-- Guitar Hero II
Guitar Hero II
Release Date: 03-Apr-2007
Developed By: Harmonix Music Systems
Published By: RedOctane
ESRB: TeenOfficial WebsiteAdd review
Guitar Hero II was released for the PlayStation 2 on November 7, 2006 in North America while the Xbox 360 version is currently scheduled for release on April 3, 2007. Guitar Hero Gibson SG controllers are compatible with the PlayStation 2 version of Guitar Hero II; the Xbox 360 version will have its own exclusive Mini Gibson X-Plorer guitar. Pre-ordered copies of Guitar Hero II came with a classic red SG Guitar (different from cherry red), a Guitar Hero II shirt, and stickers.
On October 5, 2006, in issue #110 of Official Playstation Magazine, a demo of Guitar Hero II was released to the public. It features four playable songs on all four difficulty levels, in both single player and co-op modes. The demo does not feature the ability to flip the notes for left-handed players, however. The demo features the songs "Shout at the Devil", "You Really Got Me", "Strutter" and "YYZ".
The game features 64 songs, 40 of which are licensed tracks. While most of these are covered in-studio as in the previous Guitar Hero title, Jane's Addiction's "Stop", Primus' "John The Fisherman", and all 24 bonus tracks are the original recordings. The gameplay is based on the successful formula created in the original Guitar Hero; the player must use the guitar peripheral to play scrolling notes by holding the corresponding fret button on the guitar neck and pressing the strum bar simultaneously.
Several changes have been made to the gameplay mechanics of Guitar Hero II:
* Three-button chords, requiring three fret buttons to be held down for the note to successfully be played.
* Pull-offs no longer require the lower note to be held down, and the window for strumming hammer-ons and pull-offs has been increased, making both techniques easier to use. Although these techniques have become easier, the overall difficulty seems to have been increased to compensate and more rapid-fire note sequences are seen in this iteration.
* The fretboard will now shake when the player breaks a note streak, the severity of which depends on the length of the streak. In multiplayer modes, the fretboard will shake only on the side of the player who broke the streak.
* Lefty flip is now an available option that can be toggled from the pause menu while playing a song. The player no longer needs to quit to the main menu to change this option every time.
* After the song is completed, the player can view a More Stats screen, detailing the percentage of notes played for each section of the song, the average multiplier the player had throughout the song, the number of star power phrases completed as well as the total number of notes played.
* High scores achieved during "Career Mode" are now included on the high score lists viewed in "Quick Play" mode (rather than keeping two separate high score lists, as in the previous game). Career mode high scores will be listed under the name of the career mode band that is created by the player.
In career mode, a player creates a band name and selects one guitarist from the available characters. Only the lead guitar is available to be played in this mode. Over the course of the career mode, the band plays at the eight different venues available in the game. After completing the required number of songs (three or four depending on the difficulty), the fans in the crowd will chant for an encore (except on Easy); passing the encore song will unlock the next tier of songs.
Any song successfully completed at the Medium or higher skill level during Career mode earns the player in-game cash, with more cash being given for higher difficulty and better scoring performances. The in-game money can be used at The Store to buy various items, though some items are only available after completing all the songs at higher difficulty levels or full 5-star performances. Purchases in The Store carry over to each difficulty in career mode and every game mode. The items at the store include:
* Guitars - Several Gibson guitars can be purchased. Additionally, there are 8 fictional guitars, such as a casket or a fish, that can be purchased once they are unlocked.
* Finishes - One to four different paint schemes are available for most guitars.
* Characters - Three additional characters can be made available by purchasing them (one includes an extra guitar).
* Alternate Outfits - Different sets of clothes are specialized for each character.
* Bonus Songs - 24 additional songs (as listed below) can be purchased.
* Videos - Two "behind the scenes" videos on the making of Guitar Hero II can be viewed. These videos are not available in the PAL version of the game.
There are three different multiplayer modes available in the game:
* Cooperative mode: Depending on the song, one player can play the lead guitar while the other can play bass or rhythm guitar. In co-op mode, both players share a score, rock meter, star power meter and streak multiplier. Co-op mode is the only multiplayer mode in which a song can be failed. In order to activate star power, both players must tilt the guitar or press the select button in unison. There are 5 bass guitars unlockable in cooperative mode.
* Face-Off mode: This is the same multiplayer mode as featured in the original game, but both players can individually select their difficulty to play on. The scores are weighted, so therefore, a player who hits more notes on the Easy difficulty than the player's opponent on Expert will win the round.
* Pro Face-Off mode: In this mode, both players play the full lead guitar track on the same difficulty. This mode is only available after completing Career Mode on Medium or higher.
Another new addition to the game is practice mode. This feature allows the player to practice certain sections of a song ("Verse 1," "Chorus," "Bridge 1," etc.) on different difficulties and instruments, and also affords the player the ability to toggle the speed of the notes (Full Speed, Slow, Slower and Slowest). After completing the section, a screen will show the number of notes hit. Although the player can view their multiplier streak in practice mode, they are not able to see star power phrases, the rock meter, or their score.
All versions of Guitar Hero II feature the same 64 playable songs. The majority of the songs are cover versions, with the exception of "Stop!", "John the Fisherman", and all 24 unlockable bonus songs. The remainder of the soundtrack is credited on screen with the phrase "as made famous by" (e.g. "Surrender, as made famous by Cheap Trick").
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