Guitar Hero II
Music and rythm games. Until Guitar Hero was released some time ago, I constantly tried to walk around them in a wider circle than when a 15 year old tries to put a flyer into my hands to save some endangered species in Peru. In other words: Guitar Hero was cool and for some reason the rest of the world population thought so too!
Then what do you do as developer of the original? Reinvent your game or perfection it further? RedOctane and Harmonix thought the second and were completely rocking right. Guitar Hero 2 is finally amongst us and you can bet your head that your fingers will start bleeding again, your plastic guitar will be making overtime, and the amplifier will be put on “ear deafening”.
Guitar Hero 2 does again what the title so perfectly makes you expect. It makes that you start feeling as a real guitar hero more than anything else. In some magical way any nerd, any old aunt or fat dad with grey hair, is turned into a rock phenomenon from the moment you start shaking the fretbuttons and the trigger. You immediately think you’re a rock god, eventhough your talents are limited to the Easy-mode.
No game has ever come close to what GH does to you, and that why it’s so painful when you miss those ultra-important notes of your favorite number. Your heart will crumble of shame and guilt and you want nothing more than to give your upright apologies to whoever put the notes on paper.
On top of that, everyone will find something in the tracklist he or she likes. With more variation and quantity (64 songs in total) than ever before also the quality was kept up. Top stuff like Rage against the Machine, Nirvana, Van Halen, The Police and Black Sabbath are present and amplify the illusion that it’s you who will be kissing that groupie and make the strangest demands to the catering.
Time to sum up the other improvements as the makers really did their best to come close to fulfilling all requests of the hardcore fans. From now on you can’t only play lead anymore but also tag along with the bass and rythm guitars. You can play together with or against someone else (for example, someone on bass, another on lead) and set the difficulty level, independent or not, to finally decide who has the fastest fingers.
Of course there are also more characters and unlockables, you can set the lag – which appears with certain TV’s apparently – and there’s a highly adjustable training mode (with possibility to practise seperate pieces, whether or not in slow motion) and the makers even did their best to integrate some visual extras that make for a better feeling of progression, provide some variation, and ultimately push you even further to finish yet another number.
The only subjective downpoint that I want to say here is that graphically little was changed and I would have loved a smaller amount of American rock songs in exchange for a bit more European top songs as well as a handful of punk. Who knows, maybe the Xbox360 version with Live! possibility will soon change that.
Although the impact of the first Guitar Hero was probably bigger, the successor improves the game on all sides. More possibilities, more songs, more immersion, more visual surprises, loads of multiplayer goodness, and so on. In short: more to rock, headbang and curse when you flunked that one important solo or crucial note in your favorite track. Those that were already fan will no doubt take the guitar back from the closet and those that didn’t have it yet should definitely go to the shops now. Game of 2006? And why not! Or do you know many other games where you believe you’re a god? Rock on!