Taking the best of the recent Guitar Hero 5
and mixing it with something fresh and new, DJ Hero
offers a much more addictive experience than its predecessor. Each setlist is comprised of three to five songs each, but it allows you to choose the order of each song. The songs play back to back with a few seconds rest in between and your final performance is graded after you complete all of the songs in the list. Now, the most amazing part of the whole experience is how you can't fail. Every single song plays out and finishes every time. You earn stars based on your performance and without the threat of failing, you can earn the stars much more easily. If a particular part of a tough song gives you problems, instead of repeating the song like in previous titles, you can do your best and make up for the lacking performance later in the song. This is the franchise's first step towards a more karaoke-like experience and I think it is a step in the right direction.
When you first start DJ Hero, you have to complete the Tutorial before you start a Career. Just like most other rhythm games, musical notes fall down a highway and you have to press the matching button in time with the music. What makes DJ Hero different is that as you time the button presses correctly, you must also scratch the turntable in certain sections to achieve the right effect. A mixing slider is just as important as the buttons because you will have to fade in between the two songs that are mashed together. As the notes fall, a line appears along the track. As the track moves to the right, you have to move the slider to the right and likewise if the track moves to the left. At first, it is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach, but after a few easy songs, it quickly becomes a matter of muscle memory. Doing well earns multipliers like in Guitar Hero and specific sections of songs are used to fill a "Euphoria" meter which is just like "Star Power" in the other games.
After finishing the Tutorial, you are set loose on your path to DJ superstardom. The stars you earn from your performances are used to unlock more setlists, costumes, venues, and equipment. At first glance, it seems like too much effort to unlock most of the content, but stars can be earned on any difficulty. This means that there is always one persistent Career to perform in and how much enjoyment you get out of playing DJ Hero is only limited by your own personal goals.
DJ Hero has a broad variety of music to choose from that is sure to please any fan. DJ Hero makes good use of any old guitars that you may have lying around too because of a team-up mode that allows one person to play the guitar while the other spins on the turntable. Actually, the multiplayer in DJ Hero includes DJ and Guitar, DJ and DJ, and DJ vs. DJ. Again, like in Guitar Hero 5, there is a Quick Play Mode which jumps into a song while you pick your instrument and difficulty on the fly. For those that have a need to customize everything you own, DJ Hero also supports editing your own custom setlists and lets you choose them at anytime, provided you have unlocked the song already. With so much personality, versatility, and a bit of nostalgia for an aging art form, DJ Hero is one of the best music games I have played all year.