Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2010

With the new year approaching, its time to look ahead to some of the more anticipated video games set for releases in 2010. While this list might look more like a blockbuster movie schedule than a list of games, we assure you that 2010 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for gaming. You might even consider attempting time-travel just so you can play these games sooner.

10. Castlevania – Lords of Shadow

This title looks to reinvigorate the Castlevania series and judging from the trailer, it might do exactly that. From the looks of it Lord of Shadow seems to have taken some notes from God of War, but can we honestly say that's a bad thing? This game will be a must have for any Castlevania fan.

9. Sin and Punishment 2

Anyone who played the original Sin and Punishment on N64 knows just how much fun it was. Sin and Punishment 2 comes as a 3rd person shooter from Japan that may just give the Nintendo Wii the push it needs.

8. Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator is back with its unique appeal of being able to play all 3 races. Expect an overwhelming sense of dread while playing as a marine in dark and unknown corridors, a refreshing ability to wreak absolute carnage while playing as an alien, and of course, the satisfactory feeling of successfully hunting down your prey as the elusive predator. Did we mention that multiplayer will incorporate all three classes in an all out brawl on various planets and facilities?

7. WoW Cataclysm

Chances are if you play WoW you've already been drooling over this expansion for months and have a special place already set on your shelf for this game. If you don't play World of Warcraft please, for your own sake, turn away and never look back. This expansion includes two new races (Worgen and Goblin) and of course new dungeons, raids, and areas to explore.

6. Bioshock 2

Taking place 10 years after the original Bioshock, Bioshock 2 looks to expand on the original. The players can now take control of the infamous Big Daddy and even step outside of the underwater city called Rapture. Oh, and there will be multiplayer too.

5. Rage

Rage is Id Software’s first original game in over a decade, and the first to use the new Tech 5 game engine. Rage is set in a post-apocalyptic world and looks to be a unique blend of first person shooter and racing game. Ironically this sounds pretty damn refreshing.

4. Diablo 3

Does anything else even need to be said apart from the fact that its freakin' Diablo 3?!? This time time around there will be three playable classes each with their own unique set of abilities, strengths and weaknesses. The classes are Witch Doctor, Barbarian, and Wizard. Be warned though, this game looks to be every bit as addicting as WoW and may cause you to lose your job, friends, and maybe even your apartment. But on the bright side at least you'll have fun doing it.

3. Metroid: Other M

What happens when you combine one of the most beloved action games of all time with the brilliant minds at Team Ninja. Metroid Gaiden? Ninjatroid? No. The answer is non other than Metroid: Other M. This may just be the best Metroid game ever created, which is truly saying something.

2. God of War III

God of War III resumes exactly where God of War II ends and will deliver on all the brutal hacking and slashing we came to love in the previous games. If you own a PS3 you're in luck as this game will only be available on that system. Hell, it might even be worth the buy just to shove it in all your friends faces who own an Xbox360.

1. Starcraft II

The original Star Craft is arguably one of the best games ever made, so it is not surprising that real time strategy fans went absolutely crazy when Star Craft II was finally announced. Its been over 10 years since the last installment in the Starcraft series and Blizzard has managed to up the ante with improved graphics, all new units, and even customized deaths for every unit. Expect to relive everything you enjoyed in the first Starcraft from the compelling story and campaigns to the brutal all out battles we learned to love. If Blizzard doesn't push this game back for 4 more years then this game will be a shoe in for game of the year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Will New Wii Paid Video Service Bump Sales?

nintendo wii video serviceThe Nintendo Wii is definitely still keeping its footing in the video game world. Recent survey statistics and a new stream of revenues insinuate that Wii is doing well and will only do better this Christmas season. Survey data from an online wish-list and gift-giving site called Lottay show that the Wii and all its games and accessories will definitely gain some more momentum.

The Wii and everything that goes along with the game system were wished for over twice as much as the PS3 or Xbox 360. Now a wish does not mean that the product will necessarily be bought for the hopeful recipient, but since there is a shortage of super exciting gifts this holiday season, the Wii and other less-new products should be able to be successful in sales.

