DJ Hero 2

9.0 Overall Score

Written by on November 5, 2010 in

On any ordinary day, the last music you’d find playing in the Nikkel household would be any kind of rap or hip-hop. That is, until we played DJ Hero 2. In the past, Lauren Mae would steal away guilty pleasure moments of this genre of music on car rides to work, but no more! Since playing DJ Hero 2, the world needs to brace itself for the dazzling musical stylings of DJane Austen and TechNikkel.

Having never spent any time playing the original DJ Hero, we didn’t know what to expect. So, we switched on our Xbox 360, and fired up the tutorial. While the 13 step tutorial did seem a bit intense, it’s a lot easier than diving straight in. We highly recommend that if you’d never played DJ Hero before, invest some time in the tutorial and get comfortable with the different elements of turntable styling, such as crossfading, using rewinds, activating Euphoria (think “Star Power”), and scratching. Your time and perseverance will be awarded with an achievement, should you complete at least half of the steps.

DJ Hero 2 is best when being played in a party setting. In Quickplay, you’ll be met with a variety of current rap and hip-hop tracks, mashed up with more old school beats. You have the option to use up to 2 turntables and a vocalist. For example, Loren can’t get enough of playing Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” against Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven”, while Lauren Mae is partial to singing vocals on Iyaz’s “Replay” mixed with Rihanna’s “Rude Boy.” Similar to Quickplay is Party Play, which is accessed from the main menu. For this feature, anyone on either turntables or vocals can jump in and out of randomly selected mixes. Guests should feel encouraged to freely participate, especially as DJ Hero 2 comes equipped with a strict no-fail policy.

The only downside to Quickplay is the intricate and sometimes bizarre vocal mixes. Some tracks are cohesive and therefore easy to sing, but if you don’t know one or both songs in the mix, you may find it difficult to keep up with the beat. Other downsides to vocals in Quickplay are the inability to choose a level of difficulty, and the emphasis on some of the syllables in rapping sections. I (Lauren Mae) am completely bent on getting the Perfect Pitch achievement (reaching 100% vocals on a song) and became frustrated when Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” insisted I emphasize the word “freak” instead of “on,” as is done in the original recording, considerably slashing my accuracy. If there is to be another installment of DJ Hero, we’d really like there to be a greater consideration of the vocalist, as well as consistency between annunciation in the original mixes and the versions found in the setlists.

For those interested in some friendly competition, check out the Battle mode. There are several types of competitive co-op play both for same-console and online multiplayer: Star Battle, Accumulator, Checkpoint, Streak, DJ Battle, and Power Deck Battle. Loren’s favorite is Checkpoint, in which you strive to beat your opponent section by section based on accuracy and points accumulated through rewinds and activating Euphoria.  Lauren Mae is partial to Star Battle, where the DJ with the highest amount of stars on their tower, based on points, wins. Streak mode is also entertaining, but risky; players either fail or fly based on how many notes in a row they can bank. Accumulator is similar; streaks can only be banked 3 times, unless more points are garnered, allowing a player to get an occasional extra bank. DJ Battle is formatted as call-and-response, giving each player the chance to alternately shine and talk trash on their opponent, should you so choose. Power Deck Battle enables players to duke it out to mixes using the decks unlocked in Empire mode specific to each character. Power Deck abilities range from giving you more points for the taps you hit, to increasing the note speed with a higher point value.

The campaign mode, dubbed Empire, is sadly what drags the game down a bit. In this mode, you are required to earn a certain number of stars before you can advance to the next venue. The pacing of mixes, along with the obligatory checkpoint battles and DJ throwdowns made this mode laborious. We were super excited to at first unlock new outfits, decks, headphones, and mixes for Quickplay in the first two sections of the Empire mode, but it soon wore thin. The sets average 3 songs in length, and the songs get progressively longer. On top of all that, it’s not possible to play Empire in a multiplayer mode, which we, being married, really would have enjoyed. We were relieved when our Empire was complete and we were free to get back to Quickplay mode with all of our new swag and songs.

The positive side of Empire is that you don’t have to get 5 stars on all mixes in order to advance in the campaign. Also, Empire mode is great for achievements, which are fairly easy to gain. A good example is Rise to the Challenge, where you receive 15G for completing 3 setlists. The achievements are a soothing balm to the otherwise arduous campaign.

Overall, we had a blast playing DJ Hero 2, getting exposed to new music, as well as hearing older tunes in a new light. If you’re going to have a party, and need music, but want to do more than stand around or dance awkwardly (which we totally condone), we definitely recommend DJ Hero 2 for a more interactive, exciting, and dynamic party experience. Scratch away!

This is DJane Austen and TechNikkel signing off…

A DJ Hero 2 package was given to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.

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Author: Lauren Mae View all posts by

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