Monday, 14 December 2009

Prez Reviews DJ HERO: II


The theme of this article: Gameplay / Music

While I'm still sifting through applications, I think I'll take some time out to finish my DJ Hero review. Why? The holidays are coming up.

The TL;DR Version

This game is amazing. It's fun, challenging, and appeals to a wide range of people. The price? It might be just a bit too high (88 bucks on Amazon / 190ish for R.E.), but depending on your budget, it's a nice investment. I think it's a must-have for the Christmas list. 9 out of 10.

The Legit Version

Layout - Let's start with the layout of the menus. Everything is very nicely designed, including the urban art all over the place. Picking up and playing the game is a sitch, easier than other "Hero" games which require a few button clicks to get to Quickplay mode. DJ Hero is different, it's almost as if the whole game is Quickplay. To be honest, I'm a huge fan of this new setup.

Songs are groups (3-5 songs) into tracklists, which can be edited (such as removing songs, rearranging, etc.) to meet your needs. Alternative, you can jump right into a Quicklist, where the entire track listing is available for you to select up to 8 tracks. DJ Hero also allows for three custom setlists, which are basically lists of your favorite songs (that you set). I have one set already, with four tracks that I play most. This allows me to turn the game on and jump right in.

Gameplay - I went into this game expecting something too easy. I was wrong, dead wrong. The idiot I am jumped right to hard and promptly "failed." What's unique about DJ Hero is that you don't fail, you just get very few stars unless you do well - so I got 1 star, on an easy song. After a few rounds at Best Buy, I started getting the hang of it, but it was still tough.

While the buttons may be familiar to people, there are two killers in this game, directional scratches, and the crossfader. Both add a completely new twist on the music and rhythm game genre. My eyes were totally used to the single button "taps," but the crossfader was difficult to read. Nothing against the game, it was just hard for me to pick up on. Don't even get me started on the spikes - where you have to quickly "shoot" the crossfader to one side and back.

The scratches were easy (bi-directional), but once the arrows came in, the learning curve got steeper. DJ Hero has two types of scratching, one where it's just a bunch of bidirectional arrows, and you scratch your heart out (not necessarily to the beat), and another where the game tells you to scratch up or down. Scratching is VERY unforgiving, unlike button taps, where you can even tap the button one extra time and almost never get penalized for it.

Overall, this game is a CHALLENGE. Even a master like me is finding it difficult to get 4 stars on Expert (on the first half of the setlist, the other half I play on hard). So if you're looking for a challenge, look no further. DJ Hero is TOUGH.

Music - Do I really need to say anything? The music in this game is so incredible (with the exception of about 4 or 5 mashups). Each mix is enjoyable and does the game mechanics justice. Unlike Guitar Hero - I am so comfortable playing this game because the simulations I am performing are pretty damn close to what actually goes on. Turntablists - do not rage, I am simply saying that some of the motions are pretty spot-on.

If you're like me, you'll see how much better you play the more you like a song. For instance, one of the harder songs, Satisfaction vs. Elements of Life (eugh), is thought to be the second hardest song in the game. On my first attempt on expert, I 5-starred the thing with ease. Why? Because I got into it. On songs that are just terrible, Jackson 5 vs. Third Eye Blind, I can't get 4 stars simply because I can't get into it. I'm sorry, but that mashup is bad.

But overall, the music is incredible, and makes the game worth it.

Recap - I liked this game, a lot. I really really do. I think it's a nice spin, hehe, on rhythm games in general. It's extremely polished - more so than the first guitar hero, and TOTALLY leaves room for sequels to come. While I haven't yet tried the DLC, I've heard good things.

Let's talk about the price. The normal edition of DJ Hero is available for $120 USD in stores, but you can find it on amazon for 88 bucks. Renegade Edition is $200 USB retail, or about 170-180 online. It's a little on the expensive side, but my first DJ Hero post explains why the Renegade Edition is so great.

All in all, ask this game for your winter holiday. It will make a fantastic addition to anyone's Christmas list. And a word of advice for those buying for children, this game was enjoyed greatly by young cousins.

So what does this game get? A solid 9/10 (so close to 9.5). The gameplay is fun, addicting, and the music is fantastic. Setbacks? The price is a bit high, and I have found that the game is quite time consuming at times, because sets can take up to 20 minutes a piece.

So that's my DJ Hero review, I hope you enjoyed it. And if you (or your company) would like to send us a product to review, contact me at and we'll set something up.

Now get scratching,

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