Review by EJRICH

"This Just Proves Even With All of its Gimmicks, Nintendo Can Still Miss Out on the Classics"

For all the gimmicky garbage that the Wii gave us, not one game bothered to do something as simple as connecting a guitar to a TV screen. “Oh, that's ridiculous. Why would we ever want to do that?” To tell you the truth, I don't know why you'd ever not want to do that. The idea alone is pure genius. Think of it: for every person that can play the guitar, there's about ten who can't. And yeah, they are partially to blame thanks to their lazy habits and habitually slow finger picking, but did you ever stop to think for a minute how long it actually takes to learn how to play one of those things?

Years.

I don't know about you, but I don't have years to give to an instrument that I'll probably never use to make a buck, throw in a closet after I get bored with it, and wind up forgetting anyway after years of not playing. But some people do, and all the power to them.

For the rest of us who don't, a developer other than Nintendo decided to get a bit daring and create a game that actually houses a bit of innovation. That game was Guitar Hero. It being a huge hit was an understatement, and I can guarantee you Nintendo's staff were beating themselves over their innovative heads for not coming up with it first. Some time later and here we are with the follow-up to one heck of a game, Guitar Hero II.

Much like its predecessor, Guitar Hero II focuses on allowing players to rock their heads off with the game's actual namesake, a guitar. Forget about the days when calluses would be a never-ending problem due to string holding – now you're given five easily recognizable color coded buttons that take up the space where the normal strings would have been housed. By using these buttons in unity with the bar located where you'd usually strum, the player can rock out to the song that was picked.

But don't think it's that easy. Located on the screen is a “Highway” that floats by as the song goes on. On that highway are colored buttons, and as you could guess, in order to play the song, you'll have to hit those buttons in unity with the buttons on your guitar. Each song that you pick also sports a different mix of challenges, making sure that you'll never want to throw this guitar right next to the real one in your closet.

Which leads me to ask this question: what will you be rocking out to? The song lists are pretty varied, but the artists that will really catch a player's eye include The Police, Areosmith, The Rolling Stones, and most unforgettably Queen. Add that to the fact that there are about 48 more main songs, plus a plethora of bonus tracks, and any guitar binger will have more than enough to play to until the next dawn.

So you've played a couple of practice sessions, possibly gotten yourself some experience with a couple of the game's artists – now what? Among a multiplayer mode and a sort of free play (eh, practice), the game also features a career mode to truly bring it home. Choosing one of multiple guitarists, it'll be your job to take your band to the next stage, completing concerts and spreading your guitar know-how across the globe. As you do complete more sessions, you'll gain access to a bunch of guitars and possibly super fan-dome, which means you win. Like you didn't see that coming. Aside from the main game, you also have the ability to hook up with a friend and play some multiplayer. And yeah, it does require two guitars to adequately play the songs, but the thought of being able to successfully compete (or go against) another player in concerts really makes it worth your wile, especially if you both are guitar junkies.

Not to say that some may not want to buy the game – it alone is going to run you quite the bundle. Not counting the guitar, the game alone will usually run you about 50 bucks. With it, and it does hurt, the game will wind up costing around 80. Whether you can stomach that high of a price tag or not really doesn't matter, as few other games on the market offer the true perfection that GHII provides. Hats off to some other developer than Nintendo for literally driving a bulldozer through the gaming world.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/07


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