Universal acclaim - based on 65 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 65
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 65
  3. Negative: 0 out of 65
  1. I'm beyond impressed with this game. It retains a lot of guitar technique and doesn't cater to the attention-span challenged, dance-game crowd.
  2. The single best addiction you can play on the PS2 this year... perhaps ever. [Actual score = 11 (or 110), a la "Sinal Tap", but our scale only goes up to 100, so if you need that extra little push over the cliff, just get the game.]
  3. 100
    Truth be told, 1UP recently held a group "review" session that lasted late into the night. After a few beers, some leaps off the couch, about 8 renditions of Boston, countless moments of faux-rockstar posturing, and actually stomping so hard that we broke the disc during the thundering finale of "Take Me Out," everyone seemed to agree on a score for Guitar Hero... But our scale only goes up to 10.
  4. 100
    Seriously, many games are good, but this game is near perfect in almost every way. I've gotten blisters and had my thumb start bleeding WHILE I PLAYED. That's a testament to how good this game really is. If you don't buy it, you will regret it for the rest of your LIFE. I mean that.
  5. 100
    If you don't have a big, stupid, sh.t-eating grin on your face when you do this, then we can't be friends anymore.
  6. One of the most entertaining games ever. The guitar-like controller and the music selection are excellent, and the four difficulty levels offer fresh challenges each time you go up a notch. Mosh time! [May 2006]
  7. 100
    This game makes you feel like a rock star. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Its difficulty ramps up perfectly, the song selection couldn't be better, and the gameplay is fun and addictive.
  8. Guitar Hero is accessible to anyone that has a classic rock station programmed into his or her car stereo. [Mar 2006, p.93]
  9. It’s a simple idea, but the best ones always are.
  10. A two-player mode is included, and few games are more fun with a crowd. It's pricey, but a euphoric experience.
  11. An epic rock masterpiece that may be the most purely fun game out there.
  12. One solid game, and definitely one of, if not, the best music game this year. Mixing heavy metal riffs with the coolest American made controller yet, Guitar Hero is much deservedly rising to a cult status already.
  13. Let's be perfectly frank here; games this good come out very rarely, and when they do it feels like a gift. Guitar Hero is the gift of a great game and the gift of music. It is the gift of rocking your walls clean off your house.
  14. Its principal accomplishment is the fact that it allows complete guitar idiots to play legendary rock classics without a lick of practice and come away looking like a real pro. At the same time, it packs enough depth—with higher difficulties that require an insane amount of speed and precision—that very skillful players will be able to impress in their own right.
  15. And it goes like this... if you have a PS2 and even a passing interest in music, you need Guitar Hero- it’s that simple.
  16. Replicating the playing of an actual guitar was no easy task, but Harmonix pulled it off with flying colors.
  17. There is no other way to describe Guitar Hero other than it’s a fantastic game that’s a blast to play.
  18. I can sum it all up in one sentence: If you’re a gamer and a fan of rock music, then you owe it to yourself to play this game.
  19. The tracks themselves are not performed by the genuine artists but they are so good as to be near as damnit.
  20. 92
    Guitar Hero is pure bliss, on a stick even. It's got a fantastic soundtrack that's blended incredibly well into the game, a great peripheral in the SG guitar controller and well, that's really what it's all about. The game is just fun. Pure, unadulterated fun.
  21. If you love rock ‘n roll, then Guitar Hero will light up your face with the goofiest grin you are likely to have had in some time. This is a challenging game, no doubt, but it is – simply stated – a blast!
  22. This game is cranked to a volume of 11.
  23. Guitar Hero is everything a game should be -it’s innovative, it’s tons of fun, has tons of replay value, and it’s accessible to both new and experienced gamers.
  24. 92
    Everything we hoped it would be, giving bedroom air guitarists a chance to live out their rock 'n' roll fantasies. [Apr 2006, p.100]
  25. Everyone should try this game at least once. If you’re not smiling by the end of playing your first tune there’s something wrong with you.
  26. I've already spent more time with Guitar Hero than just about anything this season, and it's as entertaining as it was the first day. Harmonix has created a game that’s addictive, tougher than John Wayne's sinew and, to be frank, simply rocks.
  27. The amazing thing is how great the covers are. Except for a couple of noticeably different sounds from the Incubus and Queen songs, they all sound just like the real tracks. With songs ranging from David Bowie to White Zombie, it’s really a credit to the performers to be able to not only recreate the music, but the voices as well.
  28. If you were thinking about getting into playing a guitar, this would be an awesome game to start off with. Kids and adults will enjoy this game together, so it is extremely family orientated.
  29. 90
    The game plays brilliantly, the controller is sturdy and durable, the songs are facemeltingly great.
  30. It's a king among peripheral games, using most people's underlying fascination with the hidden art of axe-wielding as a foil for delivering one of the best beatmatching games I've seen.
