Thursday, January 13, 2011

DJ Hero 2: A Great Music Game Made Even Better

In 2009, Rhythm games went through an oversaturation, with an abundance of Guitar Hero and Rock Band games being released left and right throughout the year. This, in fact, got to the point where Guitar Hero: Van Halen was being offered for free when you bought Guitar Hero 5 for a limited time. Needless to say, gamers were getting tired of seeing so many games in this genre. However, within this dark time came DJ Hero: A game where you don't play official songs, but rather mixes of different songs put together, using a new turntable controller. Hardly anyone bought it, but it's concept lit the genre's darkest hour. And now, FreeStyle Games has released a sequel, entitled DJ Hero 2, which not only continues the concept of the original, but is vastly improved over it.

To start, the controller remains the same, so you don't need to break out more money for a new plastic turntable. This time, however, you can also obtain a bundle of two turntables and a microphone for those who want the full experience. And with the turntable now a separate peripheral, you are no longer forced to buy a bundle if you want to play either entry.

In-game, the biggest improvement is the gameplay. In DJ Hero, the gamplay consists of pressing 3 different-colored buttons, with the added ability to crossfade, scratch, and freestyle. Whereas freestyling was limited in the original to adding select samples with the red button, in DJ Hero 2, you can now freestyle scratches, crossfades, and samples, which now come from within the actual song. This, and the fact that freestyles are integrated into your overall score, makes the game more immersive and makes you feel almost like an actual DJ. The original game also had Guitar/DJ mixes, where you can play special mixes with someone who has a guitar peripheral. These types of mixes were removed for the sequel, which I believe to be a good move, since it allows the DJ Hero series to have its own identity.

The mixes of the game are nicely done, which I must say are actually better than the ones in the original. Among the artists you can mix to are deadmau5, The Chemical Brothers, and Lady Gaga, with some mixes mixed by professional DJs such as DJ Shadow, Tiesto, and The Scratch Perverts, among others. Some of the artists involved with the game actually make appearances in the game, along with characters from the first game, who I must say are much easier to look at this time around. Some players may wonder why there isn't a Create-A-Mix/Character like in Guitar Hero, but I think that would detract from the experience this game provides.

Overall, DJ Hero 2 is one of the best Rhythm games out there, and fans of the genre should pick this one up. If you are a fan of guitar-based games but are looking for something new and fresh, I would highly recommend this game. Once you start playing, you may have a hard time stopping.

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