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DJ Hero 2: Two Turn Tables, Meet "And A Microphone"

Company: Activision

DJ Hero is a really cool game. Agreeably, it's not for everyone, but it's fun to play and sounds good while being played, making it awesome for parties. DJ Hero 2 takes that party concept and runs with it.

To get more people interacting with the game, DJ Hero 2 supports a vocalist, in addition to up to two players on the turntables. This works out really well, but the vocal parts can be a bit tricky, since the songs are remixes. DJ Hero 2 songs have some rap parts and some true singing parts, but you might want to give them a listen through first to get an idea of where the vocals are and how they sound in the mix.

Also added in is a new Party Play mode, which lets people jump in and out as they feel like it and they won't "fail out." This allows you to keep the mixes running, providing some nice ambiance for your next party, without a chance of the music coming to an abrupt end. The music will just continue to play, one song after another, whether people are playing or not. Furthermore, if you want to hear just certain songs in Party Play mode, you can create a mix of up to 20 of your favorite songs.

DJ Hero 2 has also built up the multiplayer aspects of the game, with five different multiplayer modes, four of which are playable online. These multiplayer modes are percentage based, rather than point based, meaning that you can square off against an opponent of a different skill level and still have a challenge. Some of the mixes, in fact, are specifically for use with the multiplayer modes.

The Freestyle sections have been beefed up a bit, with three new types of freestyling sections available: Sampling, Scratching and Crossfading. When battling with another DJ, these sections give a player a chance to edge the other DJ out a bit and solo as well, as the first player to play part of a Freestyle section locks the other player out from playing that section. Freestyle Crossfading is an interesting aspect that has two wide tracks (green and blue), with bars indicating where the music phrases are located at within the section. You don't scratch or press any buttons during these sections, but instead, simply use the cross fader (the side-to-side slider) to switch back and forth between the two audio parts. If there is a vocalist playing, you can help them out a bit by playing the track with the vocals (the track with the same color as the lyrics) or, if the vocalist knows the song really well, you can use more of the other track, letting the vocalist solo a bit.

One thing I noticed to be absent in DJ Hero 2 is the sound sample selection. In DJ Hero, you would select a bank of sound samples to choose from when playing the sound effects tracks, and you could use the effect dial to switch between the sound effects any time during the game when the effects dial wasn't being used for a sampling section. The whole sound effect selection has been removed from the game, instead going with contextually selected sound effects. When you encounter a sampling section in a track, the sound effect is now a sound sample from the mix, rather than one of your choosing. I miss the ability to choose my own sound effects here, but I have to admit that the mix sounds better, on average, by using sound effects from the mix.

Also new in DJ Hero 2 is a Hold note type, where you have to press a button and hold it down for a certain length of time without scratching (even a little bit). This might sound easy, but it adds a surprising bit of difficulty when combined with existing elements in the game.

Another cute addition is the ability in the 360 version to use your avatar. It's pretty cool to see you out there scratching and crossfading in the club, but you might want to pick up some new threads, because it looks a bit strange to see an avatar in a loose, frumpy sweater mixin' things up at Ibiza.

So, get out your copy of DJ Hero and your DJ costume and start practicing, because DJ Hero 2 is slated for an October 18th release - just in time to rock your Halloween party sideways.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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