April 11, 2007 - Last week we asked for http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/778/778718p1.html. The response was astonishing. Hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails flooded our inbox throughout the weekend and still continue to do so. Unfortunately, that means we can't publish everyone's thoughts, but we do sincerely thank every one of you that wrote in. This series of features is, after all, driven by the readers. But enough with the teary eyed shenanigans. We're here to talk Guitar Hero II. It's only the most rockingest game ever. Or is it? Here are your thoughts. Keep in mind these comments came and were compiled prior to the first wave of downloadable tracks being released and their controversial pricing
So I go down to Best Buy on launch day to pick up GH2, and come home to find my whammy bar is busted -- I've returned it twice so far -- I'm on my third guitar now, and each one has been just as bad as the last. It works maybe 10% of the time...it doesn't matter if I slam it down repeatedly against the guitar or just wiggle it softly as I would on the PS2 versions of the game; either way, it works maybe one out of every ten times. I've tried everything. It makes no sense. The only crazy thing I can think of is that maybe all the extra silica gel packets included in the guitar's packaging somehow absorb too much moisture and mess with the whammy bar's operation. Is that even a possibility? Have you guys heard if there will be a recall on them? I want a fully functioning 360 guitar!
We got a lot of e-mails like this. A lot. We won't print them all, but know that this whammy bar complaint was common.
Need for Wireless Overcome
I think Guitar Hero II for 360 is an amazing game. I've played the PS2 version for hours and loved it and I just think they made the game even better for its 360 release. Besides the improved sound and graphics, the 10 new songs make it an even more fresh experience and the downloadable content should keep it fresh for much longer. As far as the X-Plorer controller, I think it handles better than the SG controller but it's not without its flaws. The fact that it's not wireless is a major drawback. It wouldn't be as bad if they had just made the wire about twice as long as it is now but 360 is all about bringing in the wireless technology so I feel Guitar Hero II should've continued that idea. It also feels like the 'star power' move detector is more sensitive in the 360 version which is beneficial but there have been a few times where I barely move the controller and it goes into star power when I don't want it to. Other than those two drawbacks I really feel the 360 version is amazing in just about every way. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.
One of the very early models of the guitar we had in the office had a similar twitchy star power trigger. Our retail ones haven't had any problems. Odd.
Up until Tuesday, I had never played a guitar hero game. I didn't know anyone who owned it, and I had discarded my PS2 some time before. I bought it, and this is the first game in a very long time that has me thinking about even when I am not playing it. Every song I hear, I listen and evaluate how well it would work on Guitar Hero. I can visualize the fretboard for Iron Maiden's Trooper, playing it in my head, anticipating really playing it when I get home. Last night, I was playing Co-op mode almost all night with a friend. This is one of the freshest, most entertaining, engrossing games I have played in a long, long time. Also, if I had to choose one band/song I would want Harmonix to release in their DLC, it would have to be Dragonforce. All of their songs would work fantastically in GH2.
We also had requests for Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, and other guitar gods. We'll throw a few more out there that we want on DLC that aren't in the rock pantheon: The Great Kat, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, and Nightwish.
GH II definitely rocks. I think there's only three ways you can hate this game...you hate rock music, you have no rhythm therefore suck, or you have no soul. Most of the songs really give you the feeling of playing the guitar and living most people's dream of being a rock star.
As far as the controller, the only previous experience I have is playing the PS2 version at Best Buy, so I can't speak too much. However, the strap does get pretty annoying, not only does it tend to twist the wrong way, but it's also uncomfortable against the skin. The shape also causes a few problems are there's really no place to comfortably rest your hand during long sessions. Those are two pretty minor gripes though. The controller being wired didn't cause me many problems either. As long as you don't go completely wild while playing you'll be fine...the cord is long and comes off the guitar in a way so it doesn't trip you or anything.
My control had no problems, works fine as just like with any product the people who have problems make their voice heard more then those who have no problems...making it seem worse then it is.
The song list is pretty sweet; I just wish more of them were the master tracks. The cover band does a great job on most songs, but there's a few of my favorites that are butchered (cough - Killing in the Name Of - cough)! Although I can't say any song butchers the guitars and that's what it is all about so I guess I can't really complain.
Overall this is probably the most fun I've had playing a game in a long time, period. It's something that really can't be explained, it has to be played first hand.
More master tracks would be sweet. There's always Rock Band to look forward to.
Thoughts for the Future
Guitar Hero II is right now, the must-own game for the 360. The new controller is great, the fret buttons and strum bar feel much better than the original SG. The start and back buttons don't feel quite right or as convenient as start and select was on the SG, but I'm so used to tilting the controller for Star Power anyways.
As for where Rock Band is going to go, I think it's going to be amazing to see how this game turns out. I probably won't take part in the vocals, but adding a full drum line should be awesome! I hope they finally put some decent bands on there, but we'll just have to see, for I know just as much as everyone else does.
We're not fans of the new button placement either. They feel weird and it just makes the whole package look less guitar-like than the SG.