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Volume 72, Issue 68, Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Life & Arts

'Guitar Hero 2' shreds harder than previous installment

Wired In 

John-Michael Haines

Filled with screaming guitar solos and tripped-out pedal effects, Guitar Hero 2 greatly expands on every aspect of its predecessor, creating a better and longer lasting gaming experience.

Each difficulty level in Guitar Hero 2 features 40 regular songs, rather than 25 like in the first Guitar Hero. The game includes a more diverse track list with songs from well known bands like Rush, Aerosmith, Nirvana, Guns N' Roses and Van Halen, in addition to tracks from some relatively more obscure bands like Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy and The Sword. 

While most of the songs are covered by studio musicians, Primus and Jane's Addiction allowed use of "John the Fisherman" and "Stop," respectively. The covers are incredibly convincing, and may even fool fans who are playing them. A few of them aren't even close, since no one else sounds like Axl Rose or Steven Tyler, but in every case the guitar work is still spot on. 

Guitar Hero 2 has a new two-player cooperative mode that allows one player to take on the rhythm or bass duties while the other plays the usual lead guitar. Some of the tracks are a little predictable and boring for the person playing rhythm, but some are genuinely inventive. Another added bonus is the encore performances at the end of every set, which make players feel like real rock stars. 

The Faceoff multiplayer mode is vastly improved, allowing two players to select different difficulty levels, which enables gamers to go head-to-head with players of varying skill levels. The new Pro-Faceoff setting lets both players play the same lead guitar set against each other, but it does not appear until the game is beaten on any difficulty except easy. 

Guitar Hero 2 has more bonus features than before. There are 24 bonus tracks, including the Internet sensation "Trogdor" from Strongbad of the infamous Homestar Runner Web site. 

Fans might be disappointed, though, since there isn't any Led Zeppelin, Metallica or AC/DC included in the sequel. Nevertheless, Guitar Hero 2 is the most outstanding music game money can buy. 

Send comments to dcshobiz@mail.uh.edu

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