Guitar Hero II - PS2 review

When it comes to air guitar, we’re up for necking ten Barcadi Breezers and rocking out with the best of them. Deep down we all want to be Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses, but mere mortals like us just don’t have the time and Patience (geddit?) to get to grips with a real axe.

Enter Guitar Hero. It’s a plastic guitar that hooks up to your PS2 and behaves a lot like the real thing. You get fret buttons, a strumming thingy that you can err … strum, loads of barn storming tracks to unlock and top scores to beat. We’re in rawwwkkk heaven!

But what to do when you’ve exhausted all the tracks? Buy Guitar Hero 2 with 55 new toons of old, of course. Will they be enough to make us shell out all over again though?

Let’s explain how this plastic guitar works. Pick a track and you’ll see five coloured buttons in the centre of the screen that correspond with the five fret buttons on your mighty weapon. Just press the buttons when instructed and you’ll soon be a rock god on the throne.

Easy mode uses only three of the five buttons so you should be through it in no time. Step up the difficulty though and things start getting pretty complicated. We’re talking more fret buttons and tougher riffs to get your fingers round.

Hit the right notes and the songs will sound just like you remember. Get a few right in a row and your score will get an ever bigger boost.

If you perform particularly well, a star meter at the bottom of the screen starts filling up. Get the set and you can tilt the guitar upright to rack up even more points. Plus you get to look cool as hell too.

Playing through the sets of tracks unlocks much more difficult numbers to test your guitar shredding skills to the max. Impress an audience and you’ll start piling up cash to spend on new outfits, guitars and even new rawwkkkkked up endings to songs. We won’t give away whether or not the Hendrix finish makes another appearance.

To crack the higher difficulty levels you’ll need to learn about hammer ons, pull offs and lots more rock jargon. But there’s nothing like performing Foo Fighters’ Monkey Wrench on the top difficulty level and even your blistered fingers won’t take the sheen off your achievements.

The included songs – including the likes of Shout At The Devil, Heart Shaped Box and Carry On Wayward Son – are all recreations of the famous tracks rather than the original ones of course. The vast majority sound dead on though and when you’re playing along you’d be hard pressed to be put off by a slightly odd sounding accent.

Verdict

Whether the tracks will truly be to your liking – it’s hard rock all the way – is down to the individual, but Guitar Hero II remains a corker. In rock parlance, it goes right up to eleven.