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Are you tired of jamming chords? Had enough of painful guitar solos? Well then why not wah some wickys?

DJ Hero enters the rhythm/music game fray as the latest attempt from Activision to cater to those who taste for music is not quite in the rock/metal genre but falls more to the sweet sounds of sampled mixes and thumping beats.

Does it break it down, or just break down?

DJ Hero works very similarly to Guitar Hero and Rockband, so there is only the need for a short description here. You have a career mode, multiplayer with two turn-tables (and a microphone – sorry not really, just had to say that, thanks Beck) or with a guitar for some crossover goodness and then quick play options. You unlock extra music and set playlists by earning stars when you play and so on.

The major difference is that where you were hitting notes and strumming before, you are now hitting notes, scratching and using your cross-fader to blend music together to create the mixes that were put together for the game. Using the turntable can be tricky at first but is accompanied with a very good tutorial that takes your through the functions and controls at a good pace, allowing you to learn. There is also no possibility of failure, which tends to make you like the game as you aren’t getting frustrated by failure, you are just earning less stars.

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The actual gameplay is highly rewarding, the controls work very well and you will find yourself completely immersed in the music as you fade into another sample and scratch the other. The mixes created for the game are the star as you play songs that have never been heard before, blended from other songs to create something unique. You also have extra functions like euphoria (star power) as well as the ability to unlock a rewind so that you can spin back the record and play a section twice for extra points.

On the whole the game is an enjoyable experience, even for those who aren’t really into the genre.

The game does unfortunately have some issues though. While the mixes are certainly fantastic, certain songs have been licensed and then mixed into multiple other songs, so while the mixes are unique, you will hear a quite a couple of songs mixed and mixed again in other songs which is unfortunate as it feels as if some cash was being saved by just licensing a few tracks and spreading them as thinly as possible.

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The other major problem, and this one is a biggie, is the fact that I had major issues with a faulty turntable peripheral. I reviewed the game on a demo unit and anyone who has ever had to work with a demo-anything will know that they get horribly mangled by the public. After a while, at least once per song, I had the issue that certain buttons would just start firing off randomly, completely spoiling the song and requiring me to unplug and reinsert the unit. I thought this was due to it being a demo unit until I did some research only to find that many people worldwide were complaining about the same issues on both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

This is a horrible disappointment for me, as the game is enjoyable and I would like to recommend it but feel like I can’t do that knowing that there are so many people getting faulty peripherals. At the same time, I won’t knock the game completely for it but some points will be knocked off for a badly made peripheral that is an integral part of the experience.

Conclusion:

DJ Hero reaches out to a different crowd and does it’s job very well. The gameplay is very rewarding and the mixes have been put together with masterful precision. A shame then , that the game has been letdown by a couple of issues.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8.5

A refreshing take on the genre that plays well and is highly rewarding

Presentation: 7.5

What you would expect from the genre, lots of selectable characters, accessories etc. and menus designed to work well with the peripheral. These consoles are capable of so much more though.

Sound: 8.5

Magnificent mixes that will make you want to shake your booty, shame about some repetition.

Value: 7.0

While lots of time can be spent with the game, many peoples time will be (and have already been) cut down short by faulty peripherals, so I am knocking it in the value department. It might not happen to you but it’s happened to many people, so be warned.


Overall: 8.0

A really fun game that immerses you into the world of a DJ. I want to recommend it, but how am I supposed to do that when the peripheral has a probability of failure? It’s up to you.

[We have contacted Megarom with regards to the issue and a swapout procedure so stay tuned for more information]

[Reviewed on Playstation 3]

Last Updated: December 7, 2009

DJ Hero
Summary
8.0

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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