Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
Musical rhythm games seem to have found the magic combination. You get to be a totally kickass rockstar, without, you know ... being a totally kickass musician. Many a party or gathering has been dominated in just this way. The thing is, though, rock stardom may not be everyone's dream. Maybe some people want to be the epitome of club cool: the DJ. For those who prefer the club to the mosh pit, and can also cough up the $120 cover charge, here comes DJ Hero.
DJ Hero's crown jewel is the turntable controller. Consisting of a record platter with three buttons, a crossfader and an effects knob, the controller is your gateway to rockin' crowds. Gameplay is simple enough: All you do is press the corresponding button to the musical jewel on screen. It's basically the same game formula as Guitar Hero, which makes a guest appearance allowing a second player to use the guitar to play alongside your DJ set. The crossfader and effects knob offer a new wrinkle to the old formula, as does scratching — which is all wannabe DJs wanna do anyway. Songs start out easy enough, but can quickly become pretty difficult at the higher levels. The crossfader could use a little bit of work though; in use, it seems to be a little wonky, which will sometimes cause you to miss mixes you didn't really miss.
The songs aren't so much mixed as they are mashed-up, creating some interesting and damn danceable beats. The 93-song track list, however, seems to be made by mashing up the same 15 songs, which leads to some repetition. (Seriously who needs to hear Rhianna's "Disturbia" that many damn times?) For the most part, though, the music is more hit than miss. You'd only be fooling yourself if you thought DJ Hero would prepare you for actual DJ stardom, but it does bring enough star power to be a crowd-pleaser at your next party.