Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Review | DJ Hero

DJ Hero is the latest instalment in the ‘Hero’ series coming after the extremely popular Guitar Hero series. Countless gamers have got on their knees and shredded the solo to ‘rock you like a hurricane’ or is that just me? These games may just look like a ‘tatty bit of plastic’ or a ‘cheap imitation of the real thing’ but they work so well. If you’re looking to become a world class DJ then this game will most probably get you nowhere but if you’re looking for fun and the greatest music rhythm game to date then this is for you. The game comes in two versions; regular or renegade edition. The advantages of purchasing the renegade edition come in a double disc CD of unreleased Jay-Z and Eminem tracks, a cool carry case and a better looking/feeling peripheral.

The case is a sturdy and realistic representation of the cases DJ’s use to transport their gear from gig to gig. The peripheral itself is about the size of a single CD deck, around 8” long and 5” wide. The deck feels really smooth and well built. The deck has three colour-coded buttons that you use to press, scratch and mix during gameplay. The effects mixer clips onto the side of your deck and is compatible for right and left handed participants: this includes a sample dial, a ‘euphoria’ button, the mixer (that you use to flick from one track to the other) and your console buttons hidden conveniently in a disguised compartment.

The gameplay uses a similar mechanic to the Guitar Hero series. You have three colour coded areas in which icons fall into accordingly. You must, hit, scratch, twist and flick the buttons when the matching colours on screen collide (and no this is not a Bop It rip off). A very excited sounding Grand Master Flash will talk you through the opening tutorials. These include the scratching mechanic, the mixer and the euphoria button (DJ hero’s answer to star power) which are all fairly self explanatory and simple to use when you get the hang of it. There are 5 difficulties; Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. If you are a beginner don’t play as a beginner, this mode is slow and is harder to play than the medium mode. Almost everyone that plays this game will move straight to medium. Above medium the difficulty soars, giving the player a wide range of choices in how they want to play the game according to their skill. The game includes all the expected ‘hero’ features such as; changeable characters, decks, headphones and locations. Unlocking hero features is achieved using a currency of stars; you earn stars by completing songs with high scores earning a maximum of 5 stars per song. I was relieved find that you can’t be ridiculed and booed off stage anymore. Thank you Freestyle Games. Instead, if you achieve a bad score you simply won’t get enough stars to unlock some of the cool stuff the game has to offer. The only downside to this is that you don’t just play single songs but ‘set lists’ consisting of 2-5 songs, so if you gain a bad score you will have to start from the beginning of the set list.

Undoubtedly the star if the game is the music. With over 100 songs included on the disc provided there’s a great diversity with artists including Queen, Dizzee Rascal,DJ Shadow, Z-Trip, DJ AM, Cut Chemist, J.Period, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Daft Punk all took part in making this memorable soundtrack. There are also exclusive ‘mashups’ will keep you busy for months to come.

DJ Hero didn't sell well in late 2009, but it's a hidden gem you need to experience. DJ Hero is available on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

Ben Metcalfe
CeX Manchester Arndale
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