DJ Hero has its moments but I didn't feel that immediate sense of magic that I did the first time I strapped on a replica guitar
- The music is good enough that I'd boot up the game just hear it, some tracks let you play along with a guitar
- The controller and note charts need polish, the price tag might turn off some would-be DJs
It was inevitable that Activision would look to expand its rhythm genre empire and DJ Hero is a noteworthy addition to its arsenal. However, it isn't nearly as accessible nor as polished as its current bread and butter franchise, Guitar Hero. Still, it has potential and the music is good enough that it should convince enough gamers to step up to the ones and twos; we're also certain it will warrant a sequel, which we hope will fix some of the issues that bog down an otherwise noteworthy debut.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Guitar Hero isn't just a successful game franchise: it's a bona fide phenomenon. But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end and it's obvious that we've reached a saturation point for rhythm games. Sequels are becoming nothing more than glorified track packs and while sales are still strong, gamers are like cats in that they become easily distracted, so publishers have to find new ways to keep them interested. In that respect, you can either specialise, the way Rock Band did with The Beatles, or you can produce an offshoot, which is the route Activision took with DJ Hero.
It's a title that benefits greatly from the familiarity that we have with its siblings: Guitar Hero did such a great job of indoctrinating us to the joys of pushing buttons to a beat that half the battle's already been won. But I don't think DJ Hero will reach the same level of success that the Guitar Hero franchise did for a couple of reasons. The first is the price tag: at $179, it's a rather large investment for yet another specialised piece of plastic. Experiencing it first-hand will make believers out of some but it probably won't turn an entire generation of gamers into converts the way Guitar Hero did, especially because the experience isn't as inherently satisfying; after all, everyone wants to secretly be in a band but far fewer of us long to be a professional DJ.
Secondly, the hardware isn't nearly as accessible or as polished as the now classic five-buttoned guitar. The turntable peripheral is solidly built but it's one or two revisions away from being perfect. The cross-fader switch is way too fickle for its own good; sometimes being even a little out of position will result in a miss, which wrecks havoc on your combos. The turntable itself works fine but having to press a button while also making a scratching motion is more work than it should be; the blue button, which sits closest to the "record's" centre, is especially difficult because you can't get as much leverage with just your ring finger. The actual note charts could also use a bit of polishing as well; it can get a bit too "busy" for its own good, especially on the harder difficulties.
You'll mess up a lot if you play on Hard or Extreme and that's a shame because missing a note cuts the music off and that's the one thing they absolutely nailed. The 93 included songs are so good that I'd sometimes stay on the menu screen and just nod along to the beat. The audio team really put a lot of thought into the mixes and the pairings not only make sense but they're often clever as well. Eminem's "My Name Is" perfectly balances with Beck's "Loser" to form a track that not only playfully thumbs its nose at the artists involved but also gives them a pat on the back. And the fact that they took two songs that have become pop-culture punchlines -- Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby" and MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This" -- and mashed them together into something worthwhile is downright inspiring.
The music really does most of the heavy lifting here and I'd gladly purchase the soundtrack if one was made available but the game's lack of polish left me a little flat. DJ Hero has its moments but I didn't feel that immediate sense of magic that I did the first time I strapped on a replica guitar. I do think DJ Hero will carve out its own niche but for the reasons listed above its fanbase probably won't be as sizable or as rabid as its rock & roll cousins. There is hope, however, that the inevitable sequel will solve the issues with the hardware and note charts, the way GH2 finished what GH1 started, and that version might be the one to wait for but at the least, gamers who invest in DJ Hero can soothe any angst they feel over its faults by listening to the incredible setlist.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 4 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- This week in games: Diablo 4 whispers, Civilization VI launch
- The Nintendo Switch is a radical mash-up of consoles and gaming handhelds
- Halo Wars 2 hands-on preview: Blitz mode's thrilling twists could trigger an RTS revival
- The Xbox One's first email app is here, and it's not Outlook
- This week in games: Tyranny snags a release date, polygonal Lara Croft returns
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSenior Siebel Business AnalystACT
- FTGraduate Software Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTLevel 1/2 Service Desk AnalystWA
- CCContract IT Assistant (Office Automation) 161031/ITA/541Asia
- CCProject SchedulerVIC
- FTCRM Developer - MS Dynamics CRMNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW
- TPBusiness Process AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Front End DeveloperSA
- CCBusiness Intelligence - DeveloperACT
- CCIT Infrastructure Project ManagerQLD
- CCSAP Finance Business AnalystNSW
- CCContract Systems Analyst (Oracle/Unix/WebLogic) 161020/SA/693Asia
- FTPre-Sales Consultant - HardwareVIC
- FTArcSight/SIEM Platform Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- CCBusiness Consultant - CPM SoftwareVIC
- FTLinux AdministratorNSW
- CCProgram ManagerACT
- CCJava Developers - Federal Government experienceNSW
- CCSenior Front End DeveloperVIC
- CCSystems AdministratorQLD
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCProject ManagerVIC