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Guitar Hero 2

Music video game by RedOctane for the Xbox 360

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Guitar Hero II - Channel your inner rockstar

  • Sep 16, 2007
Rating:
+5
Pros: Great music, great gameplay, easy to pick up. Loads of fun

Cons: Ho-hum graphics

The Bottom Line: Simply put, Guitar Hero II is a must-have for Xbox 360 console owners. Easy to learn and fun to play, this is a good kind of addiction.

Everyone wants be a rock star. Even those who say they don’t are lying. At one time or another, everyone has wished they were a rock star. And this is where Red Octane’s Guitar Hero II comes in. You have the chance to be that rockstar you always wanted to be. Does it deliver the goods? Does it strike a chord with players?

Read on, dear reader....

•• Story ••
There really isn’t a story except to say that you are the guitarist for an up and coming cover band. You start in gymnasiums and work your way up to playing sold-out amphitheaters. And that’s it. There is no narrative. Nor does this game really call for one. It works as is.

•• Gameplay ••
If you’re ever played Dance Dance Revolution, you’ll know the basics of Guitar Hero II. But the cool part is that the game comes with a guitar. Not a real one, but a special guitar shaped controller with buttons on the neck, a strum bar (in lieu of strings) and a whammy bar to make cool sounds. It even comes with a strap.

When you’re playing the game, you’ll see a 3D view of a guitar neck. Once the music plays and the song calls for guitar, buttons will come toward you. When they hit the end of the neck, you press the corresponding button on the guitar and hit the strum bar. Sounds easy, right? Well it gets very difficult as the notes and chords come fast and furious.

The notes thrown at you do a very good job of replicating the actual music in the song. While the buttons are not note for note accurate, they are darn close, considering they’re working with only 5 buttons. It’s quite cool to be playing along with songs you are very familiar with and getting a better idea as to how the songs were originally constructed.

As you’re on stage playing, you are constantly being judged by the console. If you miss notes, you’ll get an unpleasant sound, click, or beep and the note you were supposed to play won’t. Keep missing notes and your overall Rock rating will decline. As well, the audience will let you know what they think of you. If your Rock ratting stays in the red too long you’ll fail the song altogether and have to try again.

But when failure occurs, you are given the option to practice. I found this to be extremely helpful after difficult songs. To aid you in mastering the song, you can slow down the playback. Very helpful and user-friendly. This ensures that almost anyone can pick up the game and play it.

The difficulty goes from very easy to impossibly difficult. At least for me anyway. The Expert setting uses all kinds of chords and all the buttons on the neck. I suspect a real guitar player wouldn’t have such a tough time, but I’m not a guitar player. Though this game certainly gives you the feeling that you are. And in this regard the game is a whopping success.

No game would be complete without some kind of score. For each note you get right you get points. Keep playing notes correctly, and you can get multipliers to really jack your score up. But it gets even better. Some series of notes are in the shape of stars. Play the entire series correctly and your rock star meter fills. Want to fill it faster? Wiggle the whammy bar on long star notes and you’ll get even more in your rock star meter. Once you hit half way, you can unleash your rock star power and get a huge multiplier. To do this, simply, tilt the guitar up. Yes, the guitar also has motion detection!

•• Graphics ••
Guitar Hero II is not a graphically challenging game. It doesn’t call for amazing graphics and complex details. However it does deliver graphics that are fun and innovative. The whole time you are playing, your band is displayed in the background. The character that represents you is playing along and actually plays the notes as you play the, The lead singer sings the correct song. It’s actually quite interesting artistically. The game is colorful and fast moving and never hits any problems with framerate. The graphics are certainly good enough, but they won’t be a showpiece.

•• Sound ••
The meat and potatoes of this game is music. And with over 60 songs, this game delivers. Most of the songs I had heard of, but there were also some punk songs that I had not heard. Believe me, the game gets far more difficult when you don’t know the song! Along those lines, only a couple of the songs are by the original artist. Most are covers, but they are very well done. I didn’t know they were covers at first until my wife told me. As well, you can download more songs off Xbox Live, but they are little pricey at over $6 for 3 songs.

•• Multiplayer ••
There is no multiplayer over Live, but on the box, you can do co-op with you and your friend playing either lead guitar or bass. You can also challenge your friend by seeing who can get the highest score on the same song at the same time. This is very fun and a real challenge when it comes time to play guitar and trash talk!

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated T for teen and is only offensive if you object to rock music. There is some stuff by Guns n Roses and I really wish my son would stop requesting Cherry Pie by Warrant. But other than that, it’s harmless.

•• Conclusion ••
Simply put, Guitar Hero II is a must-have for Xbox 360 console owners. Easy to learn and fun to play, this is a good kind of addiction.


Recommended:
Yes

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About the reviewer
Jeffrey Kafer ()
Ranked #45
Voice over artist specializing in audiobook narration. Hear more at http://audiobook-voice-over.com/ and http://JeffreyKafer.com
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About this video game

Wiki

RedOctane's follow-up to the critically acclaimed rhythm game, Guitar Hero II comes to Xbox 360 and features a huge track list, more venues and new play modes than in the original game, and a goal to rock longer and harder than its predecessor. In this new release RedOctane has once again teamed up with veteran music game developer Harmonix for the sequel, and is using famed recording studio WaveGroup for its music production, who also recorded the covers for the licensed tracks in the original Guitar Hero. Bundle includes wired X-Plorer style guitar controller, guitar strap and decals.

Guitar Hero II game logo Guitar Hero II guitar bundle for Xbox 360 box contents

X-Plorer Guitar Controller included.
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Punk rock playable character sneering in Guitar Hero II
Classic Guitar Hero note highway action.
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Multiplayer action in Guitar Hero II
Single and multiplayer options.
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Character customization in Guitar Hero II
Deep character customization.
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Diverse characters on stage side by side in Guitar Hero II
Diverse playable characters.
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In-game concert venue seen from the crowds view in Guitar Hero 2
Live out your rock & roll dreams through a huge song list and range of venues.
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The Next Chapter in the Guitar Hero Experience
Rock the rhythm, lead, and bass guitar tracks in the follow-up sequel to Guitar Hero, now on Xbox 360. Form your guitar duo and shred riffs cooperatively or go head-to-head in all new multiplayer modes. With over 70 tracks to rock out to, you'll go from Guitar Hero to Guitar god in one press of a fret button. Choose from multiple rock characters and jam at concert venues that grow in size as your rock career progresses. You'll start your rock career playing small clubs and bars, but if you play ...
view wiki

Details

ESRB: T - (Teen)
Number of Players: 2
Publisher: RedOctane
Release Date: April, 2007

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