Activision DJ Hero preview

Posted on Jul 10 2009 - 7:53pm by Richard Sharp

It’s time to put down your guitar and don your DJ gear with Activision’s latest offering in the Guitar Hero series. A uniquely designed turntable controller, game play following the winning formula of previous titles and a large and diverse soundtrack promise to make this game an interesting and entertaining choice upon its release. But will DJ Hero be good enough to knock its big, guitar-wielding brother off the top spot?

Turning the Tables on Traditional Controllers

The DJ Hero controller will consist of a wireless deck split into two sections. One section will contain a movable turntable complete with three “stream” buttons. In the other section you will find a cross fader, an effects dial and a “Euphoria” button. A hidden panel will contain those less interesting buttons required for functionality outside of the game. The two sections will be detachable to cater for the left handed music lovers of the population. And what’s more, all of the major gaming platforms, Playstation 2 & 3, Xbox 260 and Wii, will run DJ Hero – so no matter what your console of choice may be you will be able to play this title.

Mash up your Music

A single player career mode allows you to enjoy the game when you’re on your own. Alternatively you can enjoy the multi player facilities of DJ Hero with friends or family. Competitive and cooperative modes are available so whether you feel like working together for the benefit of your “audience”, or smashing your opponent into the ground with your awesome mash ups, you will be able to.

If you are familiar with the simple yet addictive game play of Guitar Hero then DJ Hero won’t come as a complete surprise to you. However it will be a new challenge to master the new controller. The player will be instructed to hold down one of the three stream buttons in accordance with notes travelling across a spinning record on the screen. Two of the stream buttons will play the two tracks that are being used in that particular mix, while the third button will play samples that can be thrown in when instructed. The effects dial is used to vary these samples. Don’t be fooled into thinking that pushing three buttons and occasionally twiddling a dial will make the game too easy; the current player is also responsible for constantly adjusting the cross fader to match the symbols displayed on-screen. At certain points in the track you may be required to incorporate scratching sections which will be demonstrated on screen as a series of up and down arrows. Holding down the button and moving the turntable forward and backward in time with the arrows on screen will earn additional points for the player.

Another degree of complexity is added to the game with the presence of “Euphoria”; the equivalent of Guitar Hero’s Star Power. Euphoria is earned by the successful completion of certain sections of the mix. It can be released by pressing the Euphoria button which will double the current player’s multiplier. A “Rewind” meter is also present and will continue to fill as long as the player is consistently successful in the creation of their mix. With the Rewind meter full, the option exists to effectively jump back in time, rewinding the song to fix any earlier errors. With all of this to keep in mind, as well as keeping up the performance meter to avoid failing the song, DJ Hero promises to be challenging enough to maintain interest.

Music for the Soul

100 songs will contribute to 80 different two-song mash ups providing plenty of variety. What’s more, every song to be included in DJ Hero has never been included in any other game in the Guitar Hero series, to provide something totally new to any avid supporters. Music ranging from hip hop to house, techno to soul and R&B to grunge will inevitably produce some entertaining mixes, while appeasing fans with a great variety of differing tastes in music. An impressive looking line-up includes tracks from the likes of the Gorillaz, Eminem, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani and many, many more.

The Final Countdown

As the eagerly awaited release of DJ Hero draws ever closer, the question on the lips of many is whether it will be good enough to detract attention from the immensely popular Guitar Hero. An innovative design, interesting game play and popular play list are all attributes in its favour, but will the fans of all dance-related music genres covered by the game get behind it? Only time will tell.

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