Preview: We scratch the hell out of DJ Hero 2

The room is dark. Only an occasional laser lights up a crowd, waiting with frantic anticipation for their favorite DJ to take the stage. A dark shape ascends the stage, steps into the light and immediately the crowd screams with excitement. With a headphone to one ear and an expert slide of the crossfader, the room fills with noise and a sea of bodies begin to move in time. Who wouldn’t want that power?

With DJ Hero 2 only weeks away DJs DoGM3At and Ko-zee-ii step correct to battle it out on the wheels of steel and see whether Activision can push this franchise from simple fun to full blown fantasy.After our write up earlier this week, it was a pleasant surprise to get contacted by Activision to see if we wanted some hands on time. As you can imagine veteran scratchers Dave and I jumped at the chance and headed into the city to grab a taste. We arrived on time and after a few teething problems we were at the decks and ready to challenge each other’s manhood.
Straight off the cut, the first major advancement is the style, and it has had a pretty serious revamp. Everything you see has been taken back to the drawing board and brought back crisp and minimalistic. Menus are simple and clear unlike the first game, the single and multiplayer modes are now separate and easy to navigate. This works well for users new to the world of DJ Hero as the last game confused newbies before they even got to play a song.

We had a sample of about 7 mixes in all of the available modes and the songs were all balanced across genres and exceptionally well mixed.  As story mode was still under construction, we headed into multiplayer and prepared to do battle. Out of the five modes we tested, most of the time was spent switching between the Battle mode and Checkpoints. Battle mode has a neat feel to it. The song switches from one DJ to the other allowing each a similar sized chunk of the song to scratch for points. This works really well with the newly implemented ‘freestyle’ sections, where the first DJ to hit the required button gets a chance to either scratch, fade or sample over the track. The other, Checkpoints was where we had the most fun, with myself on hard and Dave on medium, it was a close fight and most games would end with only one or two bars either way.

As time wore on and we came into the last few games, Dave had destroyed me around 14 -1. It seems medium would have been a safer bet and although Dave would leave Activition the DJ Hero, I still maintain that hard means a win by default. [Pfft, whatever excuse you need to help you justify it boyo – Ko-zee-ii]

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