Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PS2 Week: Guitar Hero II

Hi there gang and welcome back for Day 3 of PS2 Week. Well we have explored two action adventures games and now is clearly the time to change over to another genre. How about one of the highest grossing emulator franchises? Simulating rocking out with a controller shaped in the form of an electric guitar and playing along with notes scrolling towards the player, this sequel managed to sell just a little over 3.1 million copies since 2007. Sold individually or bundled with a cherry red Gibson SG guitar controller, this game as been proven fun for all ages. This is Guitar Hero II.

How sick is this drawing, right?

Released by Harmonix, published by our friends at Activision and finally distributed by RedOctane this second installment of Guitar Hero was released for PS2 and Xbox 360, each having different box cover art as well as the Xbox 360 was bundled with a white Gibson guitar controller. Both controllers were wired but RedOctane also sold a wireless controller solely for the PS2. With more than 40 popular songs, a few of them cover versions recorded specifically for the game and crossing more than 50 years, this game is an all-age game having characters on stage at concerts playing notes as fast as possible and as accurate to give perfect score. Ranging from Easy to Hard, the band takes on each gig as the song of choice starts belting out and you keep up with in following notes and color context to match the buttons on the guitar. With not only the licensed music came showing of the licensed instruments from speakers to drum sets, each guitar, speaker, bass and drum kit got its spotlight making the manufacturers a bit happier to get new and existing generations involved in music.

In case some of you players were not born in the 80s.

On Career Mode, players create a band name and select a guitarist from the run of characters available, Each of the eight character provide a unique take on rock music at the start of the game : Eddie Knox, Axel Steel, Casey Lynch, Lars Umlaut, Izzy Sparks, Judy Nails, Johnny Napalm and Pandora. Better performances means better cash and the ability to purchase better equipment.

Even better though is the Multiplayer options. Co-op allows a bass or rhythm guitar to share score, the rock meter and show off star power via star power meter. This is the only multiplayer mode in which a song can fail. Face-Off the same feature from the original game but with a few tweaks. Players chose their own difficulty for each song and the scores are weighted accordingly, so the player on Easy with less notes might not out and out lose the expert tagging most of his or her notes. Pro Face-Off puts the players playing the same guitar track on the same difficulty level.

The immense success of this game brought us an expansion pack entitled Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s prior to the release of Guitar Hero II: Legends of Rock.

Voted in 2006 as Best Soundtrack, Best Music Game and Best Play Station 2 Offline Multiplayer Game it is no wonder that households, college dorms and shabby furnished apartments were rocking out to this easy to understand and fun to play game. I'd wager $50 that this was the reason for more than a few minimum wagers calling in sick for a few more hours of game time but that is just my theory.
Expert level is murder on the fingers!