DJ Hero Review: Respect The DJ

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Rhythm based games nowadays are all too familiar with a Guitar Hero game being released every three months and Rock Band DLC every week, the genre needs something new. FreeStyleGames and Activision are hoping to get the party started with DJ Hero, their new DJ rhythm based game. DJ Hero offers you your own plastic turntable and mixer to perform 93 brand new mixes; some of which were mixed by well known DJ’s such as Daft Punk, DJ Shadow, Grandmaster Flash, and more. With huge support from the best DJ’s in the biz and music from all genres; DJ Hero seems to have the recipe for success, but is it worth $120 just to get this party started? What does the video game and hip-hop authority have to say about DJ Hero? Read on and find out.

With the introduction of DJ Hero comes its own peripheral, the turntable and mixer. The turntable itself is fully rotatable for scratching and rewinds, and includes the three stream buttons right on top of the turntable. The button placement can be put on either the left or right side of the turntable, but having the buttons on the right makes it that much harder to play. Having the buttons themselves on top of the turntable might seem like a mistake initially, but as you develop your skill you’ll get used to it. The other half of the hardware is the mixer, which has the crossfader tab, effects dial, and the Euphoria (star power) button. Everything on the mixer works fine except the crossfader, which can take awhile to get used to. The crossfader tab doesn’t click in the middle making it difficult to know whether or not it’s actually in the middle. I’ve noticed while playing, the crossfade tab doesn’t necessarily have to be right in the middle for the game to recognize that. This also takes some getting used too. The entire piece of hardware itself is sturdy, well built, and no heavier than your Guitar Hero peripheral. It’s not a pretty design but it’ll get the job done.

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DJ Hero returns to the simple roots of Guitar Hero single player, earn stars. As you earn stars for each song you complete, setlist, characters, turntables, clothing, and more will be awarded. There’s not really a career mode in DJ Hero. You simply play, do your best, and earn. Although, I would of enjoyed creating my own DJ, but I can’t complain when I get to play as Daft Punk. The only similarity DJ Hero’s gameplay has to Guitar Hero is that you push buttons. Things have changed with the addition of scratching and cross-fading. Scratching is easy enough to do. You simply hold the button, it shows on screen, and scratch on the turntable. Cross-fading for the most part is easy to learn but hard to master. When the fader shifts to the left, move the crossfader tab to the left. Same thing applies for the right side. DJ Hero uses a new and unique way to play and one that mimics what DJ’s do, somewhat. DJ Hero’s difficulty really all depends on which difficulty set you choose. The higher the difficulty the more the game requires you to do.

The one thing DJ Hero was expected to do right was the music and FreeStyleGames succeeds in offering a great soundtrack. The 93 mixes in DJ Hero are made up of 2 songs ranging from several genres of music like hip-hop, dance, pop, r&b, rock, and more. There’s so much variety in the music that it’ll be really easy to find something you like. Even the in-house DJ’s at FreeStyleGames did a great job with their mixes, as well as the more well known faces like Z-trip, Cut Chemist, DJ AM, etc. The only fault some of the music has is that there’s a couple of overused songs such as “Disturbia” by Rihanna and “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. It really gets old when you have to hear Gwen Stefani proclaim that “This shit is bananas” in every mix that the track is featured on. If anything songs should be used only twice, once for the beat and once for the vocals.

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One of the great things about rhythm based games is the fact that you can play with a group of friends. DJ Hero will catch your friends eyes, but you won’t find the same amount of fun like you do in other rhythm based games since DJ Hero is essentially a single player game. You can do local two player battles, but the only way to get another turntable peripheral at the time being is to buy another $120 set. You can also play 10 mixes by using your guitar. It works identical to Guitar Hero, but it really feels out of place for this game. If none of that interest you then you can battle it out online, although the game lacks multiplayer modes. All it has now is DJ Vs. DJ, who can get the better score. I don’t have any suggestions though, so for now DJ Vs. DJ is all I need.

DJ Hero probably won’t make you want to become real DJ, but playing one is fun. The $120 price tag might be something to consider if you’re low on cash, but if you’re even remotely interested in the DJ Hero experience the price point is an afterthought. DJ Hero lacks a few modes here and there, but the music and the new gameplay experience overshadows the negative. Activision, you have something great here with potential to grow, but I don’t want to see DJ Hero 2 in a couple months. Overall, the video game and hip-hop authority approves DJ Hero. Go buy it if your money is straight. Hell, Wii might even hook you up. *wink*

DJ Hero
missing value! %
  • Graphics
  • Gameplay
  • Sound
  • Value
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