Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DJ Hero Video Game Review

Product Name: DJ Hero for xBox360

My Summary Statement: A Review From a Mom of Tweens -- We Like It!

My rating: 4 stars out of 5 = I Like It

Note: The Amazon Vine program provided me with a demo kit which had 4 songs (not 93 that is on the full game) and a wired turntable (the regular product’s turntable is wireless), so my review is based on limited game play.

Parents, note that the ERSB rating is T = Teen for lyrics and "mild suggestive themes". Since my demo kit has so few songs I can't comment on the song lyrics. Product information also states ERSB rating does not apply to additional downloads.

Our family uses the xBox360 and we own and use three different Guitar Hero (GH) games and own two GH guitars.

We don’t normally listen to mixed music or hip hop but my kids and I still had fun with this game. Not only do the kids think the sound of the mixed and scratched music is fun, we like that the songs are from a variety of music genres that they already know with some new-to-my-kids (but not new to me) songs. The full game has dance, pop, rock and hip hop. The songs include some classic rock and the songs are from the 1960s to present.

The games can be played solo with one turntable that comes in the bundle pack, or with two turntables (which requires an additional purchase). The second player can also use their GH guitar so by using DJ Hero you can inject fresh song tracks to your GH game play. Also if one person (friend or family member) prefers GH to DJ Hero in the end they can still play a two player game together using DJ Hero. The kids are already asking me to buy a second turntable and the full game with 93 songs.

Because our family plays video games together as a family and because visiting kids often play with my kids, everyone in our family is most interested in games that are flexible and are multi-player. DJ Hero fits that bill.

From a mom’s perspective, I’ll share how my two kids and I liked it to give you an idea of how different players of different ages experience the game. One of my sons is a natural at Guitar Hero (and also has been playing a real guitar for almost a year). He wanted to play with DJ Hero as it was something new and different. He took to DJ Hero immediately and found it fun (not frustrating at all). My other son doesn’t do so well with GH and avoids playing it was interested in DJ Hero. He is doing great with DJ Hero and was surprised to find Guitar Hero so challenging for hand/eye coordination with the GH guitar, but finds DJ Hero’s turntable easy and fun (and has no problem doing complex moves on other xBox360 games with the normal controller). Both kids laugh and talk while they play, so far no anger or frustration!

I tested the product and found some challenges with the turntable that my kids didn’t find to be an issue. Most problematic for me is I can’t find a good place to put the turntable so it is comfortable that is also a steady, non-slipping surface. The design doesn’t have enough grippers on its legs so it slides around easily. When I sat on the hardwood floor and placed the unit on the floor in front of me my back cramps up from bending over and down to reach the turntable plus was looking up toward the TV. The floor is not the most comfortable place to sit either and my legs fell asleep in the middle of some songs. I tried putting it on my lap and that didn’t work as it slides around. Losing contact with the buttons messes up the game’s whole score and was frustrating for me. (I am curious how others are positioning the turntable and how they can keep it from sliding around.)

Perhaps the best idea would be to sit on a chair or couch and use a coffee table for the turntable surface (I can’t test this because the wire is not long enough on my demo kit, the normal product is wireless). Sitting on the front of a chair and leaning forward may not be so comfortable and definitely not for long periods of time, and I still worry about the slipping of the turntable. If the whole bottom surface had a rubber bottom or something similar (like a skin) you could sit back with your knees angled up or sit flat and use your lap but the current design is too slippery to allow that.

You are basically tensed up during the game play with much less freedom of movement than any other xBox360 game requires. I don’t know how this can be remedied; I’m just stating a fact. Both the guitar for the Guitar Hero and the regular controller are much more flexible with one’s position, standing, sitting upright, or lounging back, and with the ability to move around during game play to use whichever is most comfortable at the moment is a big advantage over the turntable whose design is just challenging due to the nature of its design. Maybe players who like to be able to move around or shift position during game play may not like those restrictions on their physical movement.

As for what is on the screen, as with GH and Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) the player must focus on their section of the screen that shows their moves. Others in the room can watch the background images which are bright and ever-moving, just like those in GH and DDR of crowds, dancers, and with DJs.

In summary the game is fun for both solo and multi-players, so I’m rating it 4 stars = I Like It. The reason for not getting 5 stars is due to the challenge of the turntable sliding around and the difficulty with finding a comfortable way to sit that allows for proper game play.

Disclosure: I did not receive any payment to write this review. This demo kit was provided to me by the Amazon Vine review program. My demo game has 4 songs on it, not 93 and is not sold in stores. My wired turntable is not sold in stores (a wireless, better version is). The retail value of this demo kit is $0 and I am prohibited from reselling it.

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1 comment:

demonpack said...

Thanks for your input, DJ Hero has a big price tag and I'm probably going to wait on this until the price dips a bit. Still sounds like its worth picking up.