News: DJ Hero is back for another spin!

Music games are always a little hit and miss. From the early days of PaRappa the Rapper or Rez (or Kris Kross: Make my Video Clip for those old school cats), all the way up to current gen super titles like your Guitar Hero’s or Rock bands. You either love them or hate them, and DJ Hero is definitely one of those titles. Personally I loved it. I still pull it out on occasion and scratch some make believe vinyl. Sure, it had its flaws and only appeals to a niche market, but what it did it did well. With DJ Hero 2 now announced, the franchise has been given another chance to shine. I set out to see what improvements the new game will throw into the mix.

Didn’t Play the first game?

Ok then, a quick recap. Similar in style to the Guitar Hero series, notes come down, hit them to gain points and hit lots to beat the song. Where the game differed from its guitar counterpart is that there are three buttons not five. This leads fans of GH to believe that the game was easier, and this was definitely not the case. Once you add in a crossfader and scratching, the game will give any good GH fan boy a run for their money. This, combined with an awesome selection of songs and a decent play through time made it a worthwhile purchase.

What about the tracks?

As you would expect, the big guns show up, with cameos and characters like Tiesto, Deadma5, David Guetta, DJ Qbert and more…

As for songs, the list is amazing, here are a few killer picks:

·         2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman – “California Love Remix”

·         50 Cent – “In Da Club”

·         Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force – “Planet Rock”

·         Basement Jaxx – “Where’s Your Head At”

·         Calvin Harris – “I’m Not Alone”

·         Daft Punk – “Human After All”

·         Damian Marley – “Welcome To Jamrock”

·         David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi – “Memories”

·         Deadmau5 – “Ghosts N Stuff”

·         Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden – “Bonkers”

·         DJ Qbert – “Super Battle Breaks”

·         DJ Shadow – “Midnight In A Perfect World”

·         DJ Shadow feat. Q-Tip and Lateef The Truth Speaker – “Enuff (DJ Fresh Remix)”

·         Eminem – “Not Afraid”

·         Estelle feat. Kanye West – “American Boy”

·         Flo Rida – “Low”

·         Gorillaz feat. Mos Def & Bobby Womack – “Stylo”

·         House Of Pain – “Jump Around”

·         Kanye West – “Heartless”

·         Kool & The Gang – “Jungle Boogie”

·         Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis – “Just Dance”

·         Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz feat. Ying Yang Twins – “Get Low”

·         Lil’ Wayne feat. Static Major – “Lollipop”

·         M.I.A. – “Galang”

·         M|A|R|R|S – “Pump Up The Volume”

·         Missy Elliott – “Get Ur Freak On”

·         Nas feat. Keri Hilson – “Hero”

·         Naughty By Nature – “O.P.P.”

·         Nelly – “Hot In Herre”

·         New Order – “Blue Monday”

·         Salt N Pepa – “Push It”

·         Sean Paul – “Get Busy”

·         Stevie Wonder – “Superstition”

·         Talib Kweli – “Get By”

·         The Chemical Brothers – “Leave Home”

·         The Chemical Brothers feat. Q-Tip – “Galvanize”

·         The Crystal Method – “Busy Child (Still Busy After All These Years Remix)”

·         The Jackson 5 – “ABC”

·         The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Mase & Diddy – “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”

·         The Prodigy – “Omen”

·         The Prodigy – “Firestarter”

·         Warren G feat. Nate Dogg – “Regulate”

So, whats new?

Got two turntables and a microphone?
DJ Hero 2 allows two DJ’s to scratch, fade and sample together while a third (probably drunk) player can belt out vocals over the top..

Look ma no hands!
As we have seen in the latest additions of Guitar Hero, party play has been added for those people that want to use it. The party play mode allows players to leave the game running to decide what music to play, then jump in and out effortlessly without any pausing or returning to menus.

Who’s the Masta?
Probably my favourite new feature of DJ Hero 2 is having the ability to do battle on the wheels of steel. This was what was really lacking in the first game. The multiplayer was a weak element for me and the sequel has fixed that, and then some! There are four new modes:

Checkpoints: This is about winning sections of a song as opposed to the whole track. You do battle for the highest score per section, with the winner of each checkpoint getting a point, and most points wins. Simple.

Accumulator: Like checkpoint, but when its your turn you are building on the score from your previous turn. Highest score wins.

Streakers: Think you’ve got skills? Try holding a perfect run for as long as you can. Once you miss a  beat, it becomes your opponent’s turn to beat your score and push the streak higher, with the player with the highest streak at the end of the song winning.

Battle mode:  This is for the old school vinyl pushers. Players get a section then your opponent is given a chance to out do you and so on. It looks like a hoot as players can do things like rewind a section and leave their friends waiting as you redo a part of the song gaining huge points and all they can do is sit and glare.

Break it down

In the spirit of Rock Band, players can now change how a song plays with all new Freestyle sections,  letting you use all the game’s controls (scratching, cross-fading and sampling) to create your own unique sound.

Rule the world!

Another huge step forward  is Empire Mode. Players can now use this mode to get a slice of the life of a DJ superstar (drugs and models not included). Along the way characters will build up a range of perks and rewards, choose a logo and watch your name grow from a faded poster on a street corner to permanent fixtures hanging from club walls, rising from a small time warehouse DJ all the way up to owning your own club.

Oh and there’s this...
If anyone actually cares you can star as your own Xbox LIVE Avatar in any game mode.

People can call me on this if they want, but Guitar Hero didn’t really hit stride until the second game and I am getting the same feeling here too. Many people played DJ Hero and found it lacking in some departments and this may be the series chance at redemption. DJ Hero has a lot of potential and with music games feeling very samey at the moment, this breath of fresh air may be exactly what the industry needs. So dust off your old controller, practice looking like a tool and get ready to wicky-wicky your way to stardom!

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