Review: Guitar Hero II
The best rhythm game around is back to rock you like three hurricanes!
After you've read the review, be sure to stop by and check out these insane videos!
Four Gamepro staff members enter the Guitar Hero 2 ring, only one will walk out. Your vote decides who will stand victorious!
The inter-office action doesn't stop there: watch as Mr. Marbles and Tenacious Moses battle for Gamepro office supremacy in the new Pro Face-off mode!
Check out the best Guitar Hero 2 player in the world rock his way through Lamb of God's "Laid to Rest". With his back to the television!
With so many available controllers surfacing for GH2, Mr. Marbles is here to give you the scoop on what controllers will help you in your rockin' endeavors.
Don't forget to enter our Guitar Hero II contest! There are awesome prizes involved!
PROTIP: The rules for using Star Power still apply. It'll save you from getting booed off the stage but you can also use it to boost your score. 8x multiplier for the win!
Guitar Hero launched in November of 2005 and became the biggest rhythm game craze since Dance Dance Revolution; it quite literally blew our socks off. Now, its sequel, Guitar Hero II, is here and it rocks so hard that you can say goodbye to the rest of your clothing as well.
Goes To Eleven
So how does Guitar Hero II improve on the already impressive original? First, it features 66 tracks spread out over 40 licensed songs and 26 additional bonus tracks--that's 17 more than the first Guitar Hero. The career mode hasn't changed much--you still work your way up the musical ladder in your quest to reach rock-god status--but the songs have gotten much harder. Red Octane did it the right way, however, as none of the songs feel cheap or unfair. The increased sense of challenge comes from the intricately designed button sequences and the overall epic feel of each song; additionally, Red Octane added in a practice mode to hone your chops in. Those who ascended to rock-god status in the original will have to work their way up another mountain but the view from this peak is much, much sweeter.
PROTIP: You can slow down the tempo of songs in Practice Mode, so make sure you hit it up if you're having trouble with a specific song.
We also love the new multiplayer component, which includes cooperative, face-off, and pro face-off modes. Co-op allows two players to tackle songs together; one player takes lead guitar while the other takes on either rhythm or bass, depending on the track. This mode even requires players to coordinate their moves to activate Star Power, so practice that choreography beforehand. Face-off is the same as from before but pro face-off takes things to another level: both players duel note for note to see who can net the highest score. This mode will definitely distinguish the Zakk Wylde's from the school band wannabes.
Visually, Guitar Hero II hasn't changed much. A new progressive scan mode sharpens up the visuals and the addition of a lag calibration feature ensures those with high-definition displays will always be on time with the music. Red Octane also upped the number of character and environmental animations. The venues now come alive with laser lights, fog machines, and crowd noise. Your on-screen persona also demonstrate nearly twice the energy as before. No more bopping to the music--now they fly around the stage with a frenetic energy.
We could go on and on about the improvements that Red Octane put into this sequel but the proof is in the pudding. The word "epic" doesn't even begin to describe how the game plays and feels; it really is something you have to do for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Rock on!
The new venues are even more detailed than before. Take a look around when you have the chance.
PROTIP: As you progress through the career mode, sponsors will line up to give you cool stuff. Thanks for the free amps, Marshall!
PROTIP: Remember that both guitarists have to activate Star Power at the same time in cooperative mode or it won't work. So coordinate your rock moves beforehand!