I have to believe that every kid at some point in their life fantasizes about being a rock star. Of course most people recognize that they don't have the talent to be one and end up shelving the dream. Yet when I saw the plastic guitar controller show up on my doorstep, that little kid in me just couldn't pass it up. It was time to rock.
When I went to the Austin Games Conference back in the fall, I had stopped by a party at a local bar thrown by the IGDA. At first I thought there was a band playing in the back until I got a closer look. There were two game developers on a stage with a projection screen behind them rocking out to Guitar Hero II. By the way the crowd was screaming, you'd think they were famous. You can see a photo from the event on the right.
The characters could be better, although when you are playing, you're far too busy watching the notes stream by to even look at them. There are several different locations with some crazy stage effects to enjoy.
If you don't at least mildly enjoy metal, you're probably not going to have much fun unlocking new songs this game. Being familiar with the songs helps your performance greatly, and it can be tedious to play through 4 or 5 songs that you can't stand to unlock the next set. There are a few songs that are not metal, but it would be nice to see more variety.
And in case you are wondering, I went through a metal phase when I was younger. There were quite a few songs that I know and like in this game. Yet there were many that I was still forced to play that I didn't like just to unlock the next set.
When you do get to play a song you like, this game is fun, fun, FUN! I found myself standing up, tapping my foot and almost singing to the lyrics (except that I am NOT coordinated enough to sing and play to save my life). My short and stubby fingers gave me a bit of a disadvantage as the buttons take up a good bit of space.
I'd like to give anyone who can play on "Hard" or "Expert" mode major kudos. I've been playing games for a long time now, and I am only coordinated enough to successfully finish on "Medium" difficulty. It's a pity since I know there are some songs you can only unlock when you play in the more difficult modes.
I didn't get to play multiplayer, however my husband did. He has graded this part of the game with a 9 out of 10, claiming it's even more fun than the single player mode. In multiplayer, you can go head-to-head or choose to play in cooperative mode. He also found it easier to stick to the beat when playing cooperatively with a second person and enjoyed that mode the most. Another neat aspect of playing cooperatively is that you can unlock new things through this mode. This may be reason enough for me to buy Guitar Hero I bundled with that extra guitar controller...
If you like a good percentage of the songs listed on the box, go ahead and pick up this game. It's a keeper and a GREAT party title. I'm tempted to get Guitar Hero I now. I'm even looking at buying an album from a band I hadn't heard of since I liked their song in the game.
What I'd love to see in possible future sequels is different music genre packs to appeal to different tastes. I heard a rumor that this may be coming.
Marketing Efforts Towards Women:
There are three female characters you can choose from the default list (I spent all of my money unlocking songs and not extra characters). None of them are particularly compelling. All of the default characters are caucasian (including the guys). But really in a game like this, you hardly notice the characters. You're too busy playing to notice them. Still, a little more effort in character variety would have been nice.
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