My friends and I have been very much enjoying Guitar Hero II on the Xbox 360 released earlier this month.
Despite reservations we’ve found ourselves jumping around performing a variety of silly stances, head bops and special moves whilst we attempt to strum ‘n chord in time to the tricky yet rewarding tracks available. Once we got a second guitar and hit the co-operative (one bass, one lead) and VS modes (turns each or both together) then out-performing the other player off-screen as well as on became an integral part of the game.
The line-up of songs is a little disappointing – when there is one “made famous” by a well known band then it tends to be one of their less famous song. I say “made famous” as the game clearly points it out they are, alas, cover versions bar a small handful.
Extra tracks are available on-line in packs of 3 for 500 MSP‘s each. These are again cover versions presumably due to the developer being unable to license the original audio mix to the songs so that they can cut out the guitar and bass lines when you fail to hit the right combination of colorful buttons and strum in time.
One pleasant surprise is that the guitar is just a normal USB device and can be used under Windows once the XInput common controller driver is installed or on the Mac using TattieBogle’s Xbox 360 OS X driver.
Why would you want to do that? To play the free cross-platform Guitar Hero clone Frets on Fire with all the fan-created songs of course!
Whilst there are plans for Guitar Hero: 80s Edition and Guitar Hero III the franchise is being handed over to Activision’s Neversoft team (Tony Hawks) as they bought the rights to the name when they snapped up Guitar Hero’s publisher Red Octane.
Original music-game-only developer Harmonix aren’t whining about it or heading to the courts, oh no. They are fighting back with Rock Band that throws drums and vocals on top of lead and bass guitars.
PS: Under no circumstances consider playing either game with a keyboard or a regular controller – the experience just isn’t the same.