|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Harmonix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Red Octane||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Cole||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
By Cole Smith
Youve probably seen those large boxes with guitars in them in the game section of your favorite electronics store and wondered just what the heck they were doing there. If thats the case dude, you are SO behind the times man! Those boxes house one of the coolest music games to ever hit the genre. Its called Guitar Hero the original and you better buy it and play it. Came out last year on the PS2 and blew everyone critics and gamers alike away. After youre done freaking out because its so freakin awesome, meet us back here for the review to the just released incredible sequel: Guitar Hero II.
Developer Harmonix cut their teeth on the equally impressive and innovative music game Frequency on the PS2 back in 2001 and followed it up with Amplitude a year later. Both games held the fundamentals of what would would later evolve into the interface for Guitar Hero. In a genre where funky game peripherals are common such as DDRs dance pad, Samba de Amigos maracas and DKs bongos, Harmonix took it one step further and introduced their Gibson SG guitar peripheral when they released Guitar Hero in Fall 2005. Other colors and models were soon to follow. The mini SG, which is about ½ the scale of a real Gibson SG (think ACDC) has 5 fret colored fret buttons, a strum bar area and of course, a whammy bar (you can thank the Fender Strat for that little number).
Playing GH2 is as pick up and play as you can get and the various difficulty modes will hold your hand until youre ready to take on more difficult riffs, licks and solos. When the colored note appears in the zone on the screen (as they scroll), players must hold down the corresponding fret button and strum the guitar. Guitar pyro-technics are also encouraged with the advent of hammer-ons and pull-offs. Chords can also be played if the player holds down the correct frets simultaneously (GH2 introduces 3 note chords over GH1s 2 note chords). If your timing is off or youre missing notes and chords, your Rock Meter, which is representative of the audiences reaction to your playing, will deplete. When its out, your set is over and dude, you officially suck crap as a guitar player. Maybe you should take up something a little easier, like, I dunno, learning to play a real guitar like Yngwie Malmsteen.
Now, for the sake of all thats holy, Im going to just assume or pretend that you know what GH2 is all about so I can start digging into this review.
One thing you should know right off the bat is that Guitar Hero 2 is about as addictive as you can get, but it sure can be a fickle mistress on the hardest difficulty. Perhaps you should buy a spare SG controller, after you hurl your first one at the wall, like Pete Townsend on a bender. Im a guitar player and Im telling you that in most cases, its easier to play the actual parts on a guitar than it is to play this game. I should reference that last point with the fact that Ive been playing guitar for 40 odd years. You might never progress to the hardest level in GH2, but that doesnt mean you wont enjoy the time youve spent trying to get there. The all-new practice mode is a life-saver though, allowing you to pinpoint areas in the song that are giving you pause for concern such as the bridge, chorus etc. and giving air-guitar dreamers the ability to play them at slower speeds. What a great idea. Its like practice without the actual practice. You know what I mean. Im sorry but the real guitar play in me dislikes the fact that some guys are actually going to have egos in regards to their GH2 abilities and that pisses me off in advance. The gamer in me loves the fact that Harmonix has given frustrated musicians a chance to shine. But if I ever run into any of you GH2 self-professed rockgods, prepare to battle me one on one with real guitars at dawn. Oh, and prepare to seriously lose.