DJ Hero Review
Developer: Freestyle Games
Date of North American Release: October 27th
Date of Asian Release: October 28th
Date of European Release: October 29th
DJ Hero is a great new addition to the "Hero" franchise. Before this year the games were made for rock or metal fans and there wasn't too much variety. But with the release of DJ Hero Activision have broadened their market by bringing in music straight from the streets. The one worry I had with this is that I (Although having quite a varied taste in music) wouldn't enjoy it as much due to the song choices, but they've been very smart with the set list.
There are many different songs to suit most people, there is a large amount of mainstream chart songs from the past 5 years, slightly mainstream dance and hip-hop songs and then some out and out dance classics. And even when you're made to play mixes that you don't know, they're still brilliant. And the majority of mixes are well known songs mixed with songs not under the mainstream radar.
The game basically uses the guitar hero gameplay we all love and mixes it up with a new instrument and genre!
So when you start the game up you go through the basic tutorials etc, and get to grips with the decks. This just gives you lessons and an overview of the magic that is DJ Hero. You'll find yourself gripped into the songs, every scratch you'll want to make your own, every button press you'll NEED to hit just to keep your excellent music going.
Star power is back (Almost) and is now called euphoria. Again it's just play a sequence 100% correct and unlock euphoria (Which quite nicely makes the euphoria button flash red) and make your multiplier double. Then when you've learn't when and where to place your euphoria, there are rewinds. This is one of my favorite features of DJ Hero, like euphoria you'll get it for playing well, and when you unlock it you must spin the deck 360 degrees (Or 720 if you're daring!) and this replays the part of the song you just played, and after using this you'll learn how to use it to your advantage even more, and play some awesome rewind sections. Using these two features together will get you some massive points racked up.
Just from looking at the decks you might think it's much easier than guitar hero, with 3 buttons not 5, but you also have the slider. This is used to switch tracks when the highway tells you too and prompts some great musical moments. The songs seem to all have a similar layout of: Mixed songs, then verse 1 mainly one song, mixed chorus, verse 2 mainly the other song, mixed chorus again and then a mixed outro. But this works really well and the slider enhances all sections.
The button presses will seem easier to those who've played guitar hero. Green plays a sound related to track one, red plays a sound effect used in either song and blue plays a sound related to track two. But scratching is where the fun's at. Most songs feature normal scratching sections that fit to the music, but other songs really enhance this feature. The first Dizzee Rascal mix you play has these excellent scratching sections, and you scratch your way through the chorus and it just sounds great!
The single player will be the main feature you'll be using. It starts off with the tutorials mentioned earlier, which are commentated by the one and only Grand Master Flash. His voice over fits in well and it gently eases you into the groove of things. The advanced tutorials show you how difficult it CAN get, by showing off some of the features found on hard and expert modes.
After the tutorials it drops you into the set-lists, which as always start off easier. You'll find yourself playing mainly songs you will of heard before and this makes it easier on the person playing. As you progress through the set-lists you'll start to see some of the mainstream songs vanishing and the likes of cypress hill, beastie boys and various different dj's replace the likes of blondie, gorillaz and the jackson 5.
You also have the party play mode which is basically you and an opponent battling against each other in the true Hero franchise style. And then you've got your custom set lists where you choose which mixes you want to play etc. And then there's online play...
The online play is good in its own way, but it's not a massive feature. There's only the one game mode which is playing songs with another player, and you can only play dj vs dj. Not some bad-ass guitar/dj vs guitar/dj! The only real options you have is to change if you want to host or join another game, when hosting you can only choose songs you've unlocked yourself. And again the lack of variation brings it down a bit.
But the one mode that there is online runs really well. In the games I've played it ran perfectly smooth, which is needed in a rhythm based game, and it felt like I was just playing a normal song on my own. That's what the problem is, it just feels like you're playing on your own and there's no feel of competition. When you're hosting you can choose the set list like in singleplayer, and the only options you can change are the same as in singleplayer.
This is possibly where most of the time has been spent on the game, everything looks and feels so polished. The highway is full of rich blues greens and reds and looks almost as perfect as it possibly could. The backgrounds are good too, but not brilliant. There's often a lot going off and it can be off putting at times, when there's strobes and people jumping up and down and all sorts going off. The crowd certainly haven't been worked on, which is a shame when guitar hero 5's crowd looked really good! But from a spectators view (Minus the crowd) everything looks great!
The sounds are, as expected, as good as it gets. The songs fit perfectly well and they've spent some time getting a good mix of well known songs mixed with some oldies and some not so well known. And then a decent amount of mixes that work well for the budding dj's out there, but again the crowd lets the game down a little bit, as they never really seem to get into it and there's only a slight amount of noise from them. There is never a drop in frame rate which again is vital in this kind of game. No glitches etc. found by myself and it feels like they've really checked over every aspect. The menu is great too with every set list having its own cool name and vinyl cover!
Gameplay: 9/10 Brilliant
Singleplayer: 8.5/10 Superb
Multiplayer: 7.9/10 Good
Technical: 9/10 Brilliant
Overall: 8.8/10 Brilliant
Overall it's one of the most fun games out there, and surprisingly fits the sociable party game scene that the hero franchise seems to of made for itself. Only some flaws bring the rating down and to me it feels like it's only this good because it's the first, and if they make a sequel I can't see it having the same impact or effect.