Although Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said just a few weeks ago that the Wii game system hadn’t been as strong as they imagined, Cammie Dunway, who is the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America, seems to remain extremely positive about the current sales and the future sales of the holiday season.

In the U.S., Nintendo’s focus for the Wii has been more on games and accessories for the system instead of additional services like the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live, which gives users access to Facebook, Twitter, and

Now in Japan, the Wii console is much more sophisticated that it is here in the U.S. Nintendo previously launched an advertising program to the Japanese systems that turns family time with the Wii into a somewhat commercial endeavor, and it also introduced a catering channel that allows users to order food from a variety of assorted vendors right through the console and have it delivered to your door.

Just this weekend, Nintendo has added a variety of interactive services, with a paid video download service for Japanese consoles. The new service, “Theater No Ma,” offers a range of movies, anime, and a variety of other downloadable content from providers such as Walt Disney and Sesame Workshop.

Services such as this have been available in the U.S. for quite some time but not so much in Japan. Nintendo researchers were able to find out that 87% of Japanese Wii users have their console hooked up the biggest screen in the house which is normally in the living room. This will cause the new video downloading system to most likely appeal to Wii users because of the ease and location of the TV and console. Nintendo hopes that this new paid service will bring in more revenue and bump their sales statistics up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Assassin's Creed II Now Available

assassin's creed iiAssassin’s Creed II was released on November 17th, and there has been some major hype and advertising for this game. I was watching the OSU football game last weekend and I probably saw the Assassin’s Creed II commercial at least seven times, and this commercial is not just some little snippet of the game, it is a long intense preview that makes you want to go right out and buy it. Assassin’s Creed II looks like the kind of game that you just can’t stop playing.

Although the original Assassin’s Creed was quite popular, it can’t even touch the brilliance of the sequel. The second installment takes you on a bloody romp through Renaissance Italy that keeps all the aspects that were loved from the original game while righting all the issues that it had. It has developed into a fully featured open world action experience. Every detail added to the game has enhanced it in ways that make this game so much more intriguing than its predecessor.

The plot of Assassin’s Creed II mixes together elements of many different things including lots of historical fiction and some Matrix qualities. The game was developed and crafted by some of the most skillful hands in gaming development. This is seen vividly in the games environments, animations, and art. The sequel build on its predecessor’s basis, but blows the first game completely out of the water.

All of the questions and loose ends with the first Assassin’s Creed are addressed and answered throughout the game. The game itself begins right where the predecessor ended with the kidnapped bartender Desmond locked away in a cell in Abstergo. Desmond’s captors, the Templars, are after his valuable genetic memories. The magic that can be found in modern technology permits Desmond to relive the feats of his ancestors, who were indeed Assassins. Because of the family lineage that Desmond is a part of, he is stuck right in the middle of the war between the Templars and the Assassins.

The game begins with springing Desmond from his imprisonment and taking him to the secret hideout of the Assassins to give him a proper introduction. At the hideout, Desmond learns that the Assassins possess the same technology to relive the past as he does. This technology was used against Desmond in the previous game to forcibly make him reveal the locations of powerful artifact that were located in 12th century Jerusalem. In this game, Desmond decides to learn from the Assassins by staying in the 15th century and living life through his ancestor, Elizo Audituerre de Firenze.

Gamers are introduced to Elizo at the time of his birth for a brief but significant moment. Next it flashes forward to the time in his life when he was a womanizer, a street fighter, and the son of a wealthy banker. The game moves onward to reveal a revenge plot that will easily draw in the player.

assassins creed iiAt the game’s start, there are many tips and techniques interwoven in the gameplay to allow you to catch onto the basic moves of the game. In one of the early mission, the gamer is introduced to their character’s ability to climb over nearly any surface found in the game. In Assassin’s Creed II, the players character’s movement speed has been greatly increased to allow for less frustrating gameplay.

The stealth feature on the game, that is used quite often, allows the player to utilize quick action or a dense crowd to escape. This lets you have a more realistic kind of gameplay. When there are people after your character, there are still hiding places that you can easily hide. The easiest way to divert foes in the game is to hire thieves, mercenaries, and whores to cause a distraction. Also you can throw coins in the street to create a mini-riot.

