Universal acclaim - based on 69 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 69
  2. Negative: 0 out of 69
  1. Better in every way than the previous game...Unless you hate rock, you need this game.
  2. In case you haven't got the point by now, Guitar Hero II rocks. It rocks hard. It bests the original in nearly every way, and that's a damn hard thing to do. [Dec. 2006, p.124]
  3. Almost every aspect of the game has been tweaked to perfection which leaves me in a predicament: I gave the last game a 5 out of 5 and GH2 is vastly superior in virtually everyway. So can I pull a Spinal Tap and crank up my review score to give GH2 an impossible, uncanny 6 out of 5?
  4. Lightning does strike twice and Guitar Hero II is 1.21 gigawatts of blazing electric guitar gameplay with a perfect track selection, perfect gameplay, perfect multiplayer, and perfect fun that will start the day you open the game and last until the day you, your PS2, or your guitar dies.
  5. 100
    Everything about the game is better and the new features and additions are simply icing on an almost already perfect cake. Tons of new songs, three note chords, progressive scan images, pretty decent covers (in most cases), new multiplayer modes, practice modes, encores, awesome graphic cutscenes...Guitar Hero is always going to be a ten, but Guitar Hero II takes it to eleven.
  6. This game personifies all that is good about rock and roll - along with its excesses. Guitar Hero II does exactly what it says it will do, which is to rock your ass off (but instead of ass, it's your fingers).
  7. Guitar Hero II wins four stars from me because it has an excellent training mode that is missing from the original. That's the only major difference between the two games, other than the songs.
  8. The original's head to head multiplayer wasn't vital enough to make the expense worthwhile, but this time the co-op play is so integral to the game's appeal that most will find it irresistible...This is an absolutely stellar release, with too much variety, originality, rewards, and pure fun to even think about missing out on.
  9. 100
    But the truly useful game play additions show that this publisher actually listens to its fan base – the superb new music lineup is just icing.
  10. 100
    It's everything good about videogames in one package, forever encouraging you to play "one more song!" until it's 3AM and the neighbors are yelling for you to turn down that racket.
  11. 100
    The sequel improves greatly on an already superb product with an in-depth training mode, a song list that holds up just as well as the original, and multiplayer that includes cooperative play. Everyone should rock out to Guitar Hero II -- it's one of the best games of 2006.
  12. The flesh is weak. Prolonged play can cause serious finger fatigue.
  13. I'm absolutely in love with Guitar Hero II. For me, it's the quintessential music and rhythm game on any system, in any territory. The song list is so diverse, and the control is so perfect. It's also one of the ultimate party games.
  14. Guitar Hero II is what being a sequel is all about. Taking the core gameplay from a solid game and making improvements and sharpening until it can cut through steel like a hot knife through butter.
  15. The game has been so well-made that it’s hard to even think of what can be added or improved to Guitar Hero III outside of a new soundtrack.
  16. The game is just as fun as the original if not more so, and rocking the guitar is really addictive. The addition of Widescreen/Progressive scan for those with HDTV also makes the game look better than ever.
  17. The gameplay is fun enough that even after playing a song 20 times, you want to play it 20 more times. No other game makes you feel like you are accurately rocking like Guitar Hero 2.
  18. It creates a new sense of fun that allows non-gamers and gamers alike to come together in harmony and rock delight.
  19. A rock-solid music game (no pun intended) that includes a good number of improvements from its already-fantastic predecessor.
  20. The developers clearly worked hard to tweak what was already great, and made it superb. With more songs, more features, and more pure rock, Guitar Hero 2 is a must own for anyone with a PS2.
  21. 95
    Guitar Hero II takes everything that made the original game great and cranks it up to 11, maybe even 12...This is the nearly-perfect sequel to one of our favorite games in basically forever, and it's an absolute must-buy.
  22. As the curtain falls, GH2 will be remembered, like the original, as one of the most fun times you can have with your PS2. [Holiday 2006, p.68]
  23. An anecdote: I was in the grocery store this past weekend when I heard a song playing over the P.A. I don’t remember the name of it, just that it was an old 80s rock tune. As I stood there in the dairy section, all I could think of at that moment was how cool it would be to play that song in Guitar Hero II. That’s the kind of infectious effect this game has, you’ll never listen to another rock song the same way again.
  24. 95
    "Guitar Hero" was one of the best rhythm games I had ever seen, but Guitar Hero II improves upon it in nearly every way.
  25. This is by far the best rhythm game on PS2, with none of those lame techno songs. All that's needed is for Red Octane to announce the release date of Guitar Hero III. Freebird!
  26. The practice mode is surprisingly more than a throw-away experience and the track list is not surprisingly full of some of rock n’ roll’s best songs.
  27. If for some reason you didn’t like the original Guitar Hero, then there’s probably nothing new here that will change your mind about the game. For everyone else, new songs, new animations, and the new practice and co-op modes make Guitar Hero II a no-brainer.
  28. 94
    You couldn't ask for more. 40 of the highest caliber tracks, refined gameplay, expanded multiplayer and even a practice mode all make for the finest action game of all time. [Issue #147, p.87]
  29. Exceeds the previous title in every way..."Guitar Hero" was a staple of the parties I throw at my house, but it looks like Guitar Hero II has stolen the crown!
  30. Although some of the novelty wore off since the first game, this is still a great music game and an even better multiplayer game.
  31. In the end, Guitar Hero II is basically the same game as Guitar Hero, but with a much higher difficulty and a completely revamped multiplayer mode.
  32. Better or equal, Guitar Hero 2 is a must have for any music lover, PS2 owner or person looking for a most excellent party game.
  33. 92
    The higher difficulty levels will have you crying for mercy unless you have a considerable amount of time for practicing, but all the real legends had to practice plenty too.
  34. Addresses every criticism and packs in a load of new stuff. A masterclass in sequel-making. [Christmas 2006, p.74]
