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Playstation 2

Guitar Hero II - Review

Deeko Score
10/10
Teen
Publisher: 
Red Octane


Developer:
 
Harmonix

Genre:

Music

Avg. Visitor Rating

9.8
If you have played this game, select the score you would give it based on a fair assessment:



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It's back and better than ever...

7.November.2006

They gave me the chance to finally take to the stage and play until the cows came home (came home from where, I wonder).

They gave me the instrument that I would wield through the midst of my musical chaos.

They gave me the opportunity to rock fast, rock furiously and ultimately rock the house.

With all of this, they even provided me a name...

Guitar Hero.

Oh, it's true. My guitar stylings were on par with the great Hendrix, Clapton, and other guitar legends whose musical senses I could now emulate with ease. I was a master wizard, a mystical force whose hands possessed so much power that I could make a guitar sing gloriously through the night sky mesmerizing all those who heard my glorious refrains.

It was the thing dreams are made on; it truly was.

Its not a rock concert until the flames appear...

It's not a rock concert until the flames appear...
Seriously, it was just a dream. In all honesty, I'm a terrible guitar player. Sure, I can play, I just don't play well. I'm a pianist by training, so guitar, for me, was never my focus. I enjoy playing the guitar, of that I have no doubt, but a wizard? Emulating the styles of Clapton and Hendrix? Yeah, maybe the "famous" Armando Hendrix or the "almighty" Matt Schaldach Clapton! In truth, I was a nothing, just another guy who enjoyed playing the guitar, but sucked rocks when it came to doing more than playing chords. This is why I kind of rolled my eyes when I saw Red Octane's guitar playing video game, you know? Guitar Hero? I mean, this, to me, was a game created for guitarists in mind, a game that only those with crazy fingers could get into...

A game that was a wonder to behold after I started down the path to total righteousness Guitar Hero style.

Truth be told, I hadn't expected to be in awe over a game in which I was playing a plastic guitar. It seemed odd, but the mechanics involved in the title were epic. Here, for the first time ever, would I ever have the chance to feel like I could play the guitar — and not just in some way that makes it seem artificial. This was a title that reeled me in and seriously had me believing that I was some kind of rock legend. It was gratifying, it was amazing and it was one of the few games I've ever had the fortune of bestowing the score of a ten upon.

It was that good.

Like all great games, I walked away wondering what a sequel would be like. What kind of songs would be added? Would I now have the ability to practice solos? Would the covers be better than those I heard in the last game? It took a while, but all of those questions and more would be answered after a large package appeared on my doorstep last week. I knew something was amiss when I smelled the smoldering brimstone just wafting through the front door's keyhole. Inside was Red Octane's sequel, as well as a brand spanking new guitar with which to play. I was in shock for a moment, but since I knew it was coming the shock didn't last all that long. I tore the package open, snagged my guitar and quickly popped in my new copy of Guitar Hero II. Was it worth it?

Yes.

Hell yes.

Hell freakin' yes.

If you're looking for a primer on how to play, click on the link in the previous paragraph to read about the basics of gameplay. Since the core of the game remains intact, there is little point in my going back and discussing how you go about using a plastic guitar and five colored fret buttons to make your way into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. For those too lazy to click a link (you know who you are), here is the abridged version:

Notes, in the forms of colored circles, fly down a runway towards the bottom of the screen. As they hit the bottom, you must play the corresponding note on the guitar (the matching fret button) and strum the guitar. If you hit the note, kudos! Keep playing. If you missed, keep trying or you're going to lose.

Ive got blisters on me fingers!

I've got blisters on me fingers!
That's it in a nutshell. If you're not happy with my description, hit up the old review. It'll only take a few minutes and should give you a good idea how to play. Still, my short version is pretty good, if I don't say so myself. Suffice to say, the game itself hasn't changed much in terms of overall gameplay. The button mechanics remain blissfully the same, the meters are a throwback to the previous version and utilizing "Star Power" is identical. I'm sure you're thinking:

"If that's the case with this game, Pete, why should I even bother buying this one? I mean, did they do ANYTHING to make this game better?"

As Mr. T. might say, "I pity the fool who'd gimme all that jibba jabba!" - but on the flip side, what the hell does Mr. T. know about rockin' down the house? Of course they added new facets and features ALL of which make the game all the more exciting. Let's start of with the soundtrack. Instead of a "paltry" thirty licensed tracks, we're given a total of forty incredible songs that could kick even Chuck Norris' ass! From Rush to Cheap Trick, Lamb of God to Avenged Sevenfold, Guitar Hero II has a little something for everyone. It's an eclectic mix of music spanning decades, including the mid-sixties up through present day. Keep in mind, the majority of songs in the game are merely covers — all but two of the in-game songs are performed by a cover band, rather than being the original song as performed by the original artist. Both Primus and Jane's Addiction allowed Red Octane to use their masters and thus we're allowed to play John the Fisherman and Stop along with the bands who sing them. That, in my own opinion, is sheer awesomeness and certainly a step in the right direction for the game. That isn't to say that the cover songs are bad, because most of them are pretty decent. If you aren't a huge music aficionado, you'll more than likely think that Message in a Bottle is actually being performed by the Police, when in fact, it isn't. There are a few questionable performances, specifically the Pretender's Tattooed Love Boys (Seriously, Chrissie Hynde would be pissed. I mean, is that a guy singing her part? At times, that's what it sounds like. Not cool at all) and Black Sabbath's War Pigs. While most of the songs have little nuances that I found to be a bit off, these songs, specifically, made my musical ear cringe — that's how bad they were. While War Pigs isn't necessarily horrible, Tattooed Love Boys just, well... ugh. As for the rest of the pieces, the quality is generally quite high and the performances are pretty impressive. I knew they were covers, but I'm certain that the majority of gamers out there aren't going to really be sitting next to their speakers thinking "hey, that note wasn't played right"! Even YYZ was performed well, so Rush fans can rest easy. I know I did.




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By Pete Send the Author an EmailRead the Author's Blog   


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