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Follow the dark path or use the light

DJ Hero 2 Launch Center

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DJ Hero 2 Launch Center

Written by Chris Boots-Faubert for

Introduction and Synopsis

DJ Hero 2 was developed by the studio FreeStyleGames Ltd. (a subsidiary of Activision), a small UK-based studio located in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and published by California-based Activision. Prior to creating DJ Hero 2, FreeStyleGames collaborated with Activision on various projects associated with the Guitar Hero Series of games.

When the original DJ Hero was released last year it had a fair number of games journalists scratching their heads in wonder; with the economy being how it was, the question that was being asked was simple: who is going to buy a game that also requires the purchase of an expensive peripheral? Just before its release, Guitar Hero 5 hit the streets with dismal sales, and forecasters reconsidered what were initially favorable projections for DJ Hero, lowering expectations considerably.

Sales for the first quarter after release were low, despite the largely positive take on the game presented in the media by reviewers, and it looked like the forecasts were spot-on, but then something unexpected happened: momentum began to build, and sales soon jumped past the revised forecast. It seems that word of mouth was the cynosure that the game needed to get it started, despite the fact that it was not strictly speaking a social game like its big brother, Guitar Hero.

DJ Hero 2 was green-lighted based upon the success of the previous game, which established that there was a market for that style, even if gamers needed to pay extra for the special turntable controller that is widely credited with injecting a new wind into the music rhythm game genre's sails. DJ hero 2 is set to release with over 70 mash-ups, from 85 artists, with Activision seeking new artists in advance of its release to build a library of DLC to sell on the Live service.

Gamers and fans can expect to play some familiar tunes, as the artist list contains more than a few big names in the music industry: Donna Summer, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Lil' Wayne, LL Cool J, Missy Elliot, Notorious B.I.G., Rihanna, Sam Cooke, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, and Usher just to name a few.

Game Play

The game uses a special controller, based upon the standard record turntable, with half of the controller record platter consisting of a large turntable with three buttons on it, and the other half consisting of the mixer controls that include a cross-fader, effects knob, and the Euphoria Button that is the special action in the game. The mixer side also includes a set of console controls so that you do not have to have a standard gamepad plugged in to play the game.

The feel of the controller likely contributes to the attraction of the game, as it is sturdy and realistic to a point, making it easy to imagine you are replicating the motions of the real DJ's. The game has a strong tutorial mode and although the repetitive motions of using it do not come naturally, the learning curve is fairly shallow, requiring only a few hours of play on lower levels for the average gamer to begin increasing the difficulty setting.

Each song set features a variety of challenges, from accurately using the cross-fader to switch from one song to the other as mart of the mash-up, to hitting every note in the “Perfect Regions” of the song to increase your Euphoria power, which allows you to use trigger its score multiplying effect, while putting the cross-fader on autopilot. Strategic use of Euphoria can get you through the very complex mix sections on more challenging songs like a pro, permitting you to rack up some very impressive scores! The Effects Knob allows the player to select a variety of phrases that can be chanted in certain sections of the song, an amusing feature for the game even if it is the most seldom used part, especially on the higher difficulty settings, when there is more to keep track of.

The graduation of difficulty in this game is one of its best features; on easy mode anyone can play this game well, but in a similar design to the guitar-based games, once you start increasing the difficulty to reach higher scores, it becomes very skill-dependent. Music Rhythm games require a level of dedication and a willingness to put in the time to be really good at them, two traits that are largely the province of the young, but adults will also find a good deal of entertainment potential here.

While the game features some multi-player and co-op play as well as a limited online mode, it strength is really in its local mode – either single player or co-op – the later allowing a second player to use a second turntable controller to compete in head-to-head and co-operative modes. There are several songs in which the guitar controller can also be used, though its integration into the game is very limited. The game supports the use of microphones, but voice work in the game does not impact the player's score one way or the other.

DJ Hero 2 has a street date of 19 October 2010 for North America and Australia, and 22 October 2010 for the rest of the world, including the UK. Several retail editions of the game are available, including:

• DJ Hero 2 Stand-Alone Version for the Xbox 360 and PS3: for players who already own the first game in the series, and thus a controller, the stand-alone version features the game disc and manual, with an MSRP of $59.99 US / £49.99 UK. A stand-alone version for Nintendo's Wii is priced at $59.99 US / £39.99 UK.

• DJ Hero 2 Party Bundle for the Xbox 360 and PS3 and Wii: for serious players, the party bundle includes the game and manual, with two turntable controllers, and a microphone, with an MSRP for all platforms of $149.99 US.

• DJ Hero Turntable Kit for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii: the standard single-player version of the game includes a turntable controller, the game disc, and manual, with an MSRP of $99.99 US / £99.99 UK.

Pre-Order Bonuses available from retailer Gamestop feature a canvas Puma turntable bag. At press time no other pre-order offers were officially published.


Street Date: 19 October 2010 US / 22 October 2010 UK
Publisher: Activision
Developer: FreeStyleGames Ltd.
Focus: Single-Player
Platforms: Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii
Genre: Music / Rhythm
Official Content Ratings: ESRB Rated T for Teen (Contains content that might be considered unsuitable for children under 13 years of age.); BBFC Rated 12 ( Suitable only for those aged 12 and over.).

Posted: 2nd Nov 2010
DJ Hero 2,


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