- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Free Style Games
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Music/ Rhythm
- Pros: Great song list; fun gameplay; party play; clean presentation
- Cons: Too hard to "sing" in vocal mode; no guitar parts
DJ Hero 2 features more than 80 tracks that mash up popular pop, hip hop, electro, and rock songs into awesome sounding mixes. Just like the first game, the songs have been carefully selected to have as wide of an appeal as possible. You may not like hip hop or pop music, but it is hard not to enjoy the way the songs are presented here. Everything just sounds so good, and the mixes are great.
Empire Mode is DJ Hero 2's version of a career mode, and unlike most music games that try to give you a story and make it feel like a "career", Empire Mode is mostly just a list of songs that you play through in order to unlock new ones. And, honestly, I kind of like it that way. No one cares about music game stories. At all. We don't need them.
A new mode in DJ Hero 2 is Party Play where the game automatically plays random songs and players can jump in and jump out whenever they want. The idea is that you could turn the game on and have it playing music whether people are plying it or not, but people can jump in and play without it interrupting the music.
There are also two-player battles that feature back and forth DJ battles where you try to outdo each other. It is pretty cool, and much better than a typical high score chase. These can be played both locally or online.
One notable improvement is that the crossfade sections are a lot friendlier this time around. In the first game you had to be pretty precise in moving the crossfader back and forth and it resulted in a lot of broken streaks. In DJ Hero 2 the window for crossfading is much wider, and you aren't penalized for not getting it exactly back in the center anymore. This makes the game much easier to play.
DJ Hero 2 also has a vocal mode similar to Guitar Hero or Rock Band where you're scored on pitch. The problem is that because the songs are all chopped up and mashed together in DJ Hero, it can be difficult to actually "sing" anything. It just doesn't work all that well. Also, the guitar mode has been cut from the game, which is a bit of a letdown. In DJ Hero 1 you could play a handful of songs that had guitar parts with your GH / RB guitar controller, which was kind of fun. But now its gone.
Visually, DJ Hero 2 is a nice looking game. You don't really notice much while you're actually playing, but the clubs and parties your DJ plays at are nicely detailed and look great. The DJs look good, and you can also use your Xbox 360 Avatar as a DJ as well, and nothing beats having DJ Optimus Prime (yes, I bought the Optimus Prime helmet for my avatar) scratching at your party. The menus are also noteworthy because they are very clean and great looking. Everything is in simple black and white and just looks classy. I like it.
The sound is also very good overall. The songs all sound great. No complaints here.
One final noteworthy thing is the price. You can buy the game by itself for $60 if you already have a turntable from the first game laying around. Or you can buy a game / turntable bundle for $100, which is $20 cheaper than the original bundle and probably the sweet spot for price. There is also a two turntable, plus game, plus microphone bundle for $150 if you plan on playing the game at parties. Not too bad. The turntables aren't any different from the original release, just in color (white), so there isn't any need to buy a new one to "upgrade".