After years of celebrating rock & roll culture and making gamers feel like guitar gods, Activision turns its attention to hip-hop pioneers like Kool Herc and Grand Wizard Theodore by offering players more than 80 original mixes to blend, juggle, and scratch in DJ Hero. Featuring a variation of the "note highway" mechanic popularized by Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and incorporating a turntable-and-mixer peripheral controller, DJ Hero finds gamers manipulating a crossfader and effects knob with one hand, while using the other hand to press three gameplay buttons located atop a fully rotatable faux record. Instead of increasing difficulty by making players account for more buttons, DJ Hero begins to incorporate more scratching and crossfader movement in an attempt to foster a more authentic feel.
Developer FreeStyleGames worked closely with world-renowned artists DJ Shadow, DJ Z-Trip, DJ AM, and Cut Chemist to create a realistic experience, and all four DJs contributed original mixes and mash-ups. DJ Hero also features DJ Jazzy Jeff and Grandmaster Flash as playable characters, but the game does not mine its track list solely from the world of hip-hop, featuring portions of more than 100 individual songs from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Beck, Nirvana, Daft Punk, and Tears for Fears. The game takes players to a variety of locations designed to mimic real-life party hotspots, and gamers looking for multiplayer action can hook up multiple controllers for competitive "DJ vs. DJ" mode, or the co-operative "DJ + DJ" and "DJ + Guitar" modes.