasional slide misstep. We’ve also found the turntable to start to separate as well, even in locked position but won’t happen often. Guitar tracks are also missing like the first game but we assume it was due to it not fitting in quite as well.
Their is something about scratching with buttons on the turntable that make us want a different layout for the peripheral. Like the disconnect between playing a Guitar Hero Guitar to an actual guitar, this one seems to be bigger then that. The turntable is solid on its own and we have gotten used to it since the first one which feels better this time around but we can’t help but think that buttons under the cross fader with a emphasis on scratching a plain disk would suit the game better, perhaps for its third rendition?
This remains as the most unique music game out, with the most impressive soundtrack we’ve seen in a game since the last one. DJ Hero 2 is a smooth step forward and while not ground breaking from the last game, doesn’t mess anything up in the process. We love where the series is going and would like to see a modified version to the standard turntable in the future (more like a pro version). The tracks featuring names like Deadmau5 and David Guetta are all outstanding, making us want more. Hopefully the team will explore names like BoyzNoise, DJ Chuckie, Timberland for mixing, and more Hip Hop tracks. DJ Hero 2 was made for me and remains to be my music game of choice, for anyone that hasn’t gave it a spin it will not disappoint you.
[starreviewmulti id=2 tpl=20]
Overall = 8.7