  35. While not as earth-shattering as the original, no fan of rhythm games should be without Guitar Hero 2.
  36. With a better song list, high quality audio for the most part, expanded and improved modes, and all the fun of the original, Guitar Hero 2 is one of this busy holiday season’s best games.
  37. Every niggle from the original ironed out and loads of new stuff thrown in. Ace. [Christmas 2006, p.66]
  38. GHII starts off harmlessly enough, but by the time you try to keep up with the later levels' intricate three-button chords, anyone without freakishly agile fingers and lots of perseverance will want to smash their guitar (and not as an homage to Jimi Hendrix).
  39. The replay value is immense, the multiplayer superb and the game has that “just one more game” quality because you know you want to master Expert mode. It just would have been nice to be able to see some sort of online rankings to see how you rate with the rest of the gamers.
  40. Casual players will notice very little difference and probably resent the soundtrack, favouring the more varied original. Experts will savour the focus of the new tracks and find the tweaked mechanics to be an absolute godsend, placing this high above the original.
  41. The first Hero brought a guitar peripheral to the masses, and for that it was praised. This time, we hope it's the enhancements that sell the product - it truly deserves it. [Christmas 2006, p.112]
  42. Without hesitation, this game is the greatest rock simulation on planet Earth and a must have for any PlayStation 2 owner and every fan of rock music.
  43. Fulfill your fantasy of becoming a rock God with this blockbuster sequel. Get ready for more tracks, more bands and the awesome co-op multiplayer mode.
  44. Multiplayer is so much fun that it's probably worth buying the Guitar Hero II bundle even if you already own a controller from the original game.
  45. By yourself there are a few games that provide as much of a thrill, and when playing with friends Guitar Hero II reaches even greater heights, making it a must own game.
  46. This game stands as an example of the absolute definition of a great sequel. It is so much improved that I cannot even fathom going back to play the original now.
  47. It’s so good, in fact, that there are few gamers I wouldn’t suggest this to, if only for how great of a tool it is to evangelize gaming to friends and family. The high cost of admission is most certainly worth it – this is a show you don’t want to miss.
  48. Thankfully, the learning curve in Hero 2 is gentle, and even beginners can shred through a chart-topper with just a little practice. Building on a steady set foundation, fret-gnashing gamers can pull of solid, satisfying songs in little-to-no time.
  49. Don't expect it to have quite the same level of longevity as the first game.
  50. 90
    But while a ton of awesome bands are represented (Nirvana, Guns N' Roses, Anthrax, All That Remains, Kansas, and so on) Guitar Hero II is still missing a few megaton metal bands -- mainly Metallica, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC. But no one will ever be happy, so instead of crying, crank the volume and bang your head until your brain busts.
  51. You can play any given song at any of four speeds (Normal, Slow, Slower and Slowest), and you have the ability to select what portion(s) of the song you'd like to play. That has proven ridiculously useful as I continue in my Quixotic quest to complete "Free Bird" on Expert.
  52. It adds a few new features and has the great gameplay from the first. Fans of the first will love the second one and new to the series will enjoy the features that help them get into the game.
  53. 90
    Bigger and better in practically every way.
  54. Harder and larger successor of the best game of the Year. [Dec 2006]
  55. 90
    While I personally don't LOVE the overabundance of hard rock and metal songs, every track on the game is more than fun to play along with, and the classic rock tunes are savage, as usual...One of the best gaming experiences ever.
  56. Yes the practice mode is awesome, the multiplayer options are greatly improved and the gameplay itself has been fine-tuned. But for most people, it will come down to the songs. I am sure this set of songs will be just what the doctor ordered for the true Rock fans.
  57. Aside from the bitchin' new modes, Guitar Hero II is essentially the same game with new songs. [Dec. 2006, p.134]
  58. The game is a whole lot harder than its predecessor, with a greater emphasis on speedier songs and thicker, more ludicrous solos. This does ultimately make Guitar Hero II less immediately accessible to newcomers, but odds are that even a steeper level of challenge won't stop novices or veterans from getting their rock on.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. Jan 10, 2015
    An awesome sequel to the first Guitar Hero game. The setlist is really good and filled with songs which most of them covers which some are notAn awesome sequel to the first Guitar Hero game. The setlist is really good and filled with songs which most of them covers which some are not really good like the Laid to Rest and the Killing in the Name covers, in my opinion they should've just gotten the masters and censored them instead of covering it. The graphics are good but really didn't change from the first game and the difficulty is just right for Hard and Expert so if you want a challenge try those two difficulties, for a 8 year old game it does feel outdated but still a lot of fun to play. Full Review »
  2. Nov 22, 2014
    I love everything about this game, except the hammer-on and pull-off system.

    I am pretty sure that i suddenly miss a note for no reason. I
    I love everything about this game, except the hammer-on and pull-off system.

    I am pretty sure that i suddenly miss a note for no reason. I hit the notes at the right timing, but still losing my multiplier and destroys my accuracy stats! It's almost impossible to hit every note on this game when you are strumming very fast, because the game wont register everytime you strum.

    Overall, this is one of my favourite Guitar Hero games ever made. It makes so many good memories.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 30, 2012
    This game is amazingly addictive. My ps3 fried and i got a ps2 and played this game. This game is almost ps3 worthy...i hope they remake it inThis game is amazingly addictive. My ps3 fried and i got a ps2 and played this game. This game is almost ps3 worthy...i hope they remake it in ps4. the notes are a little off and the song selection (being almost all of them are covers) is a little off...then again my music liking may be a little different then Red Octane. The graphics are 8/10 for a ps2...the cartoon artwork was a very good move they didn't really keep in GH 3 :( Full Review »