21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I loved Guitar Hero. I thought it was fantastic. Guitar Hero II is even better! Great songs, great gameplay, quite addictive. A must buy :)
So first, how this game works. You have a special controller that looks like a guitar. If you have one from Guitar Hero (I), it will work so you won't have to buy another one. You get 5 buttons on the fret (the thin part on the left) and then a "push" toggle in the center of the guitar. So you're hammering down strings on the fretboard by pressing colored buttons, and you're "strumming" by pushing down on the toggle in the guitar's center. It's actually quite fun, although "real" guitar players have a fit because the notes are of course not in the right place and when they try to really play the song, it doesn't work properly.
But back to our fun air guitar playing :) They have a fantastic blend of songs on this. The intriguing part of any music game is finding songs that every single person likes. I imagine it's impossible. There are songs on here that I dislike that I'm sure other people love. Then again they have "Surrender" and "Message in a Bottle" which I find amazingly fun to play, which I'm sure some people hate with a passion. Hopefully there's a middle ground here!
The game moves you from club to club, and you have to pass 3 out of 4 songs at each club to move along. You go through some classic locations like the Rat Celler in Boston. You get to choose your character from a number of pre-sets (both male and female, hurrah!!) and even choose your guitar. The songs get trickier as you progress.
When you unlock songs in career mode you can then play them whenever you want in the casual playing mode both for one or two players. It's great fun to rock out with a friend with the music blasting!
Then there's always going back to get perfect scores - and increasing the difficulty to get to special songs that the Easy People can't see.
The graphics are pretty good - but really, when your fingers are flying and you're trying to push the buttons in super-fast-time (that's a musical term), how can you possibly even see what those on screen characters are doing in the background? That's more to entertain whoever is watching you. Still, I like that the audience waves lighters during the quiet parts of songs :)
If I have a complaint, it's the same complaint I had with the first one - that sometimes their prompts show up OVER THE FRET BOARD so you can't see what the upcoming notes are! Surely some of the testers must have realized this - or were the testers all so glazed at that point that they knew the songs by heart and weren't having to look at the screen?
Still, it's a minor issue. Definitely a game to get, that is great fun for anybody who loves rock music!
Here are the songs you begin with, to whet your appetite!
Shout at the Devil / Mother / Surrender / Woman / Strutter / Heart-Shaped Box / Message in a Bottle / You Really Got Me / Monkey Wrench / Them Bones / Search and Destroy / Tattooed Love Boys / Cherry Pie / Who Was In My Room Last Night? / Girlfriend / Can't You Hear Me Knockin'
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2006
Guitar Hero was something of a sleeper hit last year. Developer RedOctane delivered an excellent rhythm game that played quite unlike any other console game with its guitar controller and deep list of playable songs. Despite its pricey package, Guitar Hero sold and became a quick hit, garnering almost as much gaming media attention as 2005 classics like God Of War and Resident Evil 4. RedOctane's readied up Guitar Hero 2, and does the series continue to deliver a deep experience or is it a one-hit wonder?
Without a question, Guitar Hero 2 is better than its predecessor in most ways, though the gameplay mechanics haven't changed much at all. The guitar controller, bundled with either Guitar Hero or Guitar Hero 2, works as well as always. The notes in each song are played by holding one of five colored frets on the guitar while strumming the controller's strum bar. There's even a whammy bar for those distorted, drawn-out notes. If you've played Guitar Hero, you'll feel right at home with the controller. It's no surprise, this guitar wasn't broken and RedOctane didn't need to fix a darn thing.
There are a few new things added to the mix. Three-string notes will pop up on the Hard and Extreme difficulties and can really throw you off. Also, hammer-ons, which weren't very effective in Guitar Hero, are done much better here. The result is a perfectly improved experience, with little to no frustrations coming from the controller itself. Guitar Hero's a lot like golf; the only person you can blame for not doing well is yourself. Also like golf, the only way to get better at the game is to practice. Fortunately, Guitar Hero 2 has an extensive practice mode that actually lets you pinpoint individual sections in songs, slow them down, and practice them until you can't miss a beat. I'll quote my roommate Alan, "Practice mode actually makes you better."
