Guitar Hero is one of those games that almost everyone in the world plays, from the hardcore to the casual to the multi-player enthusiasts. Generation X, Y, and Z, more or less, enjoy rock and roll, from the hard hitting heavy metal, to the soft core light acoustic. Even the biggest fans of Hip Hop and Rap enjoy an occasional rock song once and a while. For years, only a select few could play a guitar
, let alone learn how to. Now, with Guitar Hero 2 on it's first foray into the current generation on the 360, we get a strong, if not rocky, first set that let's gamers mimic their favorite rock god all in the comfort of their own home.
A game like Guitar Hero needs to thrive on it's gameplay, and like it's playstation predecessors, it succeeds.....mostly. The song choice this time around is very strong, with great songs thrown into the mix here. The 10 exclusive songs are great hits, especially Iron Maiden's The Trooper and Rick Derringers Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo. Kansas, Van Halen
, Kiss, The Police, Butthole Surfers, Nirvana, Primus, and other famous bands get some songs into the mix. Great songs like John The Fisherman, Message in a Bottle, Beast and the Harlot, Jessica, and Free Bird are put into the game, giving a lot of variety that Guitar Hero 1 missed. It is easily a LOT stronger in most respects than Guitar Hero's setlist. One problem with this though is that a lot of the songs were good second choices. Kiss's Strutter and Van Halens You Really Got Me come to mind. Also other songs, like Cheap Trick's Surrender and Danzig's Mother, are not as strong entrants as I hoped they would be, but overall the songs are a great mix.
Another good thing is that this time around, most of the bonus songs are worth playing this time! I'm not going to lie, Trogdor and Thunderhorse are great, Jordan is near impossible, and other ones like Gemini, Elephant Bones, and Soy Bomb are fun party tracks to play. They add a ton of replay to the game, that is for sure, and again, offer a strange mix of variety that makes the game fun.The practice mode is also a great addition, and as are the new co-op choices, and thankfully, the 360 gibson X-plorer guitar works well....sometimes.
The problem is not the gameplay, per se, which, is essentially unchanged, but the fact that the peripheral that comes with it is broken. The whammy bar is unresponsive, the fret buttons rarely work, and when they do they sometimes stick together, making the game hard to play. Playing the game
is a lottery this way, and it is just to damn frustrating to enjoy the game sometimes because of the broken controller. I had to return the controller twice just to get a working one, and it was a re-release of the X-plorer guitar too, and to this day the whammy bar is still broken. It's a shame to see the controller fail so miserably, especially for such a fun game.
The game also adds a co-op mode and new multiplayer, which lets you play a whole song over segments of the song, a great addition. Now you can rock out together, or competitively, with your friends. This addition ups the replay value of the game ten-fold, and if you find two working controllers, it makes the game a truly fun experience.
Like all 360 games, the graphics looks pretty good, even though in this type of game, they are not the focus. Crisp edges, smooth framerates, and nice crowd and lighting effects give the game a unique flavor. Still not the prettiest game in the world, though, despite the graphical upgrade. It pales in comparison to other games out there. Once again, the caricatures of famous rock stars, from Iggy Pop, (Izzy Sparks) your favorite Kiss Member (Lars Umulat), and my personal favorite, John Lennon (Clive Winston). Most of the characters, in a great upgrade, have an alternate costume you can unlock.
Honestly, it sounds awesome! I don't even have to go into this really. The songs are all essentially good covers, with the exception of the 4 master tracks. Some of them are dead on, like Message in a bottle. Others, like You Really Got me, were kind of off. The game regardless is still a strong game in the sound department.
If the X-plorer controller has not messed up on me twice, the score would be a lot higher. Guitar Hero is a great game that deserves a high score, and is easily a playable game by all genre lovers out there. A true game of skill, determination, practice and fun. This is a must own for the 360 owners, no question. Just wait a while until the good controllers come out, then you don't have to worry as much!
Final Score- B+