Developer: Harmonix |
Publisher: RedOctane
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game |
Genre: Music

Release Date: 11/07/06

guitar.jpgAfter creating some of the most beloved Rhythm games for Sony, Developer Harmonix teamed up with RedOctane to deliver one of the most engrossing and beloved experiences of 2005. Guitar Hero had incredible sales and generated more hype than any other game of 2005. While other companies have tried releasing rhythm games with unique controllers–including Nintendo and Donkey Konga–the one thing that made Guitar Hero great was Harmonix. Now with all of their past experiences and last years’ Guitar Hero under their belt, it is time for even more fun with Guitar Hero II. After our time with the title at E3, it is safe to say that this will be one of the last high-profile games for the current generation of consoles.

This time out, Harmonix is promising at least fifty-five tracks. Since this franchise has become so popular, it appears that there won’t be any difficulty obtaining licenses for virtually any songs they choose to include in the title. Unfortunately most of these songs are being kept secret for the time being. However, we did get a taste of things to come with a few tracks that were revealed at E3. These include Who was in My Room Last Night, by the Butthole Surfers, John the Fisherman, by Primus, War Pigs, by Black Sabbath, Strutter, by KISS, YYZ, by Rush, You Really Got Me, by Van Halen, and Psychobilly Freakout, by Reverend Horton Heat. I hope several of the tracks from game one make an appearance in part two as well. But RedOctane chose to not comment on this at E3.

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The gameplay in Guitar Hero II will be very familiar to anyone who has picked up the first title. Players can use the same guitar controller and the title will be sold with or without the accessory. But this time instead of dueling with another person, you can actually participate in a co-op version where both players will be responsible to keep the song going. Even if you are having a good round, it can come to an end if your buddy messes up the notes. Having the Lead Guitar and Rhythm Guitar parts really adds a lot to the gameplay and gives it much more depth by forcing players to learn different parts to the same song.

For those of you who still wish to play guitar duels, like in the first game, with a friend–you will be happy to know that the classic mode will be making a return appearance. However this time out players can duel in different Lead Guitar parts. This mode, like in the original Guitar Hero, was an absolute blast to play. Nothing is more satisfying than rocking out to a favorite tune while completing outclassing a friend in the song. If only playing a real guitar was this easy!

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Guitar Hero II is shaping up to be an excellent follow-up to the surprise hit from a year ago. While the game will retain a similar feel and visual appearance, the addition of the new guitar modes will likely create another unique experience on the PS2 right before the PS3 ships to retail. Could Guitar Hero II become the most played game on the PlayStation 3 at launch? Unless something drastic happens, this game will be one you must own.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 07/23/06

Screenshots for Guitar Hero II