Guitar Hero 2

by Mike Shea on 7 April 2007

is the best role playing game I've ever played. It makes me want to buy a costume and LARP as Keith Richards (no, I'm not going to snort my dad, but THAT, my friends, is a rock star).

A friend of mine referred to as "Simon Says with music" and he's not far off, but the description does no justice to the strength of this game. , beyond any game I've played in a long time, is just plain fun. Every time I think about it or talk about it with Michelle, I smile.

Guitar Hero slipped by with little notice but amazing sales last year. The makers hit on something that lay dormant in each of us for our whole lives. It tapped into a fantasy of ours that we've had ever since watching Michael Jackson do his Thriller dance.

We always wanted to be rock stars. Now we can.

The game play in doesn't go far beyond pressing five buttons and clicking a switch at the right time. Using this same level of description, playing a real guitar isn't much more than plucking the right strings with the right finger positions. The game is so much more but it all comes down to one thing. is fun. Really really fun.

Just a few hours ago I was walking out the door with Michelle to go out for our weekly Korean dinner. My left hand hurt like hell from a particularly hard run with "Message In A Bottle" by Sting. The shifting chords during the chorus play havoc with my ring and little fingers, but even that pain made me smile.

Back to the gameplay. A song plays, the louder the better, and you press five buttons on the neck of your Guitar Hero guitar controller and strum just as one color hits the line on a constantly moving conveyer. Chords require pressing two buttons. When you build up enough star power, you lift the guitar up and rock out for double the score. A whammy bar adds a bit of jazzy customization to your game.

There are a ton of tracks from all over the past twenty years of rock and roll. Even the tracks you don't like are a lot of fun to get through. The ones you do like, however, like Message in a Bottle or Can You Hear Me Knockin' are gaming bliss.

The game isn't cheap. It's $90 for the game and one guitar controller. A second controller is another $60. Co-op play looks awesome but I haven't tried it yet.

I can't see this game ever getting old, though. It's a reason to have a console. The graphics are fine but they aren't the point. The music is awesome and the sound of the crowd adds a lot. Being able to buy and download new tracks directly from Xbox Live is another big plus of the Xbox 360 version.

I haven't played a game that made me feel the way does. It's one of the most amazing games I ever played.

If you have any question about how cool this game is, just check this out.