DJ Hero

Review

posted 11/16/2009 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: 360
There are actually a few things that can happen if you achieve long streaks. On the areas that are marked, you can earn euphoria when playing that area perfectly. Euphoria will double the multiplier that you currently have when activated just like star power in Guitar Hero. Also, playing a good enough streak will earn you the ability to rewind the song. When this happens, just spin the record back 360 degrees and the game will rewind a small portion of the track to be played again. Using this is in an area where there are a lot of actions can earn you a lot of points so you have to use some strategy on when to activate this. It's actually pretty fun to do a quick spin around, catch the turn table with the buttons on your finger tips and replay the track portion again.

The harder difficulties put in more actions such as the crossfader spikes and directional scratching as well as speeding up the highway. There's a nice beginner mode that lets you press any button when prompted and do some minor scratching. No matter what difficulty level you choose, you can't fail a song so you're not frustrated in having to restart the song over and over again should you not do well. I personally like this decision as it lets me try various difficulties and experience the whole song rather than just the beginning if I can't seem to get it right. I started out playing on medium but found that too easy and a little boring. It wasn't until I tried Hard on a few songs that I finally got into the groove and felt a little challenged. For me, it's a lot more fun going to the harder difficulty setting even though I might not as a good on it.


One interesting feature is the ability to let the game play itself and in essence be a DJ for your party. Just hold down the euphoria button and the game will go into auto play where you can just listen to the music. It's a nice little feature that some might find useful and fun to just fool around with. Say you just want to chill and listen to a few mixes, just queue up the songs and turn on party mode. Sit back and listen to the music but don't expect any scoring to be made this way.

DJ Hero boasts 93 mixes but the amount of songs do repeat albeit with a different secondary song. Yes, it's different in the way the mixes are but there are some repeat song usage which is a minor disappointment. Still, most of the music is great to listen to with some awesome beats. You can't help but get into the groove when playing the game and I didn't find many that I thought weren’t fun to listen to. Of course, DLC is here to give you more mixes to download in the future but for what you get included in the game, I think there's some great selection of songs to be played on DJ Hero.

Game modes are pretty basic and there's no story mode involved here. You just get venues and a set list to play while trying to achieve as many stars as possible. The stars unlock more DJs, decks, clothing, and other items in the game as well as other venues. It won't take you long to unlock most everything as you can just play on a lower difficulty level, earn five stars, and get all the items available. Yes, you can earn just one star unlike Guitar Hero since you can't fail in DJ Hero and there were a few times I did while trying to get familiar with the song. You can create some playlists as well if there is a certain set you want to save as favorites.


The stars you earn will let you unlock other venues, DJs, decks, and so forth. As you progress through the game, you'll be able to change various aspects of the DJ you choose as your avatar and the equipment he or she utilizes. You can quickly unlock most of it just by going through a lower difficulty and earning the maximum amount of stars so it shouldn't take too much effort to grab all the items available for use.

Multiplayer is pretty basic though when you talk about playing against someone else with a turntable as well. You play the same song, of course, and you each have your own track highway to monitor. The winner is the highest point total after X number of tracks played. But, I was easily able to find a few folks to play online and overall the experience wasn't bad.

There are also a few songs where you can use a guitar to accompany the DJ as well. The screen will split into two where the left side has the DJ Hero highway while the right side has the familiar guitar fret board track. Since a good number of people probably own guitar how, it's a nice little way for another person to get involved without having to buy another turntable. Only a certain number of songs support this feature though so while the selection is limited, it's a nice option to have if a friend wants to join in.

DJ Hero was a game where when I first of it I had some reservations. After playing it though, I think it's a nice change of pace to all the Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands out there. The music is pretty fun to listen to with some great mixes that'll get stuck in your head for a while. The gameplay isn't overly complicated but offers up a good enough challenge on the harder levels and harder songs. Introducing a brand new peripheral, the DJ Hero deck feels solid and the turntable's got a nice feel. I would've liked a little more resistance on the crossfader as I thought it was a bit too loose. I think DJ Hero will get a good following and I found the game to be a nice start to a potential franchise.


B-
An interesting first game in the musical genre that tries something a little different. It's actually a nice little game that can be fun to play. The music's pretty good as well as you play farther in. I liked the controller but there could be some improvements in it.


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