ESRB Rating: Teen
Have you ever wanted to play the guitar? Or have you ever caught yourself doing “air guitar”? If you answered yes to these questions or enjoy rhythm games you’ll probably enjoy Guitar Hero 2. Game play wise it’s more fun than the original but in the appropriateness area it’s a bit worse.
How do I play?
This game is the most fun when using the guitar controllers; you can buy these games with or without the controllers. There are wireless ones available too! The basic game play goes as follows. You have different colored fret bars on the guitar and when you see a colored note line up on the bottom you have to strum and press the corresponding colored fret bar. It takes some coordination and getting used to but it’s pretty easy to pick up. There are three tutorials that will show you the basics, how to gain and use star power, and advance techniques. I highly recommend watching them if you’re new to this game. Keep in mind there’s some foul language in them though. If you just want to dive in and jam there is a quick play mode. As you advance in the career mode it will unlock more songs for quick play.
How do I become a guitar hero?
In the career mode you get to select your difficulty (easy, medium, hard, expert), character, and their guitar (they only offer Gibsons). There are eight venues to play in and in order to advance to the next you have to beat three out of four songs, except for the last venue where you have to beat all four to win. With every venue you beat you have the option of playing an encore which gives you an extra song to play.
You earn money based on how well you do at beating songs. You can get 3-5 stars per performance and if you improve on an older rank you will get the difference added to your wallet. There are many things to unlock including songs, guitars, guitar skins, characters, clothes and documentary videos. You can even unlock new game play modes.
The graphics look smooth and the band and venues are nicely detailed and animated, though most of the time you’ll be looking at the fret bar in the center and the notes flying at you. There are more animations in this game versus the original especially during the encore sequences. Another added feature is now when you mess up a nice note streak, the screen will jitter on you.
This game is all about Rock n’ Roll and making music so of course it’s gotta be good! I will say that this game does an excellent job at making the song sound good or bad depending on how well you play it. The guitar solos can sound great and if you mess up you will hear a mis-strum or an awkwardly extended drum solo. Most of the music is done by cover bands, but they sound great. You can expect to play tunes from Guns N Roses, Danzig, Nirvana, Police, Rush, Motley Crue, Megadeth, and many others. There are many popular songs to play and many will get stuck in your head. You can play tunes such as Carry on Wayward Son, Cherry Pie, Mother, Heart Shaped Box, You Really Got Me, Sweet Child O Mine, War Pigs, Rock This Town etc. I was happy to see that Bucket Head wrote a song (Jordan) exclusively for this game. In the end you can actually play Freebird as an encore.
The main selling point of this game is the guitar controller that comes with it. There are five colored fret buttons. You will only use three in easy, four in medium and all five in hard or expert mode. The whammy bar is a nice touch as well. Lefty’s will not be left out since the game has a lefty flip option. To use star power you have to flip the guitar upwards like a real rock star; the sensor that does that is rather nifty in my opinion. You can also play with a standard PS2 controller, but what fun is that?
If you don’t like Rock n’ Roll or Heavy guitar music than you might not like this game. There are some lighter songs but a majority of the music is hard rock. With that being said let’s talk about lyricsThe very first song in the list is called Shout at the Devil; that title alone may offend many. Other songs have blaspheming in them. There are some dark characters, one having KISS makeup on. Izzy Sparks is another guitarist available, who has a skull over his belt and a very prominent pentagram on his fret bar. There is also lots of headbanging and the “devil horns’ hand gestures throughout the game. Finally, the female guitar characters do wear tight clothing or bikinis.
This game is incredibly fun and addictive I will not deny that. Multiplayer is very fun and you can play different roles such as bass, lead or rhythm guitar (some modes require unlocking). This game is great for parties provided that the music, language or pentagrams won’t offend anyone. I’ll be hesitant on purchasing any more games from this series.
Game Play 20/20 Graphics 9/10 Sound 10/10 Stability 5/5 Controls 5/5 Appropriateness Swear Words found in a R-rated movie are used in the game (-5 pts) God’s name in vain is used through out the game (-5 pts) Sexual references are made throughout the game. (-3.5 pts) Characters wear very revealing clothing such as bikinis or lingerie (-3.5 pts) Game portrays rebellion against established cultural norms. (-1.5 pts) Game takes place in an environment with major occult references. (-5 pts)