The track list is something most Guitar Hero fans have become familiar with, even weeks before the game's release, but those of you in the dark will be happy to know that top rock artists like Foo Fighters ("Monkey Wrench"), Nirvana ("Heart-Shaped Box"), and Black Sabbath ("War Pigs") make an appearance. Some older groups are also there, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, with the 9+ minutes of guitar solo pain in "Free Bird." I was very happy to see some metal bands thrown into the mix, like Avenged Sevenfold, Shadows Fall, and Lamb Of God, but RedOctane earned the most bonus points in my book by including All That Remains' "Six" as an unlockable song. It's a current favorite of mine, after all, and it almost made my hands bleed when I kicked up the difficulty to Hard and tried to play it. The different levels of songs are unlocked in the familiar career mode, and it's as fun as always to earn money, unlock secret songs, outfits, and characters, and go for those difficult five-star reviews.
I have to admit that Guitar Hero 2 is noticeably harder than the original. The reason for this isn't because of the notes themselves, in fact, some of the songs are incredibly easy. Most of the difficulty comes from brutally long songs that require a lot of stamina. As I said, "Free Bird" is over 9 minutes long-that's asking a lot of your left hand for the frets and right hand for the strumming. While I'll admit I play the game on the Normal difficulty setting, I've tried a large amount of the songs on Hard and I've only beaten a few. "Free Bird" on a higher difficulty setting is just obscenely difficult.
Guitar Hero didn't really wow anyone with an explosive visual performance but it did have a wild art style and decently interesting environments to play in. This time around the background camera angles get a little closer to your player, allowing you to see him strum on his virtual guitar while you shred away on your controller. Some of the visual effects light up the screen and add a nice touch, like the fire effects that come from your player's hands as he strums on-screen. The environments deform and change in appearance during Encores, and the final shape-shifting venue was particularly interesting. The re-recordings are hit ("War Pigs", "Free Bird") and miss ("Beast And The Harlot"); but this isn't surprising to me. The same thing happened last year, and I'd be happy to see the actual recordings make it around for Guitar Hero 3. I'm very happy to report that RedOctane input an option that allows you to turn off that annoying scratching noise that occurs whenever you screw up a note-this sound effect was extremely distracting in Guitar Hero and it can be silenced once and for all in the sequel. I usually know when I screwed up a note, I don't need an annoying sound to rub it in
Guitar Hero 2 does nothing to change its predecessor's direction. It's essentially a fine-tuned update to last year's hit, and that's just fine with me. If you as much as watched someone else play the original, you simply can't miss out on the sequel. If last year's "Bark At The Moon" and "Cowboys From Hell" weren't enough for you, "Free Bird" will be. I referenced "Free Bird" five times throughout this review; if nothing else, play this game just for a hands-on experience with this classic. The only improvements I could suggest would be to include the real song recordings. Guitar Hero is one of those games that doesn't ever really need to be reinvented. That's not to say that something couldn't be done to make it even more fun, but even after all of the hand cramps, there's nothing I could think of.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2006
Guitar Hero II is everybit better than the first installment!
Will I still play the first Guitar Hero? Yes, because the songlist is still quite good, but with this sequel, GHII is far more impressive! Especially with its diverse song lineup. With 10 more licensed songs than the first game- that's 40 tracks in all to rock out with(not counting the bonus songs, adding 64 songs all together). This game also has new and more detailed venues, added lighting effects as you rock out, encore specials, new and improved looks on characters-some whom your able to switch outfits with, unlockable new guitars and more. A nice touch to your character's guitar rockin' happens as a series of continuous note smashing occurs and your character's guitar playin' may flame up as he/she is strummin' along and it's way cool!
With better options on an unbelievable multiplayer co-op mode than allows a friend to join in on some shreddin' guitar-rythm, lead, or bass style as you two aim to rock out like a real band and try to shoot for a 5 star review or high score. This alone creates hours of fun play! When you botch a note, the bass sound actually sounds like a thud as the guitar mess-ups continue the same sound effect from the first game. Another option in multiplayer allows players to go head-to-head in original face-off mode or the new pro-face off where now both players can play every note of a song instead of a series of notes as found on the first game's face-off mode.
