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

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