If you feel like taking a more aggressive approach and fight instead of hiding then you open up some different options. There’s a huge selection of weapons that you can either permanently purchase at a store or temporarily steal off of an adversary.

The creation of a monetary system in Assassin’s Creed II adds quite a few positive changes to gameplay. Your character receives money when they complete quests, find treasures, or pickpocket someone. You may utilize this money to purchase new armor, weapons, or upgrade your home base.

The structure of the game allows the player to decide which missions they choose to go on and even includes a map that allows you to see which missions will allow you to advance further into the game. The side missions that could be so agonizing to go on in the previous game have been updated to include relevance and not become repetitive.

The entire game takes 18 hours to complete on average and has been designed to keep your attention all the way through. The game itself just has so much more to offer than the original Assassin’s Creed. The gameplay is exciting, unique, and incredibly detail oriented. Even if you never played the first game, it doesn’t matter. You will still fall in love with this game. It is definitely worth your time and money. Assassin’s Creed II is superb.

Friday, November 20, 2009

15 Year Old's Traumatic Xbox Incident

15 year olds xbox traumaSo I am still currently a teenager for just a few months. I know that we can be difficult and at times unreasonable, but I never thought that rebellion could go this far. A fifteen year old boy, who lives in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, experienced severe trauma when his parents decided to punish him by taking away something near and dear to his heart…his Xbox.

At 12:50 p.m. on Sunday, November 15th, 2009, this young man grabbed the phone and called 911. He intended to question the police as to whether or not his parents had the right to withhold his precious game system from him. After making the call though, the fifteen year old decided to hang up before posing his question. Naturally, the police made their way over to the boys house to see what was going on. Once the boy explained the reason for the call, the police were quick to explain that it was most definitely within his parents rights to confiscate his Xbox, and it would probably be in his best interest to listen to what they said if he ever wanted to get it back.

So just a word to the wise, you better be on your best behavior because if you aren’t and your parents decide to punish you by taking away your game system, the police will give you no help whatsoever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

MySims Agents for Wii Review

Electronic Arts' Sims franchise has been one of the most popular gaming franchises ever, and now they're taking it to the Wii in MySims Agents. MySims Agents has been called an "entertaining yet fairly simplistic game." It's not packed with lots of action but it requires a lot of brainpower.

The goal of the game is to become a special agent. To do this, you take on assignments and foil evil plots created by Morcubus, the corrupt CEO of MorcuCorp. How does this work? Essentially, you send your agent through a variety of settings, looking for clues and usually tools you'll discover throughout the game. As you move throughout the game, you can even recruit other agents with other talents, personalities, and interests, and put together your own "crime-busting dream team.

Create your agent and send him or her to tough cases in exotic places, from an icy mountain top to an ancient temple. You'll need your brain and your gadgets to solve mysteries, track footprints, pick locks, hack into computers, follow leads and collect clues. You'll also need to jump and balance your way through tricky situations. Your headquarters can be customize to your desire, and you'll need to equip it to maximize the skills of your team.

The game is fun but requires patience as it's not very action-packed and can be tedious. Also, once you beat the game, it replays exactly the same, down to every detail. It's a one-player game, though you can save a number of different accounts for different players, and is played mostly using the Wii Nunchuk to direct your character around each level. The graphics are bright and vivid, making it fun to watch.

You may not get a physical workout, but the game is sure to work your brain with puzzles that require completing and deductive reasoning skills needed to find clues and solve mysteries. Parents and teens may get bored with the game, but it's great for younger children who are just beginning to read. The directions are simple and easy to follow, as are hints and clues you receive instructing you on what to do next.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Xbox Live Users Banned By Microsoft

xbox live bannedWith so many illegal downloading sites out there, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to download those couple songs or watch that pirated movie or maybe even download that new game that you don’t feel like paying over $50 for. Well, you may want to reconsider things if this has become a habit of yours.

Giving into the temptation to download pirated games may have just cost over 1 million Xbox Live users the ability to continue to utilize the service. It has been said that Microsoft has banned over 1 million service users due to the fact that they altered their Xbox consoles to be able to play pirated versions of games.

