DJ Hero 2 • Page 2

Don't call it a comeback.

With two turntablists and a singer plugging away, it's clear that the slightly insular world of the DJ can work quite well in a social setting, but a range of new modes should help seal the deal.

Party play comes across from Guitar Hero, promising drop-in and drop-out co-op for up to three players without breaking the flow of the game. Elsewhere, Freestyle additions allow you to mix, scratch and sample freely at specific points in a track, opening up the field for creative competition.

Samples are now song-specific rather than generic across all offerings, freestyle crossfading will give you control of the game's racing line for certain sections of a tune, while scratching benefits from the same technology powering the game's improved voice recognition, meaning it can score your efforts even when you go off the map by judging how rhythmic your playing is.

Beyond that there will be new competitive modes, ranging from the likes of Accumulator, which sees you choosing when to 'bank' your streaks during a song, creating a meaty piece of risky strategising as you psych out your opponent, to things like Checkpoint races, which carve each track into discrete sections and task you with winning more of them than your rival.

The main event, however, promises to be the DJ Battle: a call-and-response game for two players that comes into its own when those freestyle sections pop up.

Musically, DJ Hero 2 is expanding outwards in terms of influences, finding room for everyone from Lady Gaga to the likes of Chemical Bros, Kanye West, and Dr Dre, while Deadmau5 takes on something of a starring role, as both a brand new playable character and a creative force behind some of the mixes.

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Deadmau5 was presumably included because his big plastic mouse head was fairly easy to model.

With over 85 artists and 70 distinct mash-ups, variety shouldn't be too much of a problem - unless you're hoping to hear the Goldberg Variations colliding with Stealer's Wheel. (There's always DJ Hero 3, though.)

There's no word yet on price - though Freestyle's hinting that you can expect it to be significantly lower this time - and the developer has yet to announce its policy on DLC transfers, although it is willing to say that you won't be able to put DJ Hero 1 songs into the second game on launch day and have the vocals already marked up for your microphone pleasure.

For a little less than a year's work, it's not a bad suite of features. DJ Hero 2 won't be the most drastic update, perhaps, but it promises to be a nice embellishment of the template. If the series goes the way of Guitar Hero, however, Freestyle's going to have to pull out something far more radical in the years ahead. This was always going to be the easy sequel - the next ones will be a lot harder to justify.

DJ Hero 2 is due out for PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 this autumn.

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