DJ Hero Review

Developer: FreeStyleGames / Publisher: Activision / ESRB: Teen (Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $69.99

On Pay, Rent, or Pass we are checking out the highly anticipated DJ Hero for the Xbox 360. This is the next installment in a long line of music rhythm that have come out over the past few years. The question is… does DJ Hero have enough about it to make it stand out from the rest or is this just another drab overdone music rhythm game?

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Game Play

DJ Hero is a game that allows players to get a taste of what its like to be behind the turntables and be in control of the nights music mixes. DJ Hero is, at its core, just another music rhythm game. Follow the notes and patterns on screen and mimic the actions you see. Pretty simple. But, the big difference in DJ Hero is that the movements are expanded beyond just tapping buttons in time. You will be taking on the role of a DJ, switching between tracks, scratching, and even adding in effects with an effects knob. While none of this is close to what an actual DJ does while mixing it does create a sense that you are making the sounds, scratches, and effects happen and that is a helluva lot of fun. You have the standard multiplier that will continue to rack up points as you complete moves without missing a beat. Eventually you will gain the ability to rewind and try a section of a song over again… if you messed up or just want more points. On top of rewind players will also have access to ecstasy…err I mean euphoria mode which will take care of all the cross fading and doubles your score. The game offers up 5 different modes of difficulty for play. The jump from medium to hard and from hard to expert is way too steep for my tastes and it will definitely take you a while to master this one. DJ Hero has been a little dumbed down in the single player mode… No insane amount of options with this title. Its back to rhythm game basics. Complete songs as best you can to earn stars that unlock more songs, decks, characters, and outfits. Its nice to be introduced to a new series with a core that’s really polished and not over-saturated with a bunch of unnecessary options. One option that’s totally welcome is a mode that allows the game to just play the songs in the game. Having a party and need some background music? This is the perfect solution. The game also offers up multi-player capabilities with the option to spin simultaneously and the option to plug in a Guitar Hero controller and play the guitar portion of certain songs. Both of these are pretty fun but I have a few complaints with multi-player in DJ Hero. You are both spinning the exact same portions of songs it gets a little boring, it doesn’t create a sense of competition. A little more variety in the multi-player would have been a nice addition to the game.

Graphics

Graphics aren’t a huge deal in a game like DJ Hero where the game is more focused around the music itself and not whats on screen. But the graphics that are included in the game are crisp and extremely vibrant, which makes watching this game a real visual delight. This is a plus because this is the type of game you want to play with friends. Obviously it could get a little boring just sitting and watching notes scroll and DJ Hero does a nice job of providing some solid visuals.

Sound

This is where the game really shines. The sounds in DJ Hero are phenomenal. The game sports a huge selection of songs over 100 in fact and then mixes them up in over 90 different mixes. You have a huge amount of great artists from lots of different genres making appearances in the game, names like Daft Punk, Queen, Gwen Stefani, Kid Cudi, Weezer, Tears for Fears and the Black Eyed peas, the game doesn’t lack musical variety. All of the scratches, rewinds and effects all sound extremely authentic and the makes the game feel that much more realistic. The only issue I have with the sound in this game is that some of the songs are a little bit overused. Sure they are mixed with another song, but I mean come on! So many artists out there and you have to remix Rihanna’s Disturbia 3 different ways in the game? Pretty weak but a small gripe considering there are over90 remixes in the game.

Controls

Another completely unique thing about DJ Hero is the controls and the controller that comes packed in with the game. Players have a turntable that has 3 different colored buttons on it as well as a cross-fader an effects knob and a euphoria button that they will use to cover the movements on screen. The controller is feels stable and solid and I never felt like I was going to break it while playing which is good because things can get a little frantic on the higher difficulty levels. The only thing I would change is the cross-fader. Maybe give it a little more force-feedback so its not so easy to slide it from side to side. I would space out and forget what side it was on at times. Again a small complaint for an overall excellently executed controller.

Bottom Line

DJ Hero is a fresh take on a very stale rhythm game genre. The song selection is phenomenal, the controller is fun to use and functional, and the game is just a lot of fun to play whether alone or with a friend. If you are a fan of mixes, DJ’s, or hell just fun addictive gaming… then I would suggest you check out DJ Hero, it’s a pay.

9/10

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