DJ Decks & FX - Review
When is a game not a game? Probably when that title is DJ Decks & FX. In fact, you could actually call this a simulation of twin decks which DJ's use in most clubs to get the floors pumping and the crowd jumping. Simulating a fully-featured set of decks and providing a somewhat large collection of house (the style of music) tunes, the game lets you get into the art of mixing without making you file for bankruptcy. The developers claim that they have simulated about €2000 worth of gear (about $3500 in Australian dollars) - from what we've seen that claim seems pretty accurate too.
|Change volume on each channel.|
As previously mentioned this game/program is quite different in that it is more of a DJ mixing title where you get to select the tracks, mix them up and keep the party going rather then going for high scores, killing bosses or completing levels. Also keep in mind this isn't a music creation title such as Music 2000 or MTV Music Generator. This program will teach you the tricks of mixing tracks together through a series of tutorials before setting you free on the decks.
|Using the sampler.|
As a mixing title your main objective is to move around sections of the decks and put on the records and then switch between them. Of course tracks can be sped up, slowed down, sampled, distorted and pretty much everything else to represent real DJ'ing. The software includes a tutorial which is essential for novices so you learn to handle the decks - it's a lot more daunting then it actually is. It will also be possible to mix well known vocals over classic tracks to remix your favourite songs. By utilising the USB headset you can even listen to individual tunes on one deck or check on recorded samples while your adoring crowd will hear the full impact of your DJ Set coming out through the speakers.
DJ Decks & FX includes three game modes. Studio mode allows you to create sets to replay at a later date, the Pro mode is for professional gamers who are used to the decks with no supports while the party mode - which is the easiest to get into and will consume most of your time - sees you spinning the decks with a computer controlled DJ who can take over when you get in trouble. This mode also allows the computer DJ to play a set if you just want to chill out and listen to the music.
|About to record a sample.|
The biggest downfall with DJ Decks & FX is the inability to rip music to the hard drive. This means the only music which you can use is that provided - the house music. It's a limited style, and indeed a somewhat acquired taste. If you prefer other styles of music such as rock, grunge or classical, or even other types of dance music such as rave, jungle or R&B then you'll be out of luck. This is really a shame. The developers were apparently all set to include hard drive support, but the lack of a release for the unit in PAL territories necessitated the non-inclusion of being able to rip music - and it hurts.
One thing is certain DJ Decks & FX is not pushing the Playstation 2 graphically. Most of the program is set around the decks and there is little else to look at or admire besides a few visual effects and some pretty colours. Everything is clear and easy to read while the front end and menus are fairly cool and easy to negotiate. It would have been nice if the developers had of included some crowds in the background, and even more so if they responded to your mixing to give you an idea how you are going. Still that's asking a lot from a company not even a year old. Perhaps in a sequel one day.
|The decks look nice enough.|
Sound obviously plays a major part in DJ Decks & FX. In fact this is probably the most crucial aspect of the title. With 70 odd tracks some of the more notable artists include Bob Sinclar, Junior Jack, Shapeshifters, Martin Solveig, and DJ Gregory. To be honest, even as a house type music selction, I was a little underwhelmed by the tracks. Perhaps it would have been better to cut the list in half but include a couple of more notable tracks. The sound quality is good enough and most importantly the mixing is accurate and sounds wonderful.
I'm sorry but DJ Decks & FX didn't do it for me. I like house music in general, so it's not like I'm some death metal freak and marked it down for that reason. The problem is that the tracks aren't great, and the inability to rip your own music hurts. This really is a title for those just interested in learning how to use decks, but it really isn't the same as running you own real-life decks - and party. Good, but not great.
Review By: David Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Clean interface and in-game graphics, but hardly awe inspiring.||50%|
|SOUND||You'd better like house music. The tracks are good, but not great.||60%|
|GAMEPLAY||Interesting for a while, but unless you want to mix you'll tire.||65%|
|VALUE||Plenty of tracks but this game really needs a hard drive to succeed.||50%|
|OVERALL||You must like house music to get any value out of this however the tracks aren't great and the inability to rip your own music really hurts longevity. DJ Decks & FX can only be recommended for those interested in mixing their own music.||60%|