Guitar Hero II. Harmonix/Activision. (2007) Xbox360

Guitar Hero 2 cover art

Guitar Hero 2 cover art

I still can’t find a copy of Guitar Hero, so I’ll start with 2.

Story

You know what, I was going to try and be facetious about this, but they at least tried to add a story.

You’re a cover band, trying to make it big.

You start in a shitty basement, and after 7 gigs you are headlining Stonehenge. It is your typical rags to riches story that Hollywood would likely make into a terrible film, staring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, but there is a “story”.

The idea of you being a cover band stemmed from Harmonix/Activision not wanting to spend too much money on getting actual versions of the songs, instead, getting the inhouse team to butcher many a classic.

Annoying disposable plastic guitars

My main frustration with the Guitar peripheral series is that the guitars were made out of mice and cardboard. They are squeaky, and have the durability of a newspaper in the bath. Ergo, they have a tendency to stop working VERY quickly. Chances are, if you bought more than one guitar peripheral game, you’ll own multiple guitars.

I also, suspect they all stopped working properly?

Of the ones I have owned, they have all stopped working for various reasons, but the two most common were:

  1. The tilt controller to activate “Star Power” is usually first to go. Meaning you either can’t activate Star Power, or it activates when you don’t want it to.
  2. Strumming stops working. 3 of my 5 can’t up and down strum, meaning fast songs are not 5 starable. Or, up (or down) strum become intermittent.

The Music

This is where the game will come unstuck, and is where you’ll add 20 points, or minus 20 points.

All the songs are covers, and to be honest, a lot of them are bad covers.  Instrumentally, they are good, they are mixed wellish and recorded on similar (or the same equipment) as the originals. But the vocals are uniformerly poor, they sound like a standard pub covers band, and I hate cover bands.

For every Kansas, you get a Butthole Surfer, every Lynyrd Skynyrd you get a Reverend Horton Heat.

This "setlist" is the only one with 3 songs I like.

This “setlist” is the only one with 3 songs I like.

“The Toadies are my favourite band ever.”
 No one ever

The soundtrack isn’t bad, but there is some shite you have to sit through to get to the next “good” song.

So, yeah, I know music tastes vary, and I don’t claim to have good taste, but with GH2 they tried to appeal to too broad a church, so no matter who you are, you’ll have a setlist of 5 songs, like 1-2 of them, and just have to put up with getting through the other 3-4 songs. But, on the whole, there will be enough to interest you.

Make your own mind up on tracks by going to Wikipedia.

Version Differences

The games are the same, except the Xbox had more songs. The PS2 is lacking 8 songs, 1 of which I would voluntarily listen too (Iron Maiden), and a couple of extra bonus songs.

Difficulty

Guitar Hero 2 had a fair difficulty level, and you feel songs like Crazy on You are there to teach you the basics of harder tracks like The Trooper, and, with a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to beat Free Bird (hint, just save your star power for *THAT* solo), so you never really get ragey at the game.

Expert will, by it’s nature, challenge you, but you will be able to beat it.

Graphics

There could be a live sex show happening in the background, but you’d never notice. All you can see is the “note highway”, and everything else is just noise. Even when you’re watching a mate play, you’ll most likely just watch the notes. I honestly couldn’t tell you a thing about the background animations.

Apparently stuff happens outside the note highway...

Apparently stuff happens outside the note highway…

Conclusion

Most of the score here comes down to how much you like the songs. So again, you can add or subtract some points, but on the whole, Guitar Hero 2 is alright

It is what it is, and that is a slightly above average gaming experience with some decent enough songs.

Pros: Cheap Trick, Nirvana, Kiss, Motley Crue, Danzig, Pearl Jam, Wolfmother, Van Halen, Kansas, The Police, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Foo Fighters, Deep Purple, The Pretenders, Allman Brothers, Aerosmith, Rage Against the Machine, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Stray Cats, Rush, Avenged Sevenfold, The Living End, Suicidal Tendancies, Megadave, Lynyryd Skynryd.

Cons: The guitars are shite, 95% covers, Toadies, Rancid, Warrant, Spinal Tap, Iggy Pop, Alice in Chains, Matthew Sweet, Butthole Surfers, Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Rick Derringer, Primus, Thin Lizzy, Heart, Stone Temple Pilots, My Chemical Romance, The Sword, Jane’s Addiction, Lamb of God, Reverand Horton Heat, Dick Dale

65%

 

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