In a world with multiple Guitar Hero releases a year and store shelves flooded with plastic guitars and drums it’s hard to stand out. DJ Hero is FreeStyleGames’s attempt at gaining some of the market share with something unique. DJ Hero is like playing Guitar Hero for the first time back in 2005, it’s something you just have to experience.
DJ Hero combines over 100 songs into 93 original mixes from famous artists like Jay-Z, Eminem, Daft Punk, The Killers, Gwen Stefani, Beastie Boys, Queen, 2Pac, and dozens more. The number of songs is larger than any Guitar Hero game has had to date by comparison and offers something for everyone. The game also uses its own turntable peripheral for play. The turntable is very well built and has a variety of functions.
Unlike the guitars, the turntable has only three buttons for playing the music. The green and blue buttons are used to play the songs in the mix while the red middle button is used to add sound effects during certain portions of the song. Instead of a note chart down the middle of the screen the notes come at an angle on a spinning record. You can see just as far ahead as you could on Guitar Hero but this style is more fitting of the instrument. You tap the corresponding button to play individual notes or hold it down for scratches while moving the turntable. Connected to the turntable is a portion with all of your effects. You have you crossfader which is a slider used during play to focus on one song and quiet the other. The crossfader feels a little too loose; at least from the perspective of someone who isn’t a DJ, but once you get the hang of it there won’t be a problem. You also have you effects dial which acts as the whammy bar and the Euphoria button which is your star power. Another notable effect is the rewind feature. When you hit a certain number of notes correctly in succession you gain the ability to rewind a small portion of the song and play it again with a double multiplyer which can be a huge boost to your score.
The effects allow the player to interact with the songs more than just pushing buttons. As you progress through the difficulty levels you will be introduced to more effects during songs until finally you are scratching and sliding like a real DJ. DJ Hero also offers an excellent tutorial section that not only helps you nail the basics but introduces you to all of the games many effects in an easy to learn manner. DJ Hero is a game that’s easy to pick up and play for the first time, but will continue to keep experienced players coming back to try and master their techniques.
The presentation is fantastic with flashing lights and crowds of dancers. The game has a variety of venues and offers a very cinematic presentation. The camera is always moving and manages to get the best angles on the action. The crowd acts similarly generic to the Guitar Hero crowds, but with everything going on they won’t be the focus of your attention. Characters all have their own unique actions as you play and it is worth trying them all at least once to see how they all act. There is no character creation but the characters already in the game are good enough that you probably wouldn’t want to make your own.
Just like in Guitar Hero you get stars based on your performance. These stars go toward unlocking new sets, new clothes for your characters, new turntables, and many other unlockables. By then end of your play through you should have almost everything if not everything available to you.
One of DJ Hero’s cooler features is the ability on some songs to add another player with a guitar controller. On these songs a Guitar Hero note chart appears next to the DJ chart and that player jams to the same song. It adds a nice touch to some of the more guitar heavy mixes in the game.
DJ Hero only has two minor flaws. The lack of integration with the Guitar Hero music studio seems like a huge missed opportunity, but at the same time the franchise wants to establish itself separately so it is forgivable. Also as of this review I was not able to connect to any online games. This is most likely due to lacking initial sales but as the game grows in popularity this shouldn’t be a problem.
DJ Hero is a great game that stands on its own in a world of the same old music games. With its stylish presentation, tight controls, and easy to learn gameplay there is no excuse not to try your hand at being a DJ. DJ Hero is the best music game you will play this year, hands down.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Great soundtrack with great mixes, Great peripheral, Flashy and cinematic presentation, Guitar integration, Tons of unlockables, Great party game, Feels unique in a world of music games.
Almost no players online (At the time of review), Integration with the Guitar Hero music studio would have been a great addition.
DJ Hero is simply awesome. If you planned to buy only one peripheral based music game this year, DJ Hero is definitely the right purchase.