There’s a little record shop on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, California that advertises DJ lessons in their store front. Every time I pass it, I pause and think about how cool it would be to learn the art of the wikka-wikka. Just as Guitar Hero gives players the opportunity to get in touch with their inner rock star, DJ Hero connects you to your record spinning alter ego. More after the jump.
I am a huge fan of the mash up and with DJ Hero, you get to play through a long stream of them from a variety of genres and eras. You like 70s dance like Blondie, it’s in there. You like alternative like Beck, it’s in there. You rap like Jay-Z, guess what — also in there. Yes, this game is the Prego Sauce of DJing.
The control simulates a turntable with three buttons to be employed during the game. For the Wii console specifically, a Wii remote plugs into the upper left corner of the turntable system. Much like a real DJ, a key to the game (at least once you get to the medium level) is proper use of the crossfade. The Euphoria button on the left hand side lights up red when ready to be deployed. Unfortunately, that would entail taking my eyes off the screen and I’m not that advanced.
DJ Hero can be played solo, versus or cooperative to DJ or DJing cooperative with guitar. Flying solo and still want to play the DJ/Guitar slammajammas? No problem, the computer plays wingman for you. Like other music games, the more and better you play, the more you unlock. You can unlock new DJ avatars, venues and tracks with your accumulated stars. The first new avatar you unlock? Grandmaster Flash. The next? Again, I’m not that advanced.
The first level of difficulty just requires that you push a button, any button, to the beat. The next step up, the three buttons are separated out, you can employ Euphoria (the game’s multiplier), scratches and rewinds. The third, the medium level, brings in the cross fade. Euphoria played during the medium level auto-crossfades for the player. I’d tell you what’s involved in the next two levels, but my novice skills bottomed out with a somewhat consistant two star rating at medium. This may have punctured my dreams of becoming an actual DJ just a little bit. I’m sticking with “may” in that statement with the option of “without a doubt” down the road after I see what heaps more hours of practice does.
Band Hero falls into the Guitar Hero World Tour/Rock Band mold, clearly. If you enjoy those games, you’ll absolutely enjoy this as well. These games revolutionalized the at-home use of your game console, opening it up to the non-traditional video gamer. The key to this game specifically is that it employs party favorites and, even more crucial, a party mode wherein players can join in and opt out of play at their leisure. The combinations of play aren’t limited to one person per instrument — you can bring the noise with four vocalists. More pop-centric music finds a home with this version for those that find the other options a bit too rock heavy.
Activision continues to prove they know how to put together an infinitely playable music game. Will I grow up to be a professional DJ? I think that I will probably max out at being a DJ Hero (two stars on medium — take that to the bank, boyee). While that may sound just the tiniest bit sad, at least I’ll have a blast eventually coming to this realization. Eventually. Thankfully, I’m putting my new hope on perfecting my drum skills. Thanks Band Hero!
FINAL GRADE: A