Oh look at this, a music game. At least this one doesn’t have a bunch of copycats. You know, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Band Hero, You Rock Guitar, et cetera, et cetera, all fighting with each other for space on your accessory shelf? Yeah, it gets annoying – because they’re all guitar based games! Well here is the second iteration of something thankfully unique in the music game-genre. Enter DJ Hero 2.
As with any music game, the play doesn’t vary too much once you get started. Up the difficulty and you add another element or note to play (in this case, the complexity just goes through the roof), and you continue to challenge yourself and test your skill. And since this is the second iteration of the game, I can say they made it significantly harder this time around. But for those newbies that haven’t the original DJ Hero, the tutorial the game starts you off with is pretty great. Even if you’ve played other music games, this isn’t exactly the standard guitar controller, so they do a good job of explaining every little detail of the game.
You might think that a tutorial would be unnecessary, given that this thing only has three buttons to start with. Actually, having five (or even six) buttons would’ve been alright. But the way the game gets more complex is through the return of its fader and effects knob. Some very interesting dynamics, especially when coupled with the fact that you’re supposed to move your hand up and down on the turntable as if scratching. Good luck with that. At least they’ve made it so that existing users can reuse the same turntable controller they had from the first game, although that does also mean that Activision hasn’t innovated on the controller at all, so believe it or not, gameplay is essentially the same. (Shocker, right?)
Now of course, these games always come down to one thing: music. If you know the music, this game makes you want to sing, bob your head, and get into it. It really makes you think you can be a DJ (on Easy, anyways). And any game that makes you feel like you can be the character you’re playing is pretty phenomenal stuff. With that said, I didn’t know most of the music. Sure, I recognized some Rihanna, Eminem, and Iyaz, but there were some songs in there that just didn’t appeal to me because I had no idea what the hell they were. And they were mixed with even more obscure songs. Not my thing.
At the end of the day, DJ Hero is fun if you know the songs, and like the mashups. The mixes are done really well, and while I’d like there to be the ability to play through with a bunch more different mixes (for example, being able to pick and choose which tracks get dropped on top of which), I can’t complain considering the usual music games are all exactly the same song over and over again. And how many times can you really play Dani California?
DJ Hero is worth a rent, if you’ve got the original controller. Otherwise, you’re SOL (that’s shit-out-of-luck, by the way), and you’ll just have to buy it. Read up on the set list and see what you like, and if there’s enough there, then buy it. It’s a good game and worth taking a look at.