3 fret buttons Now!!! Those who mastered the first game can now look forward to having a few notes on certain songs contain 3 fret buttons that must be played together, especially on the expert level. Primus and Jane's Addiction added their own master tracks in "John The Fisherman" and "Stop" and most songs are nicely covered. There may be some argument about a few of the song choices or how the vocals sound but you know what this game delivers it still! Hopefully as the GH franchise progresses, more bands' original tracks will also be added into the mix. I have to give mad props to Harmonix and RedOctane for putting together another brilliant game. In the words of AC/DC, "For Those About To Rock We Salute You!" and how bout it if that band makes GHIII? A few more punk songs would also be oh so nice. That'll be somethin'.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2006
As an avid fan of the original, it is no surprise that Guitar Hero II swept me from under my feet (almost literally) and took me in for a ride... again. For anyone who knows a hint of what this game is about, stop reading, go buy it, and enjoy the three hours of gameplay you'll be sucked into at first play.
Guitar Hero's offspring works in the same way as before, only now you can set up a band with co-op play involving lead, bass, or rhythm and the audience can demand an encore. There's plenty more here, but for the most part, those are the areas that will have any fan rolling over, Beethoven.
Bands, from yesterday, today, and tomorrow, have all taken part now in this exciting and entertaining title. They'd be stupid not to. Even the unknown tracks are fun to "jam" along to, while most staying in your head soon afterwards too.
From playing as Slash from Guns N'Roses on "Sweet Child of Mine" to trying to emulate Paul Stanley of KISS during the equally fun, "Strutter", it's everyone's dream... but in reality. There aren't too many games that offer that, to be honest with you, and while Guitar Hero II has it's share of lame duck songs, there are too many classics here that complaining is just uncivilized.
Nothing really. Guitar Hero II was everything I expected and more of the same greatness that made the original so promising. If anyone is ever bored on a rainy day or a Friday night with no parties, concerts, or new opening movies... this is your night right here.
A representative told me at EB Games that an XBOX 360 version is to debut where you can actually buy and upload more songs to the system. As tempting as that sounds, I kind of like the forty song soundtrack. It lets you limit yourself and maybe be excited for what else the makers of the game have under their sleeve.
Who knows? I'll probably be there opening day to buy my bundle for XBOX 360. Anyway, for now, this is your best bet for all around the greatest gameplay as of now.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2007
The only marketing slogan deserving more universal abhorrence than "batteries not included" is that stalwart of the eighties, "fun for the whole family." Red Octane's follow-up title to yesteryear's "Guitar Hero" (GH) is the nearest any video game is likely to get to fulfilling the latter advertising cliché. I had just about closed the book on my search for a game that could be truly enjoyed by my friends, my family, and myself. This game was made manifest by godlike creators who detected the wishes of my heart from on high. Would you prefer a non-hagiographic summary? Alright--it is really a very good game, and is exceptionally easy to learn. However, to borrow yet another hackneyed phrase, it (probably) takes "a lifetime to master."
The trick of it is its user-friendliness: once a player begins to improve, the "thirst" to continue advancing one's skill-set becomes ever more powerful. Similar to its predecessor, "Guitar Hero 2" (GH2) allows several methods of play: career, multiplayer, and quick play. There is also a rather anemic training module, which is nevertheless useful to would-be rockers wishing to ply their future trade more effectively. The career mode, once the prima donna of the previous game, has been relegated to "well, I may as well complete it" status in GH2. The reason for the career mode's demotion to a second-fiddle position will be forthcoming. In career mode, you are able to select a band name, choose from a roster of meat-puppets who will channel your virtuosity, and pick your weapon (guitar) of choice. To advance within each difficulty level--of which there are four--the player must perform several songs to a certain degree of competency. Completion of one level within the difficulty range opens up a new stage, "upgrades the bands amp," (similar to the "pro," "legend," etc., designation-changes within the first game) and ups the ante with regards to relative track difficulty. On "medium" and higher difficulty, your rocking-out accuracy direct correlates with the amount of dough you earn for a performance. These monies may be used in the shop, where a lead-guitarist may purchase all manner of "skins" for guitars and characters, upgraded instruments, hidden avatars, secret songs, and rather uninteresting "production videos."
