DJ Hero 2

When the first DJ Hero was released I was one of the sceptics. I thought that there was no way that Club DJing could transfer over to a rhythm game, or at least not in any way which would be fun to either use or watch. I was wrong though, and having bought the game I was engrossed and played it obsessively until I’d finished everything I possibly could.

Now don’t get me wrong there were a few things which, shall we say, missed the mark. The middle tracks ‘freestyle’ elements were somewhat limited and dated, and for me at least, served as more of a comic interlude in proceedings. And the overall experience of scratching, fading and mixing was just that little bit too prescriptive, always producing the same result through every play, but I enjoyed the experience.

So now DJ Hero 2 is here. Are we expecting more banging mixes? A shift in gameplay? More structure? Something special? Well yes actually, all of those things!

If this game was going to work it’d have to be able to bring something fresh to the table, something which would cause those who had forked out for the turntable controller to dust it off, and which would be exiting enough to make those who hadn’t, do so. Whether that be the standard edition or one of the Deadmau5 bundles being put together.

Deadmau5 Bundle

Each Deadmau5/ DJ Hero 2 bundle includes a Deadmau5 T-shirt, a Deadmau5 bag, Deadmau5 Wristband, and a Deadmau5 ceramic figurine collectable. The three bundles, priced accordingly, are:

  • Software Bundle :  DJ Hero software + Deadmau5 merchandise
  • Turntable Bundle : DJ Hero Software  +one (1) turntable + Deadmau5 merchandise
  • Party Bundle : DJ Hero software + two (2) turntables + one (1) microphone + Deadmau5 merchandise

But regardless of the type of purchase what’s actually in there which is going to be worth spending your time on?

When the game starts it asks you a couple of questions – such as if you played the earlier game  – and then takes you through the new features tutorials. These are voiced by Zane Lowe, Radio 1 New Music DJ and club DJ whose passion for music is legendary. When I heard his Kiwi tones from my speakers I was immediately impressed. Zane, you see, is no sell-out and for him to put his name and voice to a product like this was, for me, an immediate indicator that this was going to be something a little different. I got more interested.

The new game features provide those elements which were missing from the first game – the freestyling. There are now sections of the track which are open for you to either cross-fade, scratch and tap in which ever way you like in order to give you some ownership of the sounds coming out of your hi-fi, speakers, or other listening mechanisms. Supporting these new elements is a new scoring system which is separate from, but supports, the tap x multiplier elements we’re now used to. Your freestyle score can provide the difference in battle and challenge matches; if you are on-beat and your freestyling fits with the sound of the track you score better, if you’re just a bit random you won’t score so well.

All of the other gameplay features are present from the first game, and combined with the new freestyle are now much more immersed in the overall creation process of the tracks you’re banging out. The main career mode of the game is now called “Empire” with the idea being that you create your own club brand and expand your reach until you achieve global domination. DJ’s, outfits, turntables and headphones are unlocked as you progress based on your star score – 5 max per mix. I may have missed something in my initial game load but when I dived into my first Empire session I actually thought I’d be playing until I gave up. The first mix in Ibiza is a marathon and there was no discernible break between the separate mixes in the set.

On reflection this is a huge step forward from the first DJ Hero which gave you a polite heads up and time to get yourself sorted out. ‘2’ gets rid of these niceties and throws you into a full on mix set which is much closer to what a real performance would be like.

So there you have it, DJ Hero steps up and adds some crucial elements to the mix (pun intended)! NO WAIT!!!

Didn’t I mention the vocals?

Yes, DJ Hero now includes the vocal performances as playable elements within the game. Okay so we’ve seen this in other games so it’s something we should have expected really, but stop to think for a moment, this is vocals on mixes between two or more tracks. Have you ever tried to sing along with a remix on the radio? All of the words are in the wrong places and they get repeated and chopped up! Well DJ Hero 2 does exactly the same and you have to sing, or rap, along in time and in tune. I think that the word ‘challenging’ has just been re-defined and I can’t wait to see someone in action and pull this off – I sense a lot of practice in a lot of people’s futures!

As with the original there are a healthy spattering of real-life superstar DJs in the game too, one of which has taken his involvement with the game to such a level that he now uses ‘Speed Rail’, a track created for the game, in his live shows supported by a video of his in-game character.

“I’m having a lot of fun playing myself in DJ Hero 2!” says Tiësto “I originally wrote “Speed Rail” for the video game and then started playing the track at my shows. The music video idea came together after I asked Activision to cut together some footage of my character in the game to play on the large video screens I use on tour.  The fan reaction has been amazing, so I decided to go a step further and make it the official “Speed Rail” music video.  It looks really cool!”

If you are interested, the video for Speed Rail can be seen on his Facebook page.

Of the other modes in the game, if you’re into your online play there’s the ability to go head to head with other DJ Heros and there are a slew of achievements for your success in doing so. Local multiplayer is handled in Battle mode where six different modes of play can be chosen and set lists created.


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One response to “DJ Hero 2”

  1. די גיי avatar
    די גיי

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