CES 07: Guitar Hero II Hands-On

We rock and roll with the 360 version of the popular rhythm game and get the scoop on a few new songs.


LAS VEGAS--These days, few industry secrets are better kept than the set lists for upcoming Guitar Hero games. We all has our favorite rockers we hope to strum to in the next game, and the folks at Red Octane are understandably protective of the information. The upcoming release of Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360 will mark the debut of the game on the system, and we had a chance to rock out to a few songs to see how the game is shaping up.

In addition to all the tracks from the PlayStation 2 version of Guitar Hero II, GHII for the Xbox 360 will include 10 new songs not seen in the PS2 game. While we don't know the full list yet, Red Octane has announced five of the new songs that will be in the game:

Pearl Jam -- "Life Wasted"
Rick Derringer -- "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo"
My Chemical Romance -- "Dead!"
Deep Purple -- "Hush"
Alice Cooper -- "Billion Dollar Baby"

Due to limited time with the game, we only had a chance to try out one of the new songs: "Life Wasted," a song we weren't familiar with but one whose driving beat and clever, tricky meter in the chorus made for a challenge both on bass and guitar when played in co-op.

The other song we tried out was the Buckethead scorcher "Jordan," a song that's found in the PS2 version of Guitar Hero II. It gave us a great chance to take the Xbox 360-exclusive guitar for a spin. Right off the bat we can say that this guitar has some definite advantages over the Gibson SG models found in the PS2 game. For one, it's got a cool new X-shaped design based on the Gibson X-Plorer model guitar. It also feels a bit sturdier than the PS2 model, and the fret buttons are a marked improvement over the PS2 model--firmer and less liable to wiggle under your fingers. It didn't help us beat "Jordan" on "hard" difficulty, but then few things could have.

Red Octane is still staying mum on most of its online plans for Guitar Hero II, but we do know you will be able to download songs from Xbox Live. Whether that means older songs from the original Guitar Hero or entirely new song packs remains to be seen. We do know the game will include online leaderboards so you can post your high scores for definitive rock-and-roll bragging rights over your buddies. There's more to learn about Guitar Hero II leading up to release, including the release of the final five songs on the list of tunes. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

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