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Guitar Hero II Review

“(Insert your city’s name) are you ready to rock? I said, (insert your city’s name) , are you ready to rock?” Oh sorry, I am still in rockstar mode after playing Guitar Hero II. It is very easy to slip into this mode and start to believe that you are a rockstar after playing Guitar Hero II for a few hours. The game lets you pretend you are the lead guitarist in a rock band or bassist in two-player cooperative mode and jam to a large list of classic rock songs. Some of the songs in Guitar Hero II include Sweet Child O’Mine by Guns N’ Roses, You Really Got Me by Van Halen, Shout at the Devil by Motley Crue, Cherry Pie by Warrant, Message in a Bottle by The Police, Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas, and more. I will guarantee you have heard most or all the regular songs in the game and you should enjoy jamming to them unless you don’t like hard rock music. If that is the case then Guitar Hero II may not be for you. If you have played the original Guitar Hero on PlayStation 2 then you will feel right at home with Guitar Hero II. Guitar Hero II is very similar to the original, but with more features and new songs for you to master.

The music and sound effects in Guitar Hero II are top notch as you would expect, since the whole object of the game is to play music. Most of the songs are sung and played by cover bands instead of the originals, but RedOctane and Harmonix did a great job of finding bands that sound very close to the originals and unless you really know the song you may have a hard time telling the difference on a lot of them. There are not a ton of sound effects besides the music, but they all fit well with the game and I have nothing bad to say about them.

The graphics are also well done and enjoyable to look at while watching someone else play the game. I say this, since while you are playing you will not have time to take your eyes off the notes streaming down the screen to see the band members jamming in the background. I don’t think Harmonix created new graphics for the Xbox 360 version, but they were able to use the power of the Xbox 360’s graphics processor to make them look cleaner than the PS2 version of Guitar Hero II. Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 also has more songs than the PS2 version.

The basic gameplay of Guitar Hero II is the same as in the original Guitar Hero and also Frequency and Amplitude for PlayStation 2 that were also developed by Harmonix. If you are familiar with any of these games then you will feel right at home. If you haven’t played any of them then here is the basic idea, dots come down the screen in five different columns that are color-coded and match the buttons on the neck of the guitar. As the notes travel past the circles at the bottom of the screen you have to make sure you are pressing the correct color coded button and then stroke the strum bar on the body of the guitar. You can also shake the whammy bar while holding long notes for bonus points. This is the basic concept, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially on the harder levels where you have to use all five neck buttons and switch between the different cords while strumming to the beat. This is as close as you are going to get to playing a real guitar without buying one and taking lessons. Guitar Hero II takes air guitar to the next level and anyone that has ever pretended to play a guitar while listening to their favorite music will enjoy this game. On top of the controls above if you do well enough you will have the option to enable “Star Power” for bonus points by moving the guitar’s neck vertical like a real rockstar.

Playing the Training mode at first will help you learn the basic techniques that will help you succeed in the game. After you have gone through the training you can enjoy Easy mode to unlock a bunch of songs and practice the basics, but it is not until you move up to Medium mode and above that you will be able to unlock even more songs and earn money from the concerts you perform to buy more songs, guitars, characters, and guitar paint schemes. The Xbox 360 version also has downloadable content that lets you expand the game even further after you have beaten all the songs included on the disc.

Final Verdict

What else can I say? If you like rock music, always wanted to be in a band and/or enjoy playing air guitar then you need Guitar Hero II. Guitar Hero II is very addictive and will keep pulling you back for more. Playing with a friend in co-op mode is even more fun as you both get to play at the same time playing lead and bass guitar. Why are you still reading this? Go buy Guitar Hero II now and jam out tonight!

Score

9.0 out of 10

Comments [1]

  • Erickarim - January 7th, 2008 at 2:28 am
    Erickarim Avatar

    last night i finally played guitar hero ( i had done it in bestbuy but only half a song or so ). first:
    i love you can change the guitar to lefty. made it a hole loot easier. its fun for the most part. but tempo on songs is weird.
    8.5 out of 10 motorboats eric’s seal of approval. !!!

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Guitar Hero II Review

Related Information

Posted by: cnc137
Date: January 5, 2008
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Harmonix
Website: GuitarHero.com
Release Date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Rhythm
Number of Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Teen
System Reviewed: Xbox 360

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Categories: Xbox 360 Reviews, PlayStation 2 Reviews, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Reviews

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