Quick play is just that: you can instantly jam to any songs you have already conquered in career mode or purchased in the shop. However, the gilded crown sitting atop GH2's imagined brow is without a doubt the multiplayer mode. Far superior to the same mode seen in GH, this one allows two beginning modes of play: cooperative and face-off. Cooperative multiplayer mode is an excellent way to produce a falling-out with a dear friend--success or failure depends upon both players' performances. One player selects bass or rhythm guitar, and the other mans the lead axe. Scores can be recorded in cooperative multiplayer mode, so it is basically a two-player career mode sans money. The face-off multiplayer mode is the diamond set within the gilded crown sitting...you get the idea. Some genius at Red Octane split each of the 80 + songs so intelligently that every "face-off" feels like an actual battle between dueling guitar-players. "Take this riff! No, have this burn," etc., etc. I really cannot find the precise words, but trust me, the effect is amazing, and incredibly fun. There is also an advanced face-off setting in which each player plays the complete song, but I found it much less interesting overall.
The type of music available has been expanded significantly. In the first game, players were mostly limited to hard-rock/metal hits from the `70's, `80's, and `90's. GH2 features much greater variety, with fusion, jazz, classic rock, punk, hard rock/metal, "rock-trance," nu-metal, alternative and other genres well represented. This game will have you jamming to popular (and less popular) titles from such groups as All That Remains, Freezepop, Buckethead, The Foo Fighters, Warrant, The Police, Motley Crue, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many, many more. The game boasts over eighty songs in its library, many of which you'll be required to unlock before playing. Speaking of playing, it's essentially the same deal as the first GH: giant guitar-neck with colored notes advancing towards the player. Play more notes correctly with the guitar-controller, and rack up more points, more audience-acclaim, more self-confidence, and more cronies in the White House. Extra points are earned for not missing <x> number of notes in a row, and for using accumulated "star power." The graphics seem identical to the original, which is hardly a negative. There is plenty going on in the background, in the crowd, and in the stage-effects, but you REALLY won't have time to pay attention. Watch the replay at the after-show party.
The options menu has a few new bells and whistles for those with widescreen and/or HDTV-capable televisions to take advantage of. South-paws should not feel left-out, as GT2 (and GT1, for that matter) feature a "lefty-flip," allowing comfortable play regardless of one's dominant-hand preference. Finally, needless to say, increased volume is statistically connected with increased GH2 satisfaction: upgrade those speakers cheapskate!
This is a great game which your septuagenarian father will likely never allow you to play--I'm predicting that his hands will be clutching that guitar far too intently for you to have any chance at possession. You'll have to wait for his prostate to act up. Buy it, and then buy another copy for a friend.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Guitar Hero is one of the funnest and most addicting console games I've played in a while. The best part about it; the guitar. It would not feel the same if you had to play this game with a controller. The idea is similar to Dance Dance Revolution, where you have to hit the right pad at the right time and try not to mess up, but with Guitar Hero you're pressing down buttons and flipping a switch like you'd strum on a regular guitar. Really cool idea and fun to play.
A lot of people for some reason ask me if you have to know how to play guitar in order to know how to play the game. It's a silly question since it's not at all like a guitar (they're buttons, not strings) but I answer with, 'It helps'. That's just because having rhythm and coordination with your fingers is important to getting good. But it's just like anything else like typing without looking at the keys or playing on a regular game controller.
You can choose to play career mode and complete all the songs which unlocks chracters, venues and other songs, but the best part about this game is the multiplayer option for face off or co-op. The new features in this sequel that improve it from the first are the co-op option, where one person plays guitar and the other bass, or sometimes rhythm and lead, depending on the song. You can now also choose different difficulty settings when facing off against others which is nice. They also incorporated 3 button chords this time around.
The only downside to this game is the lack of songs. I actually like the songs in the first Guitar Hero better. It would be nice if you could download new songs like I hear they're doing when it's released for the xbox 360. My suggestions to make this franchise better would be to enable you to upload your own music into it and add the fingerings for the songs yourself and then others can download those songs from you. This would be perfect for small bands trying to get their music out there. And better yet, add drums and singing ala Karaoke Revolution and turn it into Band Hero.
