STAFF REVIEW of DJ Hero 2 (Xbox 360)

Friday, November 5, 2010.
by Brent Roberts

DJ Hero 2 Box art Welcome back ladies and gentleman to one of the greatest shows on earth. The DJ is in the house and is on track to crossfade some information regarding the blockbuster hit DJ Hero 2. We are going to take you on a literary journey through the melodies, bass drops, and more to show how DJ Hero 2 scratches its way to being a top contender in the world of music games. Put your hands up and get ready to drop the beat because your party just started, and your fans are all waiting for one thing, you.

First and foremost we need to touch on the equipment of DJ Hero 2. With other music games producing more equipment for us to purchase, DJ Hero 2 already takes a step forward by allowing you to utilize the original turntable equipment from DJ Hero. This goes a long way to saving you money and for those who are new to DJ Hero, there are multiple equipment options which range from one turntable, all the way to two turntables and a microphone to help create an amazing party and one unforgettable experience from the first beat, to the last.

Graphically speaking, DJ Hero 2 aims to put you right in the middle of some beautifully created clubs and venues placed in iconic locations such as London, Ibiza and more. Get ready for an over-the-top experience like you have never had before as you travel to different venues all the while subjecting your thousands of screaming dancing fans to some of the best music found in music games today. One cool innovative feature is that in DJ Hero 2, unlike other music games, you can actually use your avatar as an in game DJ character. This is a great innovative touch as it makes the experience feel more personal, instead of just a pre-made characters to perform with. Throughout your performances your eyes will be treated to some mammoth eye candy as you see massive animated visuals on big screens, strobe lights flashing throughout the club, and even bright colored lasers beaming overhead that pierce the dark venues and give your screaming crowd something to reach for besides your autograph.

In DJ Hero 2 you are given multiple gameplay types that allow you to take control of the music like never before. To start things off there is a quick play mode which is what the name suggests. It's a mode where you can instantly pick your mixes and instantly start the party off right. Not only can you just pick up and play in this mode, but you can also create, edit, and save multiple playlists so depending on the type of party you're throwing, you will never be short of music to perform with. Next on our tour we are going to be jetting over to the Empire mode. This is where the bulk of your fame and fortune will come as you travel through the story mode performing at different locations and clubs where everyone is waiting to hear what type of music you will play. Included in Empire mode you will have the opportunity as well to battle against some of the top DJ's in the world to prove you are a top talent DJ and a not just a flash in the pan imposter. Get ready to bring your "A" game to the tables as these battles will test everything you have learned and developed throughout your Empire career.

Another great mode that is offered in DJ Hero 2 is the party mode. This will allow you have the game itself play through its mixes and get the beats flowing until you or your friends decide that you want to jump in and take the party by storm. Xbox Live multiplayer makes its return in DJ Hero 2 and allows you to strut your stuff as you showcase your DJ talent and prove to others why they are opening for you and you are the real headlining act.

Also available is the DJ Hero 2 battle mode which enables you to tackle some of the best DJ talent in the world in an effort to prove once and for all, who is the best DJ around. Unlike other music games, DJ Hero's battle system is done in various ways. There are battles that judge how accurate you are in between checkpoints in the mix, battles that judge how many stars you can get, battles that will test how much you can make your streak grow and more. There is also the introduction of friends' challenges which throws down a challenge to see if anyone can step up to the tables and compete on your level.

Also included is the megamix mode where you can take on multiple mixes, perfect your skills, and get your groove on like never before. It goes without question, DJ Hero 2 allows an epic selection of different game types which means that there is literally something for everybody.

Included in all these modes are some brilliant new innovations that DJ Hero 2 provides that help solidify this game as one of the best music games available. First off, one of the new innovations is the addition of a freestyle scratch section where DJ Hero 2 gives you total and complete control to scratch the way you want to, how you want to. Before you were limited to pre defined scratches that were laid out in the arrangement, however, now the control becomes yours.

In DJ Hero 2, you not only get control over scratching, but you also gain control over your crossfading. In certain areas of the mix you will have the ability to crossfade in between two different tracks allowing you to now mix how you want and truly develop the track as you want to. This is a great new innovation because before you had to go by a pre determined crossfading path, well now the control comes back to you, the DJ. There is no way to be punished by losing your multiplier in this new freestyle crossfading section so feel free to go wild with your music and crossfade however you wish. Another great new innovation comes in the form of something that DJ Hero originally lacked, but now is back and better than ever, true audio sampling.

In the original title you were limited to various sound samples that you could trigger. While this was innovative, the sound sampling was limited to just five presets and in most cases did not fit the music playing. This has all been given a mammoth overhaul by now making the sound samples that you trigger actual pieces of music from the two tracks being mixed. Now when you hit the sample sections you are free to tap out a sample of the track playing which adds to the realistic feel and makes every mix sound better than before.

In DJ Hero 2 you now have ability to add a new layer to the mix in the form of a vocal track. Included in the party pack is a microphone which gives you the ability to put your musical prowess to the test by testing just how well you know your music. You may know how the lyrics go to the songs, however, the DJ is in control here and you will have to think on your feet, especially with features that the DJ can use such as crossfading and the infamous rewind feature. One of the great new developments with this new feature is that if you DJ'ing and someone is having trouble with the vocal track, you can still save the show.

With the focus of DJ Hero 2 being music, a lot of effort and attention has been put into the music score. The last DJ Hero game won numerous awards for its music which adds to the pressure of producing a sequel that not only lives up to the previous standards, but sets the bar higher than ever before.

In DJ Hero 2 some of the top talent in the world comes to life at your control. Iconic DJ's such as: Tiesto, Deadmau5, David Guetta, The Prodigy, stack the deck, and with such talent as Lady GaGa, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Janet Jackson and more, DJ Hero 2 brings every aspect of different music genres right to your fingertips for your ears to enjoy. Your ears will be treated to classic hits such as "groove is the heart" and more modern iconic tracks such as "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa, which all when compiled together gives your ears a beautiful eclectic mix that spans not only different genres but different decades and makes DJ Hero 2 a musical powerhouse, and with more music to be available via DLC the musical strength of this game is truly limitless.

As our record winds down let's review what makes DJ Hero 2 such an iconic staple in the world of music games. Massive new innovations to the mixes by allowing you to control both the crossfading and scratching as you wish make DJ Hero 2 the closest thing most of us will come to being a real DJ. Also when you combine the immense amount of game types with an updated epic tracklist, you now have tons of ways you can enjoy your favorite mixes the way you want to, after all, you are the DJ. With all these improvements and more, over the award winning original, DJ Hero 2 and Activision have set the bar for the competition and claimed itself to be the undisputed king of the wheels of steel.

For the future release of DJ Hero 3 Activision should include a DJ Hero mixer which includes all the crossfading and sampling functions while allowing a new way to control the individual levels of each track and allow two turntables to completely crossfade and mix just like a real DJ would. Activision could sell the mixer seperately for those who already have two turntables and for those wishing the complete package, they could package the mixer with the two turntables and microphone for a complete DJ experience.

Overall: 9.1 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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