Guitar Hero II

If you've yet to have a blast of Guitar Hero - all three of you - you're missing out on some rockin' fun.

Essentially a port of the PlayStation 2 version, Guitar Hero II takes a whole pile of rock tunes and lets you shred your life away on the guitar-shaped controller. You choose the song you want to play and strum the correct notes as they approach in a manner similar to that found in the DDR games. The key to getting huge scores is to increase your multiplier, which is done by hitting a whole bunch of notes in succession. With difficulty settings ranging from downright easy (for those slow elderly type) to near impossible (for you true rock-gods out there), the game boasts a huge amount of replay value as you hone your skills and become a master shredder.

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If you've played the PS2 version, or read our full review here, you'll know that the game features tracks by rock legends such as Mötley Crüe, KISS, Van Halen, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Guns N' Roses, alongside a whole host of others. The Xbox 360 mixes things up a little, changing the order of the songs as they appear in the career mode, as well as adding an extra song to each of eight sets. Included in these extras are songs from Iron Maiden, Rancid, Pearl Jam, Alice Cooper, and My Chemical Romance. It keeps the game feeling fresh after playing the PS2 version for the past six months.

Also new to the Xbox 360 adaptation is the new X-Plorer guitar controller, which replaces the SG guitar found with the PS2 bundle. Sporting a new look and feel, it while take a little while to get used to the shorter neck (resulting in the fret buttons closer to the base of the guitar) and the changed feel of the whammy bar. However, that won't stop you from tilting the guitar skywards to activate star power as you rock out. Unfortunately, the guitar is wired, but does feature an additional plug on the bottom for what is at the moment listed as an effects pedal port.

One exciting new addition is the ability to download songs from the Marketplace. While nothing is available as of yet, RedOctane have gone on the record stating that many of the original songs from the first Guitar Hero (on PS2) will be available for download at a small fee. Once the songs start being released it'll be the perfect reason to keep coming back to the game.

All the multiplayer modes are back, so if you're lucky enough to own two guitars, or have some mates with the game, you'll be able to shred 'in stereo' in three modes: cooperative, face-off, and pro face-off. In cooperative, you and a friend can player lead/rhythm or lead/bass to combine your total scores. Face-off and pro face-off pit you against each other, playing alternating parts in face-off or both playing the same notes (on the same difficulty) in pro face-off. The multiplayer aspect of the game provides a huge amount of fun, and it's the perfect mode to liven up a party.

With unlockables, such as new tracks, characters and guitars, Guitar Hero offers plenty of reasons to keep hammering those fret keys. If you own an Xbox 360, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the game and begin your quest to immortal guitar God status.

"You owe it to yourself to pick up a copy."
- Guitar Hero II
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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