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Review: Guitar Hero II(2) - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 19 April 2007, 12:56

Tags: Guitar Hero II, Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), RedOctane, Xbox 360, PS2, Simulation

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Rock 'N Roll Baby!

"God of Rock, thank you for this chance to kick ass. We are your humble servants. Please give us the power to blow people's minds with our high voltage rock. In your name we pray, Amen." - School of Rock

I'd say I'm perfectly qualified to review Guitar Hero II. At home I have a room dedicated to the guitar where I spend many an hour pulling faces and attempting to master many of the famous riffs of the past few decades. On the wall I have a print of the Beatle's Sgt.Pepper Album, in the corner of the shrine sits a music stand where the sheet music from Queen's Greatest Hits lies permanently open at the page of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the floor is covered in a maze of cables that lead to three amps and, propped up against the wall next to the effects pedal sit two Fender and two Les Paul copies.

The actual truth is, although I do love playing the guitar, I'm not very good at it. I mainly play rhythm, and only occasionally venture into lead; even then I tend to get frustrated and give up fairly quickly. I'm more into playing the likes of the Beatles and Bob Dylan than Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix and my only live gig so far has been at church where I played a thundering set of 6 hymns to a dozen or so OAPS. I didn't smash my guitar into tiny bits at the end of the gig; instead I headed to the church hall for a cup of tea and a biscuit with my wrinkled admirers.

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I’m a frustrated guitarist that has always wanted to be a band, but don’t really have the skill or the confidence to do so, but the Guitar Hero franchise has re-awakened that urge in me to improve and I've now got my first ever guitar lesson planned for the end of the month. Until that time however, Guitar Hero II fills that gap, and allows me to play songs that I couldn't possible play on my real guitar. It certainly doesn't replace the real thing, but the game is so masterfully designed that it does let you experience a smidgeon of what it must be like to slip into the skin tight leathers of a famous rock star.

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I've already played the first Guitar Hero game on the Playstation 2; in fact it's one of my favourite games of all time, so you can probably guess already which way this review is going to sway.

When I pick up my X-plorer guitar controller, which is emblazoned with a half a dozen rock 'n roll stickers, I can't help but feel the vortex of rock flowing through me veins as I pull different rock faces (my sex face according to my fiancée)and try to blag my way through the tricky solo on Lynyrd Skynyrd's awesome Free Bird or attempt to keep up with the relentless riff of My Chemical Romance's 'Dead'.