Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crying Wolf – DJ Hero 2 Ultra Records Mix Pack Review

Well, don’t I feel like a conspiracy theorist.

Far from running around for several months declaring the not-so-harmonious death of my favorite music franchise several times over,I truly believed that the last pack (that in itself the last-last pack) was all there was, and after completing the slightly underwhelming last (last) one, I packed my turntable away, and lost myself in a sea of FPS games. Imagine my surprise when news of this seemingly random mix pack found it’s way into my mailbox. Done? Bug-eyed much?

Now imagine my amazement when the words Deadmau5, Benny Benassi and Yolanda Be Cool crossed my eyes.

Oh, I’m done declaring this series dead. Yes I am.

DJ Hero 2 “Ultra Mix Pack" (Downloadable Content)
For: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii (Songs sold as individual tracks)
Publisher: Activision/Freestyle Games
Price: 640 Microsoft Points, $7.99 PSN, 300 Wii points (per track)
Release: 4/19/2011

Reviewed on Expert difficulty; Individual songs on a 1-5 point scale, overall is by 10 and not an average.

Benny Benassi - House Music

As it stands, House Music was already a deep, bass heavy song, but FSG apparently wasn’t satisfied with completely buzzing your ears off with one of BB’s finest. No, I’m pretty sure they wanted to make your head explode with a high-tier track. It was a SUCCESS, with their manic style complimenting this already up tempo track with a range of effects that make it sound like it received a shot of adrenaline. It’s all deep lows and piercing effects here, with a challenging, tap heavy chart that has its scratches and samples paced just right to lend a feeling of control over the beat. Even the scratchdown>tap pattern from “Sexy Chick” makes a return here, and it managed to throw me off when it came back at me in reverse. Excellent, excellent track to kick things off, and I don’t say it lightly. It captured the energy of the original perfectly, and only changed things slightly to make it distinct as a DJH mix. Believe that I couldn’t stop myself from dancing in my seat.

Rating: 5/5

Deadmau5 - Sofi Needs A Ladder

Deadmau5 and Sofi’s affair first graced my ears in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and the fandom carried over into the (awesome) album 4x4=12, so I practically decided while downloading this DLC that it would be my favorite song in the pack. The sad truth is that, it is not. This however, does not mean it’s bad. It’s an oddly reverse take on the original, in that it starts out slow with lyrics from the END of the song, and then incorporates the rest about 2/3rds through for a better paced finish. While this change really affects how the song sounds and feels (and it does feel odd if you’re used to the original), it’s still undeniably Deadmau5. Call me crazy, but FSG must know that he’s an avid gamer, because this is a pretty challenging track that actually had my fingers cramping a bit midway through. At the end of the day however, it’s a good track, but not the great one I was expecting. I also can’t shake the feeling that it seems like a bit of a missed opportunity to mess with Sofi’s lyrics as well. Listening to her call out her addiction in metaphors in the original seemed ripe for mixing, but even if they weren’t feeling creative enough for the entire song, having them intact would’ve been better than cutting most of them out, similar to the way “Move for Me” was charted. I feel like it’s the one thing holding this track from the greatness it should’ve been.

Rating: 3/5

Yolanda Be Cool - We Speak No Americano

Fun fun fun. This track, whose band doubles as a Pulp Fiction reference (trivia!) has much going for it, already sampling the humorous song Tu vuò fà l'americano. As a result, it has a nutty, goofy feel to it, with samples in all the right places and enough mixed challenge to keep you guessing. The various ways FSG has managed to keep this game tricky is impressive, and I don’t know who can hit that series of taps/scratches without spraining something, but power to them. As good as I am, I’m pretty sure I broke something on my first attempt. Don’t let this ward you off though, because the song is so much fun that it becomes irrelevant about halfway through. I had fun with this one, and I love the sound they came up with for it. As I mentioned about House Music earlier, this is an example of a remix shaking things up enough to make it different from the original, with just enough flavor to keep it familiar. Kudos.


This is prime. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say FSG is pulling out all the stops, making a case for DJ Hero’s continued existence with an outburst of talent and wit. The in-game “hero feed” says that this is the final DLC pack for the game. Excuse me if I have trouble believing that after hearing it so many times before. I have faith in them. Ten DLC packs spanning twenty-nine songs later, I’m still on board, and I’m still dancing to what I consider one of the best game soundtracks ever. Anyone listening to this music and deciding the series needs to close is outright insane. There couldn’t be a stronger case for this to go on.

Rating: 9.0

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