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Guitar Hero II

New geetar, new songs, same massive sense of excitement

Although we're not bored of the first Guitar Hero yet, the onset of 'fret wrist' - look, it's a recognised medical condition, OK? - has curbed our enjoyment somewhat. We are, however, preparing to play through the pain barrier and beyond come November when Guitar Hero 2 will come out and, hopefully, rock our world to the core.

The biggest change in the Guitar Hero formula comes in the form of the new co-operative mode, meaning one axe-wielder plays lead guitar, the other bass, and they aim for the highest score together. Think playing bass sounds a bit dull? Don't worry, we've done it and it isn't - though, admittedly, bassists are just never quite as cool as lead guitarists. It's a fact. No need to squabble over who gets to play lead, though - you can both play that role in Face-Off mode, as ever.


Get ready to rock
Co-op mode is the only real difference, to be honest, but Guitar Hero 2 is a prime example of not breaking something just to bosh it together again. You do, however, get a brand new Cherry Gibson controller which, we're reliably informed from Red Octane's rep, "is well sexy". There will also be some new characters and stages. But what you care about is the track listing, which you can see if you allow your eyes to stray to the right a little. It's not perhaps as commercial as the first game - not that GH1 was exactly rammed with chart tat. Out go Franz Ferdinand, David Bowie and Queen, and in come Lynyrd Skynyrd, Megadeth and Primus. It's a very American line-up, but we all know Americans do like to rock. But wait - no Achy Breaky Heart? Shame.

As we said, we still play the first Guitar Hero all the time, so we can't wait for this - despite some occasionally odd song choices. (We're all in favour of KISS, but Strutter instead of, say, Crazy Crazy Nights? You Really Got Me by Van Halen instead of Jump? And where's The Final Countdown?) But that's almost a non-issue. Guitar Hero's all about loud rock and ridiculous posturing and the sequel looks set to deliver by the axeful. Can't wait.

The verdict

It's Guitar Hero all over again, but with a stronger tracklist. As such, GH2 will doubtless prove to be as utterly essential as the first game.

PlayStation 2
Rhythm Action