Monday, October 12, 2009

Yo DJ, Play that ish!... Hands-On with DJ Hero and Band Hero

So I went to Best Buy yesterday before Street Fighter Bar Fights II to try out DJ Hero, out in the end of the month (the 27th). It took me some tries to get used to the gameplay mechanics and turntable controls, but I eventually got the hang of it playing it again today. I'll explain this in detail after I quickly mention my thoughts about Band Hero.

I played a demo of Band Hero for a bit (more like two songs), which is pretty much Guitar Hero 5 for the pop generation with easier songs. Out of the six songs playable, I played "Love Story" by Taylor Swift (yes I did, don't hate) and "Black Cat" by Janet Jackson on Expert guitar. Band Hero has the Guitar Hero 5 features like drop-in drop-out gameplay with more players joining at any time as well as I think multiplayer with the same instruments. If you played any Guitar Hero game so far, Band Hero is no different, but a little easier because of the pop-ish songs in the game (Don't expect any crazy metal stuff in this). I feel like this game will get a lot of sales because its Guitar Hero and it has Taylor Swift as a playable character in the game. Plus, it has the most popular song out on the radio now, "You Belong to Me," too as if you heard enough of this song already (Not hating - I see why people love it especially my friends lol). Band Hero is out early next month for the obvious platforms.

DJ Hero, on the other hand, is a completely different game despite having "Hero" on the title. The demo has three mixes available for single DJing as well as the guitar/DJ feature in which I didn't try. Those mixes are "Grapevine"/"Feel Good Inc.," "Give It to Me"/"Hollaback Girl," and "Boom Boom Pow"/"Satisfaction." My favorite so far is actually the Black Eyed Peas and Benny Benassi mix. Three difficulties are available to try out with Easy, Medium, and Hard. I jumped to Normal at the gate to mess with the controls. Yesterday, I was one and two starring mixes since I was learning it, but after today, I can three and four star mixes easily on Normal with the feeling Hard won't that bad (check the video below for that). Also, there is no failure at all, so even if you screw up horribly, you'll probably get a star or two. The notechart you will see with these mixes go by this: green and blue buttons let the songs flow and you hold the button with a long note comes up to scratch at the same time while the red button on the middle is the effect button in which a long note comes up to allow various effects (I prefer the horn) to be optionally used. What makes and brakes your skill level is your ability to use the crossfader as there are three lines as seen in the gameplay and you have move it left or right pending what is ahead. The fader itself can be loose at times trying to get it at the right level because if not, you lose your combo and such. I didn't realize how important the fading is till actually playing the game and it does play a key role on being successful. As long as you know to fade effectively, you'll be fine playing DJ Hero at any difficulty. There is also the euphoria mechanic, which is pretty much star power hitting a certain stretch of notes in a row to gain it and then pressing the euphoria button (it will flash once you have to some to double your multiplier since the game scores you throughout the song). The rewind is there too also gained by having a note streak, but timing it at the wrong time can lead to the combo being lost especially if you over spin the turntable because I did that twice . The game itself looks pretty good with the art style they want to portray. The mixes themselves also sound fine as well as of course you will find some songs you'll love and hate when the final game comes out.

After playing it for like a hour now, I'm sold on DJ Hero as a game and a learning experience. Once you get the hang of it learning the controls, it is really fun. The learning curve does not seem as daunting as I thought as it was pretty much pick up and play after a song or two for me. At least I know for a fact that this game is the real deal, but I highly recommend going to a store like Best Buy and try for yourself if its your thing before it comes out at the end of the month. As I mentioned the last time I talked about DJ Hero, I'm not buying it right away, but I would buy it in December if there is still copies around.

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