FWD Progress 10-27-2009: DJ Hero Hands-On

DJ Hero ScreenshotIt wasn’t quite the marathon session I was planning on, but yesterday I made it to the halfway point of Trine and I still love it. As it gets more difficult, I’m finding that there are quite a few ways to tackle each level depending on the character you’re using. Unless it deteriorates drastically during the second half, I’ll likely hold Trine alongside Shadow Complex as one of my top downloadable games of the year.

A Trine review is on tap for next week and I might bump Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games until then as well. I’ve got to finish up reviews of Axel & Pixel and Skeleton Key first. As for Brutal Legend, well its appeal has worn off for me, leaving only a mediocre game that I will likely never finish. I’ll hang onto it for a while and give it another shot though, I really want to like that game. Read More…

One game I am having little difficulty enjoying is DJ Hero. I was home with a copy by 9:00 AM and have already put a few hours into it. I can honestly say that it’s the most fun I’ve had with a music game since Rock Band came out and I am quite impressed with it thus far.

The turntable controller is fantastic and does not feel cheap in any way. It’s a bit small for my tastes and I would have liked to have seen more resistance in the record platter, but it’s very solid overall and I find it easy to use even with limited dexterity in my left hand.

The tutorial was easy to follow and I felt like I knew what I was doing rather quickly coming from other music/rhythm games . There was a bit of a learning curve when it came to some advanced techniques, but I jumped right in and have averaged four or five stars on every mix I’ve attempted at the Medium difficulty. At first I thought I’d breeze through it, but DJ Hero is already throwing some complicated patterns my way and it will likely be a few days until I bump it up to Hard and Expert.

The cross fader mechanic is the most difficult to master, especially once spikes are thrown into the mix. The center snap position of the fader is difficult to hit sometimes, but it’s also pretty forgiving. I could see the learning curve being steeper for those who are not familiar with real life DJ setups, but just about anyone that’s proficient at music games should be able to grasp it with some practise.

I was pretty worried about the track list and pre-made mashup formula of DJ Hero. I’ve been a fan of electronic music for a long time and still listen to a lot of house, minimal, electro, drum and bass and dubstep. While these genres are sorely underrepresented and are replaced with popular hits spanning 40 years, most of the mixes and mashups work so far and I find myself getting right into the tracks despite my deep hatred for groups like The Black Eyed Peas.

I’ll be spending many more hours with DJ Hero in the next few days and hope to have a review prepared within two weeks.