People love to disparage sequels, but the reality is they are often an excellent opportunity for developers. You’ve established a strong foundation, but several obvious flaws in the first game can be easily adjusted. You also have a list of exciting features that you did not have the time or budget to carry out in the first game. DJ Hero is a favorite music game of 2009, and this sequel exceeds its predecessor in almost every way.
The huge innovation is the new freestyle sections. Formerly, these were confined to a small handful of samples you can deploy using the middle turntable button. They were generally lame, so everyone ended up utilizing Flavor Flav’s “Yeeeeaaah, boy!” entirely. Now, the samples are suited to the track, often separating a cool factor or sample that you can employ to enhance the beat.
Developer Freestyle Games also added up freestyle scratching and freestyle crossfading parts. Freestyle scratch allows you scratch your own rhythms, adding an factor of creativity to the mix. Freestyle crossfade lets you spring between the tracks. For instance, you can set apart an acapella vocal, then immediately slam back to a bruising beat. The game ranks you on how musical and unique your freestyles are, making a corny gimmick into an inherent part of the experience. DJ Hero 2 also features new “held” notes, a lot like those from Guitar Hero – yet another cool addition to the gameplay.
Thankfully, FreeStyle Games shot down the guitar/DJ duet songs. It only resulted in track slots being dedicated to terrible rock/hip-hop mash-ups. However, the new vocal mode is not any better. The vocal lines are so carved-up and jumbled that it looks like playing a karaoke game in the clutches of a seizure. Still, it doesn’t do any harm, as it’s only an add-on to the songs that are already there. Who knows, maybe someone will have fun with it.
The two-turntable multi-player modes are quite enjoyable. The mixes themselves are uniformly exciting. The track list expertly equalizes superstars like 50 Cent, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga with reputable producers such as DJ Shadow and Chemical Brothers, plus spectacular tracks by lesser-known artists.
DJ Hero 2 is thrilling. While you crossfade, scratch, and control the mixes, the feeling is relative to riding a musical wave.