Just this week, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released. Pirated versions of the game had popped up before the game was even released, and it is believed that the developers at Activision might have encouraged Microsoft to initiate the ban.

Although the gamers who have had a ban placed on their Xbox Live service will not be able to play any online games, they still have full capabilities to play any kind of game offline. Microsoft has still not been clear as to whether this ban is permanent or if users will be able to return to Xbox Live later on down the road. They did release a statement saying that their "commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of the Xbox Live community remains a top priority. All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and modifying their Xbox 360 console violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live. We can assure you that if an Xbox Live member follows the Xbox Live terms of use, purchased a retail copy of Modern Warfare 2 and played the game on an unmodified Xbox 360, no action will be taken."

On the Xbox support page, there is now a list of circumstances from the Xbox Live Director of Programming that detail what could cause a user to be banned from Xbox Live.

This new ban set down by Microsoft is not something to be taken lightly. Users could be banned for days, weeks, months, or maybe permanently. This means they won’t be able to go online at all. So before doing something that you think could be considered questionable, you might want to consult the Xbox Live Terms of Use instead of waking up to find yourself banned from Xbox Live forever.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The Biggest Loser" for Wii Review

Last month, THQ released "The Biggest Loser" for Nintendo's Wii. Following the success of the Wii Fit, exercise and fitness games are becoming increasingly popular. Combine that excitement with one of the most popular shows on television, one that has motivated millions of people across the country to get up and get fit and live healthier lifestyles. So, is "The Biggest Loser" game as motivational as the show? Is it sure to become the next Wii fit? Let's take a look.

To begin the game, you have to create your own personal fitness program. After creating your own persona, you choose which contestant from the show you are most like and then you can decide if you'd rather work with Bob or Jillian, the show's two trainers. Next you'll decide what you'd like to gain from your fitness program. Are you looking to lose a little weight or are wanting an educational game that will lead you to a healthier lifestyle?

After setting up your profile, the game takes you to your homepage where you can see how many calories you're allowed per day. There is also a place for tracking how many calories you've already consumed. Keeping track of calories for weight loss is one of the game's high points. The game also provides you with a number of recipes that are varied to your taste and lifestyle.

You can also take part in a variety of exercises using the Wii Balance Board. Depending on how well you do, you will earn points, much like you do in other Wii fitness games. But in the end, it seems as though the game is more efficient at helping you maintain your fitness program, verses allowing you to use it as a tool for working out.

The game excels at education, but as far as actual exercise, you'll probably be pretty disappointed. If you really want to lose weight, you're not going to do it with this game alone. However, if you are just starting out, this game will compliment your fitness regimen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guitar Hero World Tour on Major Sale at Walmart

guitar hero world tourWalmart has just recently announced a sale that should definitely spark some interest in the gaming community. Guitar Hero World Tour Band Kit for XBOX 360 has just dropped from the original price of $199 to $79.99, a savings of $119.01. This deal absolutely shocked me and made me want to run out and grab one. The kit includes the game software, a wireless mic, the wireless drum set, and a wireless guitar.

Guitar Hero World Tour is following the footsteps of many other games that have been available since the outbreak of band centered games. It does a great job of fixing any of the issues you might have faced with the previous Guitar Hero games and makes sure to feature things that make it stand out from any of the Rock Band games.

One aspect of Guitar Hero that is awesome is the ability to extensively customize your avatar and guitar. Not only can you choose hairstyles and clothing, but also you can go so far as to change the angle of their chin or the size of their skull. You are also given the ability to choose the dances that your character does before and after the game. All of these customization give you the ability to really create an avatar with personality. You can also customize your guitar is various ways from the body to the color to the strings.

Now one of the things that I always consider when I’m looking at all these band games is the songs that they feature. So, I included a complete song list from Guitar Hero World Tour.

