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Guitar Hero II Reviewed by Dan Clarke on . Regardless of my petty complaints, Guitar Hero II is the reason why I'm keeping my PlayStation 2 in my office. The replay value is immense, the multiplayer superb and the game has that "just one more game" quality because you know you want to master Expert mode. Rating: 78%
Guitar Hero II
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
Back in 2001, a company called Harmonix released a game called Frequency. It was a fun rhythm game that required you to push buttons to music. It was an acquired taste but a enjoyable game. Next was Amplitude which brought new songs and a new take on the rhythm genre. I still remember button mashing to Weezer.

In 2005, Guitar Hero came out and I have to admit, I was not interested. I had zero interest in buying a game which included yet another accessory that only worked with one or two games (i.e.: Dreamcast fishing controller, Light Guns, PS2 Hard Drives, etc). However the buzz started on various gamer blogs, then You Tube videos were posted and the word of mouth was so huge I finally broke down and made my first PS2 game purchase in quite some time this summer. What can I say; as soon as I started playing the game I was hooked. It is truly a joy to play and probably the best $70 spent on a PS2 game ever.

Guitar Hero II (PlayStation 2)

Thankfully because of my late entry into the game, the sequel wasn't as much of an agonizing wait as it was for everyone else. The sequel is here and it really improves off the original.

The first thing you'll notice is the increase in the number of songs. The original had over 30 songs and the new one has 64 songs…and most are familiar to anyone with a passing interest in music. Some of the songs seem a little out of place (Message In A Bottle), some seem like they were made for this game (Crazy On You), and some I have never heard of before but give me a whole new respect for the artists that made them (Hangar 18, I'm talking about you).

The main gist of the game hasn't changed: you are a guitar player for a band and your goal is to cover the songs note for note. The notes come at you at the speed they should be played in the song. You have five fret buttons you have to press while strumming the guitar….there are chords (where you press multiple fret buttons while strumming) and a whammy bar to bend the notes. Just like before there's a rock meter and the more notes you hit, the higher the meter goes. There is also star power available which you obtain by hitting the "star" notes. If you keep missing your rock meter goes to red and you'll get the dreaded "song failed" message.

Guitar Hero II (PlayStation 2)

When you first fire the game up, you're offered to start career mode or you can quick play where you can just go right to a full song that you've unlocked…or you can practice. There's also a multiplayer mode, but more on that later.

The stats in the single player mode have been enhanced so instead of just one percentage score for the entire round, you can see right where you made the flubs - perhaps it was in the intro or the chorus. Once you know where the problem lies, you can go back into practice mode and take care of it. In practice mode you can either go through specific tutorials or practice individual songs. Not only that, you can practice individual song segments AND adjust the speed of the song so you can learn the notes!
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