Guitar Hero II

Overview

It has been a long time since the original Guitar Hero hit the Playstation 2, and has hoardes of aspiring rockers belting out their favorite tunes using the unique guitar controller. The sequel came out late last year with great success, and now we are ready to check out Harmonix first effort to take the franchise to the next generation of consoles, meaning the Xbox 360. So how does the king of rock and roll do on the Xbox 360? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

So what is Guitar Hero? Well in short it is a very simple music experience that uses a guitar controller to offer up an experience that had never really been explored before. Sure we have seen games use peripherals to bring an experience to life, but never using the simplicity and effectiveness of Guitar Hero. The basic idea is you have five colored buttons on your guitar, and you want to hit the corresponding button while strumming the guitar. Sounds easy right? Well guess again.

Much of Guitar Hero II has remained the same from what you saw in last year’s game, as the core gameplay is exactly how most will remember it. The career mode at first looks a little different, but for the most part you still have sections broken down into five songs. Another big new feature in this year’s game is the practice mode, which allows you to take songs you’re having trouble with, and play different sections of it to really perfect it. This really just shows the level of depth as compared to the original, as many were literally memorizing all, if not most of the songs, and being able to do it with no problems. The practice mode really allows you to slow down and get the hang of songs. So when you’re ready you can kick the difficulty level up and give the songs a go.

Many might be wondering what exactly the Xbox 360 version has over the PS2 version. Well in fact much of the experience is identical, there are a number of new songs to rock out to which helps the replay value. You also have an interesting online leader board feature, which is perfect for the hardcore Guitar Hero fans as you will be able to check where you rank against the rest of the pack. This does add an extra bit of bragging rights for anyone who really wants to become the best guitarist around.

Other Xbox 360 features include downloadable content, which include song packs to allow you to expand your experience even more. I am actually writing this review right after the first few packs were released, and if they can be consistent with new songs this game could really prove to have a lot more replay value then initially meets the eye. The only problem is the price is extremely high running 500 points for three songs. I actually hope they change to buying one song at a time, so you can get the music you want.

So is Guitar Hero 2 a big leap forward from the PS2 to Xbox 360? No, this is still the same sort of guitar experience that we got before now just with more songs and a few more features. That however doesn’t erase the fact that it is still one of the best music games ever released.

Graphics

Being an Xbox 360 game I really felt that the experience would look a great deal better than the PS2 version, which was just not the case. At first glance you really won’t see a major difference between the two versions, especially since much of the visuals is just the same thing with slight upgrades to the 360. I just felt throughout that although the game didn’t look bad, it was still missing something that could have really taken the experience to the next level.

Fun Factor

There is no doubt in my mind that Guitar Hero has already gathered a major following, those who just can’t get enough of the guitar action. The additional songs extends the longevity a bit, and the leader boards do help to show you exactly where you place in the grand scheme of things. The downloadable content also gives something extra for those who just can’t get enough Guitar Hero action.

Overall

The question is probably being asked, I own the PS2 version of Guitar Hero 2, do I need to upgrade? My answer is simply no, there is not enough content in this game to make it worth a complete new purchase. In the end, Guitar Hero 2 is still a brilliant game and one that needs to be purchased if you do not already own the PS2 version.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.