* 311 - “Beautiful Disaster”
* 30 Seconds To Mars - “The Kill”
* Airbourne - “Too Much Too Young”
* The Allman Brothers Band - “Ramblin' Man”
* Anouk - “Good God”
* The Answer - “Never Too Late”
* At The Drive-In - “One Armed Scissor”
* Beastie Boys - “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
* Beatsteaks - “Hail to the Freaks”
* Billy Idol - “Rebel Yell”
* Black Label Society - “Stillborn”
* Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - “Weapon of Choice”
* blink-182 - “Dammit”
* Blondie - “One Way or Another”
* Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - “Hollywood Nights”
* Bon Jovi - “Livin’ On A Prayer”
* Bullet For My Valentine - “Scream Aim Fire”
* Coldplay - “Shiver”
* Creedence Clearwater Revival - “Up Around The Bend”
* The Cult - “Love Removal Machine”
* Dinosaur Jr. - “Feel The Pain”
* The Doors - “Love Me Two Times”
* Dream Theater - “Pull Me Under”
* The Eagles - “Hotel California”
* The Enemy - “Aggro”
* Filter - “Hey Man, Nice Shot”
* Fleetwood Mac - “Go Your Own Way”
* Foo Fighters - “Everlong”
* The Guess Who - “American Woman”
* Hush Puppies - “You're Gonna Say Yeah!”
* Interpol - “Obstacle 1”
* Jane's Addiction - “Mountain Song”
* Jimi Hendrix - “Purple Haze (Live)”
* Jimi Hendrix - “The Wind Cries Mary”
* Jimmy Eat World - “The Middle”
* Joe Satriani - “Satch Boogie”
* Kent - “Vinternoll2”
* Korn - “Freak On A Leash”
* Lacuna Coil - “Our Truth”
* Lenny Kravitz - “Are You Gonna Go My Way”
* Linkin Park - “What I've Done”
* The Living End - “Prisoner of Society”
* Los Lobos - “La Bamba”
* Lost Prophets - “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)”
* Lynyrd Skynyrd - “Sweet Home Alabama (Live)”
* Mars Volta - “L'Via L'Viaquez”
* MC5’s Wayne Kramer - “Kick Out The Jams”
* Metallica - “Trapped Under Ice”
* Michael Jackson - “Beat It”
* Modest Mouse - “Float On”
* Motörhead - “Overkill”
* Muse - “Assassin”
* Negramaro - “Nuvole e Lenzuola”
* Nirvana - “About a Girl (Unplugged)”
* No Doubt - “Spiderwebs”
* NOFX - “Soul Doubt”
* Oasis - “Some Might Say”
* Ozzy Osbourne - “Crazy Train”
* Ozzy Osbourne - “Mr. Crowley”
* Paramore - “Misery Business”
* Pat Benatar - “Heartbreaker”
* R.E.M. - “The One I Love”
* Radio Futura - “Escuela De Calor”
* Rise Against - “Re-Education Through Labor”
* Sex Pistols - “Pretty Vacant”
* Silversun Pickups - “Lazy Eye”
* Smashing Pumpkins - “Today”
* Steely Dan - “Do It Again”
* Steve Miller Band - “The Joker”
* Sting - “Demolition Man (Live)”
* The Stone Roses - “Love Spreads”
* Stuck In The Sound - “Toy Boy”
* Sublime - “Santeria”
* Survivor - “Eye of the Tiger”
* System of a Down - “B.Y.O.B.”
* Ted Nugent - “Stranglehold”
* Ted Nugent’s Original Guitar Duel Recording
* Tokio Hotel - “Monsoon”
* Tool - “Parabola”
* Tool - “Schism”
* Tool - “Vicarious”
* Trust - “Antisocial”
* Van Halen - “Hot For Teacher”
* Willie Nelson - “On The Road Again”
* Wings - “Band on the Run”
* Zakk Wylde’s Original Guitar Duel Recording

The gameplay is basically the same as the other Guitar Hero games and includes all the original levels of difficulty. Although this game was released over a year ago, Guitar Hero World Tour is a fun game for all and at Walmart’s new low price I think it would make a great Christmas present for any band-loving gamer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tony Hawk RIDE Uses Realistic Skateboard

Tony Hawk: RIDE Coming Soon

On November 17, 2009, Tony Hawk: Ride (the tenth game in the Tony Hawk Franchise) will be released in North America for Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. Players will be able to use the new skateboard peripheral that comes with the game as though they are actually riding a skateboard. It is shaped like a real skateboard, only slightly smaller, and has infrared sensors, which help detect motion. Players will be able to turn, lean, hop, and perform other actions that will appear realistically in the game. The controller takes four AA batteries.

