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DJ Hero: An Onward State Review

Howdy, reader! Have you ever been interested in becoming a DJ, only to find out that it requires expensive equipment and practice? Or perhaps you’re looking for a way to whet your rhythm game whistle, after being burnt out by the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises. Maybe you’re just a bored college student. In any event, DJ Hero is the game for you!

The nice folks at Activision were kind enough to send us a copy of DJ Hero for the Xbox 360 to review. Having devoted hours upon hours to Guitar Hero and Rock Band over the past few years, I jumped at the chance to see what it had to offer.

DJ Hero’s interface is similar to that of Guitar Hero (which isn’t surprising, since it’s published by Activision, the company that currently owns the Guitar Hero franchise). The menus all have a slick, graffiti-looking aesthetic, and it’s easy enough to navigate through the menus to select songs.

The core of the game has you, the player, rising the ranks of the DJ culture by performing at various venues. You can also play as Grandmaster Flash, Daft Punk, DJ Jazzy Jeff, the late DJ AM, and a handful of others. Most of the songs that you play throughout the course of the game are actually mashups, controlling each side of the mix with your relatively sturdy DJ Hero turntable controller (this controller comes with the game, bringing the total number of plastic instrument peripherals up to approximately 54,000).

There are 94 total mixes and mashups in the game, including over 100 songs as source material. Some of my favorites include the Daft Punk Mexamixes and the surprisingly fun Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby and MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This mashup (watch the video if you don’t believe me). A couple of the mashups don’t go very well together (Public Enemy and Zakk Wylde?), but the good mixes outshine the few blunders. A full list of the mixes in the game is here.

My biggest disappointment with DJ Hero was the lack of a freestyle mode. How cool would it have been to be able to make your own remixes and mashups? If you want to make your own mixes, I suppose you’ll have to actually buy a turntable and learn how to DJ. Damn you, DJ Hero, for not being a suitable substitution for the real thing!

If you have a hundred bucks to spend and lack the dedication or funds to become a real DJ, then DJ Hero is worth your money. There’s even a multiplayer mode that allows 2 DJs to battle it up – or even better, co-op play with one person on DJ and another person on Guitar Hero guitar! Just don’t expect to become an expert DJ in real life (or, for that matter, in the game. Some of the songs get very tricky on harder difficulty levels!).

Even though we reviewed DJ Hero for the Xbox 360, it’s also available for Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii for $99.99 and Playstation 2 for $79.99.

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About the Author

Evan Kalikow

Evan Kalikow co-founded Onward State in November 2008 with Davis Shaver and Eli Glazier. Having previously served as a Writer, Editor, Standards Editor, and Community Manager, Evan is now a proud alumnus of both Onward State and Penn State. He was also named "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine in 2006.

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