In DJ Hero 2, the developer, FreeStyleGames, has focused heavily on a lot of the complaints that players had from the first turntable-based rhythm series.
This makes DJ Hero 2 most assuredly an evolutionary game, not revolutionary. And at first glance, gamers could easily mistake this for its predecessor. Once players dig into the game, the differences become obvious, but FreeStyleGames has left the fundamentals almost completely alone. Only one major feature was added — freestyle sections — and it was implemented well.
In the rhythm genre, it is common for sequels to try to pack in new features while ignoring the old, glaring problems. Not so here.
The one major addition, freestyle mode, expands on a feature in the first game in which players could trigger pre-set samples of music during certain sections of songs. Now, during the set "freestyle" sections, players can essentially create their own unique and custom beats by fading in and out of certain parts of the song, scratching and so on. This is a welcome change because these freestyle sections are sometimes some of the most fun parts of a song.
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One complaint about the first game was that multiplayer was basic, but this time, the developers have put a lot of effort into fixing this. Two players can operate their own turntables side by side right off the bat, and the casual party mode is implemented well. New casual players at a party won't be confused or frustrated by a glut of options.
As for song selection, I can't help but think that this game feels a lot more poppy and hip-hop-focused, at least at first, compared to the first game. There are a large number of unlockable songs and mixes that are well done and techno- and house-oriented, but initially, the majority of songs are hip-hop, giving the game a much more mainstream feel.
In the end, this is a much improved game over the original. All the little tweaks and new freestyle section add up to create a solid party game. Any fans of the original should definitely give this game a try, and if anyone was on the fence about the original, this is certainly a wonderful starting point.