Universal acclaim - based on 69 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 69
  2. Negative: 0 out of 69
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. For me, Guitar Hero's real genius was its universal appeal, its ability to cater for any taste and any ability with its varied track list, infectious enthusiasm and unique immediacy, and that inclusiveness is - arguably, I must stress - not quite so present here as it was before.
  8. 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.
  9. It creates a new sense of fun that allows non-gamers and gamers alike to come together in harmony and rock delight.
  10. 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.
  11. The point is, the game has no context, and it could use one.
  12. 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.
  13. Every niggle from the original ironed out and loads of new stuff thrown in. Ace. [Christmas 2006, p.66]
  14. 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.
  15. Better in every way than the previous game...Unless you hate rock, you need this game.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. The overall impression Guitar Hero II leaves, particularly in light of its multiformat future and MTV's investment in Harmonix, is that it’s ceased to be a stand-alone game, and is now a platform in its own right. [Christmas 2006, p.86]
  20. 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]
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Aside from the bitchin' new modes, Guitar Hero II is essentially the same game with new songs. [Dec. 2006, p.134]
  25. 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.
  26. 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!
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Harder and larger successor of the best game of the Year. [Dec 2006]
  30. 90
    Bigger and better in practically every way.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 100 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 »