Playback: DJ Hero & DJ Hero 2

In a recent interview, Bob Kotick admitted that DJ hero was ‘a mistake’ and that the franchise took focus away from the “nourishment and care” needed to innovate Guitar Hero.

How many people really want to unleash their inner DJ?… and then out of the people who do want to unleash their inner DJ, how many want to do it in the context of a game where you earn points, versus just taking a DJ deck or tools on their Macintosh and actually being a DJ?

Bob is missing the point.  As we all know, DJ Hero is nothing like being a DJ as you can’t mix tunes.

The equivalent would be launching the next Call Of Duty but giving you a bright orange feather duster rather than a gun. It may look like Call Of Duty, it may sound like Call of Duty but if you can’t shoot bad guys then it’s not Call of Duty.

[videoyoutube]The odd thing is, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t use the DJ Hero controller to mix tunes, it has all the right buttons and sliders and by using a headset as your monitoring device and the massive library of tunes on the disc, you could have a decent party.


You could even turn mixing into a game, it would be simple for the software to monitor if your two tunes are beat matched correctly, every tune would have key points where to mix and if you hit them – you score.

If Activision had include a ‘proper’ DJ mode which allowed you to try mixing for real, perhaps the game may have performed better. Rather than create a game based on DJ’ing, they created a game and forced DJ’ing on top.

And yet, I’m recommending DJ Hero in the Playback feature because, despite it being a massive missed opportunity, it’s still great fun.

Originally released when music games were extremely popular, DJ Hero suffered somewhat from asking you to spend £100 on yet another plastic controller. An eclectic tracklist that centered on American rap rather than club tunes also confused buyers who were understandably nervous at being asked to shell out such a large sum of money on a brand new gaming IP.

When we reviewed DJ Hero back November 2009, Alex gave the game a solid 8/10 but later posted that he was ‘bored of it’.

Do I regret the £100 outlay needed to gain entry into the DJ Hero club? Yes, I do.

It was, in my defense, brilliant fun for the first couple of days, but with the rush of new songs out of the way and only my own scores to battle against, the game has lost much of its verve and the rather expensive bit of plastic is now just sat there under my TV waiting for something else to use it on.

Father time has helped with most of these problems. DJ Hero can be picked up cheap (£22 including delivery on but you don’t want that, what you want is DJ Hero 2 which is an extra tenner but gives you a turntable that’s superior, the DJ Hero 2 disc and a free copy of DJ Hero 1.

DJ Hero 2 polished up DJ Hero 1 and added in an excellent single player campaign and a shed load more new tunes which included some – shock horror – proper club music. The game also has a rather nifty online DJ battle mode and you can now sing (or rap) using a mic.

If you shop around you can pick up a DJ Hero pack at a bargain price, I grabbed mine when Best Buy opened a new store for just £15.

With both DJ Hero games you will have a library of around 150 songs and quite a few evenings worth of entertainment and, like the other Hero titles, the game comes into its own when you have a few mates round.

Not bad for a ‘mistake’.



  1. I love the DJ Hero games – I actually think they are brilliant.

    Sure, it isn’t a ‘DJ experience’ in the same way the Guitar Hero isn’t a ‘Guitar experience’ (as you are just essentially pressing buttons in time to a track), but its fun & it does it’s job of making you feel part of it.

    DJ Hero 2 was improved in almost every way – The two main points to note were a better online experience & the more freeform ways of scratching, tapping & adding samples.

    DJ Hero 2 still sees some love from me & the wife from time to time (mainly battling other people online). DJ Hero (the first one) sadly is gathering dust, but there are still a few funky tunes on there.

    Besides, the trade in value is awful! :)

  2. I’ve been scratch mixing for over 20 years (before you ask I’m 41) and echo your words Tuffcub, while DJ Hero is nothing like a real turntable experience, it’s a pretty good game and a lot of fun. I got mine for about £25 I think and will probably pick up v2 one of these days, given the inclusion of the controller, it’s a really good game at a great price.

    Whats a real shame is the cancellation of Scratch the Ultimate DJ, shows what we are missing – which would have given a real DJ experience give or take I reckon. There is a chance we’ll see this one day from what little I know.

    • DJ Hero 2 could have had a ‘real’ DJ mode in it though. Two decks, use the fade for pitch control and another button for the crossfader… Shame.

  3. Played this the other week and it was fun, but its the same as guitar hero for me: good fun now and again, around a mates house, but not something I could hammer overnight, ie mass effect. This type of game doesn’t do much for me.

  4. i loved DJ Hero 1 and was so addicted to it but i didnt get addicted to DJ Hero 2 and stopped playing it after a couple of days.

  5. DJ Hero was just Guitar Hero for chavs.

    • no chavs like dubshit and grime DJ hero was classic dance tunes and house with a twist of every other genre DJ hero for me is way more engaging than the guitar miles harder too

      • chavs like water too is that no good as well now. dubstep is a great British sound.

      • Playing a fake plastic guitar is fork hunts. I play guitar and its the only day forward. Dubstep is slick too. Cant beat fresh, new beats.

      • Dear lord are kiddies still raving about this ‘new’ dubstep sound?

        I remember it the first time, my prediction for the next come back is speed garage. Mmmm Sugar Daddy :)

      • You mean 187 Lockdown may make a comeback yet?? O_o

      • Whilst some dubstep is ok, most of it is utter drivel. And it’s a crime that it’s labelled as dance music…

      • Oh, and I almost agree with TC, but I think it’ll be the 2 Step sound that comes back with a vengeance.

  6. Bbq, few beers, loads of mates round, it could be awesome….you have got me thinking now, good read :-)

  7. I picked dj hero 2 up last week for £15 from game new it is good but dj hero 1 isn’t as good as the second one

    • No,i agree – the 2nd one was much improved IMO.

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