Welcome to my guide for the guitar hero and rock band games for the playstation 2.
Guitar hero and rock band are both classed as rhytmn based music games, basically you either use a guitar shaped controller or gamepad to hit notes in time with the music!
The gamepad controllers do not work for Guitar hero world tour or rock band!
The main reason why these games are best for the playstation 2 is compatibility of guitar controllers.
For example, on the Nintendo Wii, xbox 360 and playstation 3 versions of the game, typically the guitar controllers from one series of game will not work for the other, a guitar hero guitar doesn't work on rock band, resulting in extra expense for a rock band guitar, the same apllies the other way round.
But, if you own the original wired controller from either guitar hero 1 or 2, they work on all guitar hero and rock band games, meaning you only have to purchase one controller, saving you money.
Having played guitar hero games on a number of formats, there is very little difference between the formats, not enough to warrant the extra cost needed to purchase these games on the wii, 360 or PS3.
The only real bonus feature of the next gen versions is downloadable content, but most of it is not free!
Guitar hero 1 : Only available for playstation 2. Personal rating 85%
The original, and rated by most critics to be the best, the graphics are sharp, the songlist may be short, but it is good, most if not all of the tracks are covers (presented as 'made famous by'), the difficulty settings are pretty much spot on, but hammer ons and pull offs are tricky to do.
Guitar hero 2 : On Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. Personal rating 85%
The sequel that didn't disappoint at all, more songs, the graphical format for playstation 2 remans largely unchanged, overall the game is pretty good and some of the songs are pleasant to play, jessica by the allman brother band and Freebird by lynard skynard (very last song on your setlist)are two examples.
Guita hero encore, rocks the 80's : Only available for Playstation 2. Personal rating 80%
Same format as guitar hero 2, this is the first game that is genre specific, and it is pretty enjoyable to play, this is aimed mainly at people in there late 30's and onwards, people with fond memories of 80's rock music.
Guitar Hero 3 : Legends of rock : On PS2, PS3, xbox 360 and nintendo Wii, Personal rating 90%.
A completely new format and layout, the introduction of the wireless controller as well for greater movement freedom, there are even more songs to get your teeth into, introduction of guitar battling as well, which is fun, all the songs are performed by the original artists as well, a first for these games. There is also one song on this game which is used to measure how good you really are at Guitar Hero, it called through the fire and the flames by Dragonforce, to most people, including me, this song on hard and expert is almost impossible, it can be done, there are videos on youtube where peope have done it!
Guitar hero Aerosmith : On same as above, Personal rating 70%
Same format as guitar hero 3, this is the first artist speciffic game, I'm not overly keen on aerosmith, turns out most people aren't, hence why second hand prices for this game are less then typical guitar hero games, but if you are an Aerosmith fan, you'll love it!
Guitar hero world tour : On same as above, Personal rating 75%
Game format has changed again, the first game to use the full game format, vocal, drums and bass guitar, but the end result for the Playstation 2 version is not impressive, the text size during gameplay is very small and almost unreadable, even on a 32" widescreen TV, the graphics are jerky and crude, there are nearly 100 songs to play, but the setlists are fixed, you can't skip songs you not really keen on, some of these setlists are almost an hour long to play, making this game sometimes hard work to play rather than something you enjoy, also the setlist are heavy mixed, you'll get an indie song then you'll get a fast paced metal song, no consistency. oh and beginner difficulty setting is just insulting for anyone over the age of 6.
Rock band : On same as above, Personal rating 80%
This is Guitar Hero's mayor rival, and I'm pleased to report there first attempt is very good, for the playstation 2 the in game background graphics are quite jerky, but the strum bar is clear and easy to see, the song list isn't as long as Guitar hero world tour's, but just like the game above, you have to play all the songs in a given setlist to unlock the next playlist, people used to guitar hero's typical level difficulty will find rock band quite easy to play, even on hard and expert settings.
Rock Band 2 : On same as above, Personal rating 90%
The sequel which is better than the first game, and the first game was pretty good, the song list structure is better than Guitar Hero World Tour, you get a mixture of individual songs to play and setlists where you have some say over what you play, the game doesn't focus too heavily on getting all the song played, more on how well you can play, gigs are earned or unlocked based on stars earned through out your career, you need X amount of stars to advance, so you'll get though the game quicker if you play songs and get 4 or 5 star rating rather than struggling though and getting 2 or 3 stars. The game has also addressed the lack of difficulty present in the first game, each song also gets a difficulty rating for either guitar, bass, vocals or drums, and the difficulty ratings are accurate, some songs are easy to the point of boring, whilst other songs will make your fingers ache, if your given a choice between this title and Guitar hero world tour, this overall is the better title for solo and group players.
Other titles available in the UK.
Rock band track pack 1 and 2 : but £20 (PS2) for less than 20 songs to play is expensive.
Rock band AC/DC : Band specific game, good if you like AC/DC.
Guitar Hero Metallica : second band specific game, not releasd yet, eagely awaited title by lots of guitar hero fans, me included, I will give a full report when I get my copy!
Guitar Hero on tour : Game only avaiable for the Nintendo DS, comes with fret button attachment, web ratings for this game are fairly good, although i have heard you need headphones to play the game well
Tips and tricks
In guitar hero 3, during a battle, instead of getting star power, you get battle power, save at least two battle items for the end of the battle to use on your opponent, whilst he does his death drain solo.
Instead of tilting the guitar to activate star power (a points doubling bonus or life saver, depending on how well your doing), which is tricky to do without moving your fingers, press the select button instead, usually with the palm of your hand, it's easier.
If you intend to do well, you have to master hammer on's and pull off's, to some level.
The game is easier to play sitting down than standing up.
learn to know where your fingers are on the fret buttons, the good news is that middle fret button has rasied marks on it, so you know when your fingers are, a neccesary skill on hard and expert levels.
Your fingers will get tired if play for long periods, rest your hands often.
If possible, use a direct connecton from your games console to your television, running your game though a VHS or DVD recorder can cause a slight delay called lag, which seriously hampers gameplay.
Plasma and LCD televisions also have problems with lag, the game does have a lag calibration seting, use it if you have issues playing.
This game is fun to play, enjoy your journey into Guitar Hero or Rock Band world.