Anyway, it's still a great game for one and especially two players. My favorite songs to play on here are: Police - "Message in a Bottle" Kansas - "Carry on Wayward Son" Foo Fighters - "Monkey Wrench" Alice in Chains - "Them Bones" Black Sabbath - "War Pigs" Rolling Stones - "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" Guns N' Roses - "Sweet Child O' Mine" Heart - "Crazy on You" Stone Temple Pilots - "Tripping on a Hole in a Paper Heart" Allman Brothers - "Jessica" Jane's Addiction - "Stop" Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Free Bird" That Handsome Devil - "Elephant Bones" Spýnal Tap - "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight". They even have the song "Trogdor" by Strong Bad from the Homestar Runner site if anyone remembers that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2007
Before I played Guitar Hero I, I was neither a big fan of rock music or video games in general. The game changed these two things, and I quickly became a GH junkie. The game mechanics are very simple, though addictive, and so are the songs. You'll find more info on those somewhere else.
GH II maintained the same great basic mechanics from GH I, but corrected everything I wish had been different in the first place. Here are the changes from the first to the second game:
- Now, you only use your profile for playing in the career mode. When on Quickplay or multiplayer modes, you can use everything that was unlocked on any one profile, and the high score rank is shared by all players, which is really cool. Plus, your scores on the career mode are also ranked on the high score list.
- There are three multiplayer modes: face-off (the same as in the first game), pro face-off (each player plays the entire song), cooperative (one player plays the guitar and the other the bass, or one plays the lead guitar and the other the rythm guitar). A big improvement is that the two players don't have to play on the same difficulty level.
- As you would expect, there are more characters and more guitars (including a lot of weird secret guitars that you unlock when you beat the game on different levels). You can also buy new outfits for the characters at the store.
- On the career mode there are a lot of cool on-stage special effects, especially when you play the last song of each phase, which is brought as an encore.
- Now we got 3-notes chords. They're not really that hard.
- I've heard some reviews saying that the songlist from GH II is worst than the first one. That's just not true. Just take the time to get used to the new songs.
- The difficulty is really higher compared to the first game. I didn't think the first game was easy, but some of the songs from GH II are just insane (a lot of them, actually). I've heard that the game is unbeatable on hard or expert levels without the guitar controller. I use the regular PS2 controller, and the only song I can't seem to beat on the expert level is Misirlou, so it's not really so.
The graphics have been slightly improved, and although you won't have the chance to pay much attention to the stage performance while trying to hit the right notes, it's much more appealing.
If you never played GH I you can still play GH II, and the only thing you'll miss is the great songlist from the first game. If you did play the first game and liked it... you must get GH II. Period.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2006
Why do I think this game is even better than the already fantastic first release? Well....there's several reasons. The main reason is the song list is larger. You must complete 40 songs to beat the game; the prior version you only had to complete 30. Another very cool feature is the Practice mode. I've played guitar for years (albeit poorly) and whenever I've been trying to learn a tough section of a song, I always learned to play those parts by playing the tough version over and over at a slower tempo. After a while you're able to pick up speed and nail the portion you had trouble with. You can now do the same thing in GH2. Fans of the original version will remember how hard it was to complete "Cowboys from Hell" or "Bark at the Moon" becuase you couldn't practice the songs at a slower tempo. Well, you can practice everything in GH2 and it will make you a better player. It even has a metronome clicking so you can make sure to stay "on the beat."
I can't wait to get together with some friends so I can try out the new versus modes. Even without the versus modes the added songs, practice mode and new three-finger chords make the game a must-buy for anyone who liked the original. Plus, I totally disagree with one of the other reviewers that said the sound is muddy. I honestly believe the sound is higher quality than the original.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2006
Picked this up this morning, and I'm pretty impressed. I was a big fan of the last one, and this one has some nice improvements over the last one.
Most notably, you can finally play two player on two different levels of difficulty. Being able to let a beginner strum out the basics while you play on expert is definitely the feature I wanted to see the most.
This is a great game for parties, and the additional songs are all lots of fun. It was also a great choice to add Thunderhorse (Skwisgaar is a god).
Good stuff. If you like this, check out the original guitar hero and taiko drum master. Both are also great.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2007
This game was purchased as a gift for my 17 year old. He has had more fun playing this game than any other PS2, XBOX or Gamecube game! He will play in solo mode, he and his friends will play - sometimes taking turns, sometimes playing with two guitars. They enjoy the music and laugh while playing. The surprise has been how much my son and husband enjoy the game together - they both love the same kind of music and enjoy some great father son bonding time. The game and the controllers were some of the best money we spent on video gaming in the last two years!