Guitar Hero II Review

I’ll start this review off with this synopsis: if you loved Guitar Hero you will love Guitar Hero II. There you have it. Go out and buy it and rock out. For those of you who are new to Guitar Hero or who are curious as to what’s new in the deuce, read on for the extended remix of my review…

I’ll start out with a quick synopsis of the gameplay for the newbies out there and then move on to what’s new. Guitar Hero II turns rock music into a rhythm game in which color-coded notes are sent down a track towards you. Your goal is to select the colored buttons on the guitar controller’s fret bar that correspond to the color of the notes as they pass over a line at the bottom of the screen and “play” the note by hitting the flipper that serves as the guitar’s “strum bar”. At the easiest skill level you’ll just have to worry about playing three colors of notes, but higher skill levels add additional colors as well as chords that require you to play two or three notes at once. Hitting consecutive notes will increase your score multiplier which will be reset back to zero if you miss a note. Miss too many notes and the crowd will boo you off the stage and the song will end.

The cooperative play alone is worth the price of admission.
Just as in the original game, you pick a name for your band and go out on tour. At each stop on your tour you are given four tracks to choose from and you must beat three of them to unlock the next location on your tour and move on. New in Guitar Hero II are encores. After you beat your third track at a venue the crowd will call you back on stage to play a fifth bonus track. Playing your way through the tour has several benefits. The first is that it unlocks new songs for play both on the tour and in the game’s solo and multiplayer modes. The next is that you earn money based on your score for each song and this money can be used to unlock bonus songs and to purchase new guitars and characters for you to use to represent yourself on screen.

If you’re one of those who is new to Guitar Hero, you’ll appreciate the game’s new tutorial mode. This mode covers all the basics of gameplay and is great for introducing players to the game before putting them on stage with a full song to play. Also new is a practice mode which even veteran players will appreciate. You’ll be able to practice any segment of a song, so if a particular solo is giving you a hard time you can concentrate on practicing it until you have it down pat. Another nice feature of the practice mode is that you can slow down the song so that you can concentrate on the fingering before trying to nail the song at full speed.