This will be the first hands-free game in the popular Tony Hawk series. Tony Hawk Pro Skater was released in 1999 and since then, the franchise has made over $1.1 billion in sales. Eletronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst, Jesse Divinich says the game will not just attract Tony Hawk fans, but new gamers as well, "By adding the peripheral, you open yourself up to a broader consumer base. Look at Wii Fit.

The game will feature the following pro skaters: Tony Hawk, Mike Vallely, Cara-Beth Burnside, Stevie Williams, Rodney Mullen, Christian Hosoi, Daewon Song, Dustin Dollin, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, Steve Nesser, Nyjah Huston, Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez Jr., Alex Olson and Mike Mo Capaldi. Players will have the opportunity to play levels in Southern California, Chicago, New York City, Tokyo, Spain, and Frankfurt, Germany and participate in speed races, trick competitions and half pipe performances.

In a statement, Hawk, himself, said of the game, "This is the game I've always wanted to make. Playing on the board is unlike any other game, and I'm excited for everyone to have the chance to feel what it's really like to experience the true feeling of skateboarding."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More on The Dark Side of Disney's Mickey Mouse

epic mickeyMickey Mouse is the symbol of Disney’s happy-go-lucky, dream-filled company. The Mickey that we have known has been helpful, funny, and happy, but this is not always how the beloved mouse has behaved. Back in 1928 when Mickey was introduced to the world, he was not a very well behaved mouse. Today, one of the most well known video game designers would like to hone in on that darker side of Disney’s ever popular character.

The Deus Ex franchise is currently developing a new game called Disney’s Epic Mickey that will explore a side of Mickey that many of us have never seen. Warren Spector, the game’s designer is excited with the chance to “re-imagine” Mickey Mouse.

The expected release date for Disney’s Epic Mickey is fall 2010. The adventure-platform game will be created exclusively for Nintendo’s Wii. The story of the game will focus on a world created by the sorcerer from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and contain a series of forgotten Disney creations and characters. Oswald, who was one of the earliest character created by Walt Disney, is one of these lost characters. In the game, Oswald becomes jealous of Mickey’s exploding success, so Mickey demolishes Oswald’s comfort zone within the cartoon wasteland. After his outburst, Mickey is forced to face the consequences of what he has done.

Although this may seem rather dark for our favorite cartoon mouse, we are still reminded throughout the game that our hero Mickey is a mouse who solves problems by changing the world around him and positively interacting with the people and places he comes into contact with.

epic mickey 2Spector started up his company, Junction Point, in 2005. Disney quickly bought the company and commissioned Spector to start on the Mickey Mouse game. He was thrilled to work with Disney because he has been a fan of them all his life and admits to being an animation freak. When Disney first approached Spector with the idea of a Mickey Mouse game, he immediately told them that he wasn’t into designing games for kids. Disney was quick to explain that they were going for a whole new kind of Mickey that would appeal to a different kind of gaming crowd. On hearing this, Spector was in.

Spector says that he hopes that this game will reinvent people’s perception of the much-loved mouse. He hopes that he will now not only be a cuddly adorable character that children around the world love, but also a hero that teens and adults can appreciate. Mickey will now be able to go back to his more mischievous side with this new game but while still learning from any mistakes that he might make. After saying this, Spector makes sure to clarify that they are not making Mickey evil by sticking a sword or gun in his hand. He is simply able to make mistakes.

I personally am very intrigued by this new idea that Disney is developing. The thought of a new kind of Mickey Mouse is something that certainly has caught my attention. I can’t wait to hear more about this game and eventually give it a try. Epic Mickey definitely sounds like a game that will be worth looking more into.

Monday, November 2, 2009

DJ Hero

DJ HeroWe have all lived the life of a guitar hero and even a band hero but now we can add one more hero title to our repertoire, being a DJ hero. We've all been to the dance club and seen the DJ up in his mysterious box magically making insane beats for us to dance to and many of us have wondered just exactly what goes on up there. Well thanks to Activision we can now live the life of a DJ and see just exactly what it is they do.

