Rhythm games are older than most people seem to think. I've had a love affair with hitting notes to music ever since I learnt kicking and punching was all in the mind back in the late 90s. Parappa the Rapper might have been my first exposure to the genre, but afterwards I've gone on to enjoy the DDRs, DJ Portable MAXs and, yes, Rock Bands and Guitar Heroes of the world.
Enter holiday season 2010, and DJ Hero 2 is currently the freshest, purest rhythm action game on the market today. FreeStyleGames has picked up the baton dropped by the obscure (but lovable) Beatmania and neatly mixed it with the bright lights and flashing spectacle of Amplitude to create an experience so tightly packed with exciting button presses that you'll be permanently stuck within some kind of synaesthesia-addled bliss as soon as the turntable starts spinning.
Slicker presentation is noticeable before the needle drops, with an Apple-inspired industrialism instead of the original's cartoony graffiti. Dapper white menus let you fiddle with reams of options as you scroll through the list trying to find the mash-up of Edwin Starr's War with Stevie Wonder's Superstition, until you realise it needs to be unlocked first.
The soundtrack is absolutely pitch-perfect, and affords an incredible amount of versatility to the player. Its genre choices lean predominantly towards electro and mainstream hip-hop, with a little bit of pop and disco thrown in for flavour. That's fine by me, and plenty of the individual tracks mixed into the mash-ups are already bona fide floor-fillers.
Like the original, there's a very genuine thrill at working your way through the tracklist and experiencing the way the game cuts and scratches the bespoke mix. Because a little star power never hurt anybody, joining FreeStyleGames' considerable in-house talent are tailored mixes from, amongst others, RZA, DJ Qbert, Deadmau5 and David Guetta. They're all very good.