DJ Hero is going to do something that hasn’t been done in a rhythm game to date. The primary soundtrack will consist of around 80 mash-ups of licensed master tracks. Some of these tracks have been remixed by artists like DJ Shadow and DJ Z-Trip. Many were created in-house by the DJ’s at Freestyle Games. I was able to see a gameplay preview and get a detailed explanation of the game’s mechanics and peripheral… and I want this game.
DJ Hero’s controller isn’t very button heavy, with only three buttons to press during gameplay, but the revolutionary (ha!) change is these buttons are placed on the turntable. During gameplay, gems fall on three different lanes. The green lane represents the first track, the red lane represents samples, and the blue track represents the second track. When both tracks are present, you’ll be tasked with hitting buttons (Guitar Hero style) as gems cross the bottom of the lane. You’ll also have to hold a button and scratch the turntable when prompted. At the easier difficulty levels, you’ll be able to pretty much scratch during the section, but as the difficulty rises, scratching up or down will be required in different places.
That seems pretty easy, sure? To complicate things and correspond to the game’s songs, players will have to crossfade between the two tracks. Flicking the fader to the left will enable track one and drop track two out of the mix. Moving it to the right will do the opposite. Put it all together and you’ve got a gameplay model that is about as close to DJ’ing as Guitar Hero is to playing guitar. Throw in the ability to replay a section of the mix with the activation of Euphoria (DJ Hero’s version of Star Power) and you can start planning on which sections to repeat to maximize your score.
I haven’t actually gotten my hands on the game yet, but I imagine it works well and is fun. I could be wrong, though. I won’t know until I get to play the game. What excites me the most are the 80 or so tracks, which are new songs in their own right. Sure, they are mash-ups of two existing songs, but they are new. Freestyle Games promises that the music in DJ Hero will run the gamut of genres (that would make sense in a DJ game) with hip-hop, dance, pop, mo-town, soul, R&B, and more.
There are also 10 songs in the game that will support a DJ vs. guitarist mode, which will utilize a guitar peripheral. Will we see any crossover for Guitar Hero 5 with the DJ Hero peripheral? I would bet on it showing up in the music studio mode.
DJ Hero will be released on October 27, 2009 for the PS3, PS2, Wii, and Xbox 360. It will run you a cool $120 for the game and controller.