Review by elsquanto

"It's time for your medication, Mr. Brown"

“Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about Rock n' Roll!”
~Shigeru Miyamoto

A short, short time ago in an arcade near you, a game known as Dance Dance Revolution was released. Using just four arrows falling up the screen in rapid succession, the objective was to step on the foot pads at the same time they flashed. This game ate many a quarter, and almost everybody has tried their hand at DDR at least once. The concept was simple; make a highly interactive game that allows people to simulate what they were doing with music. It would be easy enough so that anybody could walk up, pick up and play it, but hard enough so that the people who wanted to be dirty at it would need to waste a lot of quarters.

This philosophy was followed by the release of Guitar Hero. A miniature guitar shaped controller was your dance pad, and it was easy to get used to. The buttons cascaded down the screen, representing notes and chords which could be formed together to make crushing riffs and spectacular solos. You could be Dimebag Darrell, Jimmy Hendrix, Dave Mustaine or Eric Clapton. And the best part was that it required no quarters. 'Twas an excellent day for mankind.

Now, Guitar Hero's sequel has been ported to a next-gen console, and although the spectacular gameplay turned has returned, it's just slightly more polished than its Playstation 2 counterpart. All of the buttons come from the top of the screen along the neck of a guitar, and you hold down the buttons and strum when they reach the proper timing point. Throw in a whammy bar to give your long notes some flair, star power letting you rack up the points and keep you from being booed offstage, and you have yourself quite an addicting experience.

For the Xbox 360, Guitar Hero II has some interesting additions, most notably leaderboards to keep track of who has the highest score. It's probably not you. I never thought it was possible for some people to rack up the points on the songs they did, but that's true for any game with leaderboards you've ever come across. In the words of AC/DC, “It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock n' roll”...

The Xbox version also has some unique songs, my favorite being “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden. You know you've always wanted to play the galloping guitar, and now you have the opportunity. There are some classics, such as “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo”, and some low points added too <cough>My Chemical Romance</cough>. Overall, the new songs fit in nicely with the old ones, and add just that many more for you to play.

However, it's what the port is missing which detracts from such a phenomenal game. Of course the graphics look much better, but if you're playing Guitar Hero because you think it has excellent graphics, then you need to play some more games. Some of the greatest bands of all times are missing from Guitar Hero II. Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Metallica and Pink Floyd are nowhere to be found, but My Chemical Romance is... c'mon.

Also, remember the Xbox 360's ad campaign that said “Fully Wireless”... my ass. The Xbox 360 Guitar Hero controller comes complete with a wire which loves to pull itself out of your console when you rock too hard.

Also, there is no online multiplayer or cooperative play, which is unexpected considering that Xbox Live is the most advanced online play available right now. This is a shame because most of the achievements are for cooperative play.

But even with its flaws and lack of specific things which would have made it a ten, Guitar Hero II still rocks. It's an amazingly addictive game which will soak up hours of your time, and you'll rarely notice the flaws.

Graphics - 6/10 - Not Important
Gameplay - 9/10 - More addicting than drugs
Sound - 8/10 - Song choice ain't the best

Overall - 7/10, mainly due to missing features...


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/18/07


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