E3 2010: DJ Hero 2 shows some empirical fortitude

We dug DJ Hero about as much as any music game last year, but it was clearly a feature-light first attempt, and the lack of great multiplayer modes (and continued DLC) had our discs spinning back into their cases sooner than we would've liked. Luckily, Activision recognizes the very good thing it has, and seems poised with DJ Hero 2 to turn it into a proper, fully featured franchise that has the potential to break out with a much larger audience.

Above: More multiplayer modes means you can style on fools even harder this time

One of our biggest gripes about the original was the inability to do much in the way of freestyling with the turntable controller, but DJ Hero 2 flips the script on that, tossing in freestyle scratching and crossfader segments. Now you'll be able to put your personal stamp on the included mash-ups, and even stop and start the music while freestyle scratching to cut up the track. And as you've no doubt heard, thanks to the endlessly repeated "two turntables and a microphone" tagline, DJ Hero 2 does indeed support lyrics in applicable songs, letting a third person sing along with the scratching.

We're looking forward to trying the new Empire career mode, in which you build an armada of clubs around the world (and run into various licensed characters along the way), but the real draw of DJ Hero 2 should be the six multiplayer modes. We tried out DJ Battle mode, which is something of a call-and-response variation where each jockey tackles his/her segment of the song before flipping it back to the other. Along with other new offerings like Star Battle, Accumulator, Checkpoint, Power Deck Battle, and Streak, it certainly seems like the new multiplayer offerings will make up for the disappointing, straight-up battles of the original.

Above: Real fans are already getting their Fila tracksuits and Kangol hats ready

While not knocking the stellar soundtrack of the original, we certainly thought it could've used more modern, popular tunes, and DJ Hero 2 looks to be heading strongly in that direction. DJ Hero 2 will include more than 70 original mash-ups composed of 100+ licensed tracks, and confirmed artists at this point include heavy-hitters like Kanye West, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre, and Rihanna.

We heard a few of the fresh remixes in our demo of the game, including Rihanna's "Rude Boy" mixed with Iyaz's "Replay," the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha" blended with Pitbull's "Calle Ocho," and the irresistible pairing of Warren G's classic "Regulate" with Nelly's "Hot in Herre." As with the first game, many of the mash-ups don't seem to make much sense on paper, but they're incredibly well crafted and sound amazing in the game.

Let's face it: we're still pretty high on DJ Hero despite our relatively short-term fixation with the original. The prospect of a thicker, fleshed-out sequel with more contemporary jams on the soundtrack has us psyched about scratching and spinning the virtual vinyl again come this fall.

Jun 16, 2010


E3 E3 2010


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  • NinjaPopsicle - June 17, 2010 9:25 a.m.

    Sounds awesome, loved the first DJ Hero. It was a nice refresher after mock guitar/band playing for so many years. As long as we're not buried in multiple sequels and band/artist editions within a year, this franchise should stay pretty decent for a while.
  • ScruffMoney - June 16, 2010 11:41 p.m.

    WANT! I loved the original, even though it was lacking in game modes it's my kind of music and I loved almost every mix on there, I can't wait for the sequel. I just hope they keep Daft Punk around, I love Daft Punk :)
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 16, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    Actually playing dj hero right now, can't wait to pick up djh2!
  • Spybreak8 - June 16, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    I liked DJ Hero and yeah it did go back in the case fairly fast (I still play it from time to time though). It's nice that all I have to do now is just buy the game without any peripheral lol. I like what they've got planned for DJ Hero 2, sequels are often areas where dev get a bit more freedom with their already accepted game.
  • Cleanser247 - June 16, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    I too think some more modern tracks would be good for the game.
  • CoD4Kamikazi - June 16, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    I love DJ Hero and hopefully these new tracks and multiplayer modes will help it become even more awesome than the first game. The only things I didn't like at E3 were people hating on every company except Nintendo (even after that total failboat of a Zelda demo) and people bitching about no new Half-Life (I personally thought the second game was mediocre at best, what is the big deal about this stupid game?)

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