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Guitar Hero (PlayStation 2) artwork

Guitar Hero (PlayStation 2) review


"The life of a rock star: full of money, alcohol, and all out partying. Guitar Hero may not be able to provide the fun of passing out drunk on the floor, but it certainly captures the feel of rock in a video game. With all kinds of musical tracks and one of the coolest gaming peripherals, Guitar Hero makes you feel like youíre on that stage, with thousands of screaming fans going crazy. Well, as long as you donít look at yourself in the mirror. Anyone who is willing to fork over the extra $20 wil..."



The life of a rock star: full of money, alcohol, and all out partying. Guitar Hero may not be able to provide the fun of passing out drunk on the floor, but it certainly captures the feel of rock in a video game. With all kinds of musical tracks and one of the coolest gaming peripherals, Guitar Hero makes you feel like youíre on that stage, with thousands of screaming fans going crazy. Well, as long as you donít look at yourself in the mirror. Anyone who is willing to fork over the extra $20 will not be disappointed when they strap on that plastic guitar. Get ready to bang your head all through the day.

You can jump right into beginning your rock career, but completing the helpful tutorial is a wise choice. It familiarizes you with the basics of the game, as well as some advanced techniques for the Jimi Hendrix in all of us. After that, itís time to rise up in the ranks. You begin in a small basement in some house, with only five songs to perform. As you complete these songs, you get better gigs, providing you with some fresh music. Eventually youíll go from some wannabee to a rock Ďní roll god. That is, until you crank up the difficulty. Muwahahaha

Alright, maybe that was a bit exaggerated. The game isnít necessarily difficult, it just tests those fingers of yours. If there were ever a time to use them, itís in this game. On easy, you only have to use three of the controllerís five buttons. But wait until you raise it to the medium setting, as it utilizes your pinky. Hard difficulty is the ultimate test, as youíll have to use all five buttons. This means some slipping and sliding, unless you have a magical thumb. Itís a nice change of pace with each setting, and gives people of all skills their own comfort zone. But Iím sure youíre wondering by now, ďWhat is this Ďcontrollerí you speak of?Ē

The main attraction of Guitar Hero is the plastic guitar it comes with. Itís a respectable model of a real guitar, and is about 75% the size of one. It consists of five buttons and a flipper substituting the traditional strings. Striking a button in conjunction with strumming the flipper is how you hit each note coming on the screen. This requires timing, because you must wait until the notes reach the circles, or else youíll sound as though youíre a baby playing the guitar. (No disrespect to babies.) And despite being plastic, the controller doesnít look cheaply made. But I wouldnít test that by smashing the guitar on the ground. The guys that you see doing that are professionals...and they have a lot of money. Iím sure one electric guitar is the equivalent of a penny.

Visually, Guitar Hero is solid. There wonít be a whole lot of eye candy, but your character is quite lively on the screen. Theyíre feeling the groove, and they will take the energy from the roaring audience and use it as their own. Youíll find watching a grown man or woman running across stage while playing the guitar is a lot more fun than you thought. There will be different stages to run around, as there are few different venues. They are well designed, ranging from small, dark basements to huge stages full of flashing lights and special effects. Most of the time youíll be paying attention to the notes on the screen. They may be colorful, but this makes the graphics just a side factor to the game, contrary to the audio.

Guitar Hero is a music game, so sound is obviously going to play a huge part in the game. Guitar Hero comes with a wide assortment of rock songs. There are various styles of rock incorporated into the game, from modern punk rock to metal. Just like the songs, a wide array of artists are featured, including Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Cream, and Franz Ferdinand. Thatís just a little taste of what Guitar Hero has to offer, because there are 30 tracks in the game. Surprisingly, all of them are cover versions, yet they sound convincingly accurate. But music isnít the only part of the audio, as sound effects play a big role in the game. Whatís a concert if there is no crowd yelling their heads off? Also, if you play a note wrong, it sounds like it. That really shows how the developers payed mind to attention to detail. So turn those speakers up to 11 (sorry, I couldnít resist a Spinal Tap comment), because the audio is about as good as it gets.

Playing the game again and again is a lot of fun, but Guitar Hero is not without some lasting appeal. The game has all kinds of unlockables, but you have to be playing on medium or hard difficulty. There are behind the scenes videos, shiny new guitars, skins for customization, special characters, and best of all, new tracks. These 17 songs are what really offer the most replay value. All of them are from independent rock artists, but they are actually quite good. They provide a nice challenge, and increase the gameís life-span. Oh, and thatís not to mention the multiplayer. If you really want to have an awesome experience with your friends, then the smart thing to do would be purchasing another guitar. A regular PS2 controller can be used, but who wants to do that? Now with two guitar controllers, you can battle it out and watch your opponent look really goofy with you. Thatís entertainment at its peak.

Thereís a little rocker in everyone, and with Guitar Hero they can unleash it upon the world. Accessible to almost anyone with two hands, the game provides all kinds of fun, and some great music. You can feel it canít you? The adrenaline is pumping as the audience chants your name while you play a mad guitar riff. What youíre feeling is the Guitar Hero experience. And with just a few extra bucks, it can be in your hands. Itís a purchase you certainly wonít regret. Rock on

Rating: 9/10

amlabella's avatar
Community review by amlabella (July 08, 2006)

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