Activision has yet again brought us a new “Hero” series game, this time venturing away from the guitar, drums, and microphone to bring us DJ Hero. Yes another metal and plastic instrument for are already overcrowded living rooms. There are two versions of the game the regular edition and the Renegade Edition featuring Jay-Z and Eminem.
There are only 2 differences on the hardware that I’ve found so far one being the knobs on the Renegade edition are metal compared to plastic on the regular edition. Secondly the turntable is black and gold compared to black and silver. My only real complaint regarding the turn table is the cross fading mechanism. It is has 3 positions left, center and right. When sliding from right to center or vice versa there isn’t enough of a click to ensure that it is centered. I’ve often lost note streaks because of it. FreeStyleGames even thought of the lefties, you can detach the mixer and place it on the right.
One of the biggest complaints I have had with games Rock Band and Guitar Hero are the tracks. Being in my twenties the music in those games just didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t know 90 percent of the artists. This is one of the single most important reasons I love DJ Hero the set list is fantastic. You have music from Eminem, Jay-Z, N.E.R.D, 2-Pac And 50 Cent mixed by the likes of DJ AM, DJ Grandmaster Flash and DJ Jazzy Jeff. This game is loaded with star power.
Another Hero game means another controller, so half of it is the record platter that contains 3 buttons green, red and blue. The other half is the mixer that includes the cross fader, effects knob , euphoria button (star power) and system control buttons .As the familiar red and blue and as notes come down on the screen you press the button. Scratches involve holding either the green or blue button while moving the platter back or forth, but on harder difficulty you’ll have to follow onscreen arrows that indicate whether to push it forward or pull it back. When you get into the medium, hard and expert settings you add in the cross fader, which you’ll have to push left and right depending on what notes are being played during the song. Think of it this way, when the cross fader is in the middle position music from record 1 and record 2 are being blared through your speakers. Move it to the left and only record 1 is being played, move it to the right and it’s only record 2.
Beginner and easy mode are just like sound, lame and boring. For me this game started to take off once I switched to medium 5 starred all the songs and found my groove. Hard and expert is a challenge and some of the songs really do kick my ass but I’m ok with that since music in this game is incredible. You can hook up a USB microphone and throw shout out’s to your TV, it’s lame but it could be fun at a party. Next time they tried to integrate a co-op mode by having 10 songs that can also be played using a guitar. The guitar and Turntable mode sounds but I really thought it was tacked on instead of being carefully thought out. One small annoyance I have is that you cannot fail a song regardless of how bad you suck, the music will keep playing. This is great if you wanted to just kick it at a party and listen to some great tunes but it’s hard to focus on where you need to improve your skills.
You can go on line, pick a set list and battle other people, I personally didn’t enjoy this mode at all as I could never seem to win a set list.
I hope Activision takes a cue from the fine folks at Harmonix and releases weekly downloadable mash up tracks for us to play. This is only way to prolong the life of this game.
Dj Hero makes a very good debut onto console platforms but FreeStyleGames needs to make a few improvements to the hardware, co-op and potentially a lower price as some people may find the current price tag a little high. At the end of the day this is one of the best music genre games I’ve played.