DJ Hero 2 E3 Impressions

Activision is prepping the follow up to DJ Hero, the #1 new IP of 2009. We had a chance to take the sequel, DJ Hero 2, for a spin.

When DJ Hero released to the masses last year, it was very well received. The game combined tried and true rhythm-based gameplay with mashups from top musical talents. The game was nearly perfect. However, that hasn’t stopped Activision from improving on that successful formula.

Two Turntables and a Microphone

In fact, Activision listened very closely to fan feedback to ensure that DJ Hero 2 is the ultimate home party experience. This time around, they’re bringing gamers a much more social game. Multiplayer is a focal point, so much so, they’ve added the ability for someone to join with a microphone and sing the vocals all while the “DJ” cuts up the track. Since DJ Hero is about mashups, it really adds quite a challenge to the vocalist as the lyrics will switch back and fourth between the two songs as the DJ crossfades.

Adding a mic to the mix isn’t the only new feature in DJ Hero 2. Activision is also encouraging two DJs to go head-to-head in DJ Battle mode. Each DJ, armed with a video game controller version of the “wheels of steel” will battle it out, trying to one up each other. The track will switch back and fourth between the two players while each person plays a game of DJ-styled horse. Even in the normal 2 player modes, there is a heavy push toward competition, both online and offline. Visual ques, such as a new score “totem pole” will give the better player bragging rights.


One new touch is the revamped freestyle. Instead of picking from a set list of freestyle sounds effects, the game actually grabs sounds right from the track you are playing. Gone are the out of place “Yeaaahhhh boyyeeeee” and replaced is a true to life DJ cut and sample. There’s also something called freestyle scratching, which gives you a zone on the “highway” to unleash you scratching skills. The result has your cuts sounding like you are a professional DJ.

The game promises much more talent than the first game’s already star-studded roster. So far the likes of Lady Gaga and Usher have been revealed, having their tracks mashed up by world renowned DJ’s like Deadmau5 and David Guetta. During our playtime we saw much of today’s hottest music, along with many classics such as Warren G’s “Regulate”.

Life of the Party

No one is happy when a party ends, and Activision knows this. So they have implemented seamless blending from one track to another. Instead of getting a score and it stopping at the end of your track, each track will blend into the next track in your set list. You can even create a set list of up to 30 tracks, for hours worth of scratching and mixing.

Given the amount of downloadable songs available for Guitar Hero, many expected DJ Hero to feature a similar DLC model, releasing hit after hit for user to download and personalize their library. However, that wasn’t the case at all. As of this writing, only a handful of additional tracks have been made available for download. With DJ Hero 2, there’s plans to support DLC much more along the lines of Guitar Hero. We also asked if tracks from the original DJ Hero could be “imported” into DJ Hero 2, and as of right now, they said that there are “plans” to do just that, but it’s not set in stone.

DJ Hero 2 will be available this October as a standalone game, a bundle with a turntable controller for $99.99, and a ultimate “Party bundle” which includes the game, two turntable controllers and a microphone for $149.99.