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Monday | September 24, 2018
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DJ Hero (PS3 & X360)

DJ Hero (PS3 & X360)

Have you got room in your house for another plastic instrument? If so then this might appeal to you because Activision have just released yet another “hero” based game – DJ Hero. You forgo the guitar gymnastics for something which surprisingly ends up as one of the freshest games so far this year.

DJ Hero heads back to a time before world tours and screaming groupies and you work your way through various lists of tracks to unlock new mixes and characters and even costumes. No longer will you be forced to have guitar duels with Slash but instead you focus completely on the music, which is very good indeed. DJ Hero has a strong track list and we are sure that there will be something in this to appeal to everyone, well except for maybe Metallica fans.

There are 102 licensed tracks in total and they have been merged to create 93 original tracks that are exclusive to this game. You get Blondie mixed up with the Beastie Boys and even MC Hammer gets a remix with Vanilla Ice, rather improbable, but entertaining! When you consider that well known DJ’s such as Grandmaster Flash and DJ Shadow were involved in this process you are already aware of a quality production. This soundtrack is the highest quality we have experienced in our testing of these music games over the last few years and it really helps to sell an otherwise excellent game. Heck, the developers even incorporated a Party play mode so the tracks play without interaction which is great if you are holding a party in your house.

As expected there is a completely new controller involved which means you need to learn how to use it. DH Hero comes with a turntable controller and half of this is the record platter with three face buttons and the other half is a mixer that incorporates an effects dial, cross fader and a euphoria button which works like the star power system in Guitar Hero. Obviously Xbox 360 and Playstation versions have the various system specific buttons incorporated. Interestingly you can take the sections apart and remake them in reverse order to accommodate left handed players.

When you first fire up DJ Hero it is important to play the tutorial, hosted by Grandmaster Flash which explains how the system works. Unlike other “Hero” games you can’t really fail in DJ Hero because the mechanics are different. If you perform badly the sound cuts out and you don’t earn many stars and this actually is a good system for this specific title. There is no practice mode which is unfortunate, so you can play the songs at various speeds to work out all the structuring of the track you are struggling with.

Other than the new controller, the same coloured chart system is in place and will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever played any of these games in the past. You tap the buttons to match the corresponding on screen display while moving the turntable back and forward. The beginner and easy levels are very very simple but once you move up from here it can become a challenge.

When you take into consideration the cross fader, which is required to be pushed left and right in conjunction with the onscreen audio stream it can get rather complex. If you think of this as an audio system when the cross fader is in the center position the audio from both record 1 and 2 is allowed through, but by pushing it to either side you can close the stream from either side to isolate the audio source.

The game incorporates a Perfect Regions system which is indicated by glowing notes on screen. If you connect with every note in this area you earn Euphoria (basically Star Power ) – when this is activated your score multiplier is doubled and the crossfader handles itself, even for the massively difficult sections. If you want to maximise your scoring then you can also use the effects dial to alter the sound during the effects zones. This means you are creating something actually rather original and you get double score for it too.

DJ Hero is challenging and the simple songs and levels mean even the youngest kids are able to play along with the experience but if you head into expert mode, some of the tracks are as difficult as anything Guitar Hero ever unleashed at you. Obviously having played other music games in this genre will help with the basic principles, but it is a completely different experience using this controller than anything else before it. A had a few friends come around to my house during this review and initially they thought this game would not appeal to them in the same way Guitar Hero did, but surprisingly they ended up just as addicted as before!

The multiplayer side of the game is catered for by hooking up more than one turntable or you can even add a guitar to a few tracks to create some wonderful sonic landscapes. Dueling with two turntables never really got me excited as each player controls the same parts of the songs. The leaderboard system however works well although the fact they left out the difficulty level is somewhat disappointing – it is tricky to work out who scored what and on which specific setting.

DJ Hero is a wonderfully fresh look at the somewhat jaded music game genre which saturates our marketplace today. The mixes are great and the attention to detail throughout really earns a lot of credit to the development team for their monumental effort in the creation of this title. We are already excited about DJ Hero 2, because there is a lot of room for improvement in the multiplayer side but as this stands, it is an epic first release.


A totally new and fresh concept to this genre, we love it.
Colourful with some nice touches, effective enough for the context of the game.
One of the strongest soundtracks to any game we have played, ever.
Many more songs when compared with other games in this genre and a lot to unlock. DLC is promised as well.

Absolutely brilliant.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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