DJ Hero takes a more simple approach to Activision's hero line. In this game you scratch your way through different tiers of songs in order to unlock new mixes, different characters and special costumes which are won by how many stars you get on your song, just like Guitar Hero. Aside from all the unlockables, DJ Hero focuses mainly on music. Gamers have always been fascinated by the track lists on all the different Guitar Hero games but DJ Hero has one of the uniquest set of songs seen in any music game. The only type of songs missing from this game are country songs, but I don't see that being a problem for anybody interested in this game.

The massive track list is comprised of 102 licensed songs but the best part is that these songs have been mashed up to create 93 mash-up songs that are 100% unique to this game. The mash-ups themselves are extremely creative. You will see mash-ups like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, 50 Cent and David Bowie or the Beastie Boys with Blondie. The in-house DJs at Freestyle Games, developers of DJ Hero, created most of the mixes themselves although a lot of mixes were created by famous DJs like DJ Shadow and Grandmaster Flash.

The visuals of the game are also very impressive. In the Guitar Hero games you were treated to close ups of the band members on stage and the occasional crowd shot. However, in DJ Hero, you get sweeping, dynamic camera shots of the club goers dancing around and close ups of the DJs scratching away. One of the best features about the more recent Guitar Hero games was the ability to create your own rock star. Yet in DJ Hero the ability to create your own DJ isn't an added feature meaning you won't be able to create an animated version of yourself to throw in the club and scratch the turntables with. The good news is that there are a ton of characters that you can unlock and play as like DJ superstars Z-Trip and Daft Punk.

Considering this game is about DJs and turntables, that means there is a new peripheral you will have to master and that comes in the form of the turntable. The turntable comes in two parts. The first is the record scratching side which is essentially a rotating circle that resembles a record with three colored face buttons on it that resemble those on the Guitar Hero controller. The second part of the controller includes the cross fader, effects knob, euphoria button (which acts as DJ Hero's star power) and the basic native buttons for whichever system you have the game for. Unlike some of the Guitar Hero controllers, the turntable peripheral feels very sturdy and is very fun to use. Granted, the controller will seem weird to you at first, especially if you have never set your sweaty hands on an actual turntable before. But the good news is that Grandmaster Flash helps you through a nice tutorial so you can get the hang of it. Plus the "beginner" and "easy" difficulty levels live up to their names.

One feature in the game that will help more inexperienced players is the ability to never fail a song. That's right, instead of failing the sound just cuts out and you don't earn as many stars which is all the punishment you will receive. One thing that DJ Hero doesn't have is a practice mode. In the Guitar Hero games, you could always go into a practice mode and slow down portions of the song to practice the particularly difficult parts. Some of the songs are hard and you will wish that you had a slowed down practice mode as you get deeper into the track list.

Just as in Guitar Hero, DJ Hero has it's own version of Star Power which it calls Euphoria. You earn Euphoria the exact same way you earn Star Power, by perfectly hitting every note in a string of glowing notes. Once you enter Euphoria, your score multiplyer doubles and the cross fader goes on automatic, switching for you. If you want to drive your score up even more then you will have to use the effects dial to tweak the sounds during special Effect Zones which adds a personal touch to every song.

This game appeals to all levels of gamers. The easy difficulties and earlier songs appeal to those of you who aren't as handy with fake instruments to jump in and play and the more advanced tracks, especially on the expert difficulty level, will test even the most hard core rhythm gamer. If you are adept at Guitar Hero or Rock Band then you will most likely get the hang of this game pretty quick.

There is a multiplayer mode in DJ Hero. You can hook up dual turntables and scratch it out with a buddy or you can link in a guitar as your second controller allowing you to scratch and mix it up while your friend rocks out. with the concept of playing rock music on a guitar is getting old for some gamers, DJ Hero offers up something refreshing an original. The simple concept of the game will appeal top more gamers and the developers definitely left some things to be desired for a sequel. DJ Hero is definitely a game you will be wanting to try this year. While the game itself is pricey, coming in at $120 for the game and turntable peripheral, it may be worth it. DJ Hero is now available in stores for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii.

Source: IGN