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Welcome to the 13th Really Pathetic News Network Game Review, circa 2/1/2007.


Toggled Review
Guitar hero II For the Playstation2
By, Cozmic


Yes, it is the sequel to Guitar Hero! Time to live out all your rock star dreams!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Guitar Hero games, here's the basic premise. You have a neat plastic guitar in the shape of a Gibson (a red SG-1 if you buy the bundle, a black SG-1 in the first) with a lever, a button to strum, and five color coded buttons. Then you just press the button with the right color to choose note and strum when the circle in (hopefully) the correct color reaches the symbols on the bottom of the screen. Sounds easy enough, right? And the basic idea is, as all good ideas. It's the playing that starts off as very hard. Hand-eye coordination is key, and at first you will not have a clue where your fingers are. It takes a few tries to get used to it all, which is why on easy you only use the top three buttons, while on medium you use the top four. The addition of orange on hard and expert instantly makes them worthy of their names. Especially since you have to take harder chords as well (holding down several buttons at once), while the speed increases. Yes, Guitar Hero II is challenging, but medium is fairly easy to become reasonably good at (and if not, there is a practice mode to help you with the hardest parts).
Possibly the best part of the whole idea though, is that pretty much everyone wants to try. Even my mother has tried to play (and failed, much like the rest of my family on the first try).
The songs you play are a fairly eclectic mix with something for anyone who doesn't have some sort of deep-rooted hatred for guitars, and there are quite a few of them, even if they are nearly all covers. They are also from various decades. There is 50's rock, there is a pretty sweet Rolling Stones song (and I'm not even a Stones fan!), the Police, Kiss, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. And for all you metalheads, there is Rush, Black Sabbath and Lamb Of God. And this is only scratching the surface of the regular songs and not mentioning the bonus songs, which is a mix of great music and some just plain odd but great things (one word: Trogdor!).
And of course, all of this is wrapped up in an atmosphere that just oozes rock from every pore. The sound in the audio menu is rated 1 to 11 in true Spinal Tap fashion (and yes, Spinal Tap are also in the game), all the characters are pretty funny parodies of everything (the fat Norwegian black metal dude named Lars springs to mind), and the loading screen is full of hints that are either useful for playing, or just there to put that smile on your face by pointing out that a mini-fridge is more important to have than a bassist (as a bassist, I would be offended if I didn't find it so funny). And after each song you get paid, with various deductions for things like starting fights or your crowd setting cars on fire. The money can then be used to buy bonus songs, new guitars, new outfits, new finishes for the guitar and new characters. The guitars are all either real Gibson guitars, or over the top things you need to complete special things to gain access to. The entire game is simply filled to the brim with tributes and gags with the rock business, and for those who know their rock trivia it is obvious Harmonix loves their rock music.
There are a few complaints to be had, however minor they might be. Some of the covers are actually a bit slower than the original, but considering one of these is Misirlou, and it still goes insanely fast on hard, I can live with it. Likewise, a few songs are just terribly annoying to try and play, but this is more than weighe dup for by the fact that some songs are just so incredibly much fun to play. And there are more of the fun ones than the bad ones. Strutter by Kiss and John the Fisherman by Primus (and this is not a cover, making it all the more cool) are just fantastic, as is the Beast and the Harlot by Avenged Sevenfold, or YYZ by Rush, and the game delivers what I've at least always wanted to do, which is to play Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.
And this is the game that got me to really listen to Rage Against the Machone, and discover the band Drist and the masterful Arterial Black, who's former guitarist plays the guitar in the covers of the game.
And for those disappointed in the fact that there is still no Iron Maiden, supposedly The Trooper is going to be in the Xbox 360 version, along with My Chemical Romance's spectacularly awesome song Dead, as well as the fact that the 360 version comes with a white flying V and supports downloadable content.

All in all, though the game hurts your wrists after a while (anyone who said video game isn't exercise needs to play some of the faster songs), there is still that feeling of wanting to play just one more song, wanting to beat that song that is kicking you in the behind, and generally rock out!
Oh, and due to budget cutbacks, i have been unable to try the game in multiplayer, but I am pretty sure it rocks.


Past Entertainment: Lady in the Water review.

 
1031 B.C. - 2010 A.D., Really Pathetic, LLC.