  31. Rival consoles aside, Guitar Hero made me realise that it's gameplay over graphics - it made me feel like I was actually playing a game and not some crappy 'kill everything that moves' shooter.
  32. An absolute classic. Simple to play but hugely rewarding, challenging and entertaining like nothing else on PS2. You need this game. [Apr 2006, p.110]
  33. This is exactly what video games are all about: putting us into the shoes of people with abilities we only wished we had. Guitar Hero offers the chance to become exactly that, kidding you into believing that you could jam with Hendrix if only you put your mind to it. And if he wasn't dead.
  34. If there was ever a game that needed you to experience it first hand, this is it. Screenshots or word of mouth can never fully convey what Red Octane has done here.
  35. The illusion that you are playing in a band is slightly marred by the very un-rock 'n' roll clicking sound of the strumming mechanism, but as your fingers hammer out complex rhythms you feel as close to being Eric Clapton as you are ever likely to.
  36. With its extremely smart approach to difficulty, its great guitar controller, and its killer song selection, Guitar Hero might just be the best rhythm game ever made.
  37. We can't imagine a better party game. If you can afford this, buy it, and rock on! [Holiday 2005, p.86]
  38. I desperately hope that this game garners enough attention to afford some sequels, if for no other reason that I'd like to see the team experiment with other genres. [Dec 2005, p.171]
  39. Mastering multiple note, holding notes, and nailing that crazy spaghetti takes (much) practice, but the quality axe is good to go. [Dec 2005, p.66]
  40. Damn, this is an incredibly addictive game, if for no other reason that an extremely accessible and well made peripheral and a memorable song list that just about everyone into rock and roll likes.
  41. It should also be said that the recording that went into the tracks is fantastic. Harmonix did an amazing job of pumping the sound from just a stereo signal in a way that absolutely fills the room with rock.
  42. 90
    The folks at Harmonix have taken an idea, refined it, churned it, ground it, and forged it into a force of pure rock that few men could stand against. Maybe Dio, and quite possibly Yngwie or Clapton. But few men indeed.
  43. I am frankly astonished by how much playing this game feels like playing the guitar for real.
  44. With simple yet addictive gameplay, a unique input device, above-average visuals for the genre, and a carefully crafted aural component, Guitar Hero’s hefty MSRP is the only obstacle in recommending this game straight out.
  45. 90
    One of the purest forms of fun in gaming today. Unless your music tastes lay elsewhere this is something that should be in every PS2 owner’s collection.
  46. For those who crave the notoriety of the modern day rocker, but lack the true skills required, this is the closest you’re ever going to come. A game that comes highly recommended. Rock-on.
  47. 90
    An immaculate piece of software (and hardware) that should at least be experienced by everyone, especially people who love playing guitar.
  48. Harmonix say they want to give you - ordinary, untalented punter - the experience of playing music, and they've succeeded majestically. Terrific. [May 2006, p.50]
  49. In a year of gaming filled with sequels and formulaic games, Guitar Hero raises the bar on innovation.
  50. 90
    Besides the enormous song library, you get an incredibly fun controller that helps make you feel like you're really rocking the Casbah to a sold-out audience.
  51. Smart in its game design, a brilliant melding of software and hardware, this is a game which achieves what all games shoot for, but so few manage, to transport you somewhere better, if only for a few moments.
  52. Guitar Hero effortlessly tops the charts in terms of music/rhythm games -- and not just because the controller, gameplay, and song list are all flawless. It shoots to number one with a bullet because you actually feel and look cool playing it.
  53. When it really comes down to it, what this game's about is no-frills rocking. And no-frills rocking is what it does very well. [Nov 2005, p.98]
  54. 90
    Wailing on the guitar, I might add, is immensely satisfying.
  55. With a boisterous song selection that's truly worthwhile, a two-player mode with limitless appeal to jam out, and addictive gameplay, it's quite simply the best rhythm/music game since the original "Dance Dance Revolution."
  56. It’s hard to explain in words why the peripheral works so well and why you actually feel like you’re the next Dire Straits.
  57. Although it's unlikely to usurp SingStar's title of ultimate party game, and is very unlikely to actually help you on your way to learning how to play a real guitar, Guitar Hero is a gaming experience that will take you to a place you’ll have never been to before.
  58. Probably the best rhythm game of this generation and one of the best in the genre since PaRappa the Rapper came out. It doesn’t have the originality in its music that other games have had, but its control style and overall effect is far beyond what most people were expecting.
  59. The game is what it is, and nothing I could say in this review will effectively capture the sensation of holding the guitar controller straight up in the air and slamming through an insane series of notes on reflex, not really understanding how I did it - and not really caring.
  60. Once you lose your rock star inhibitions it's great fun. But it gets very hard very quickly. [May 2006, p.72]
  61. Harmonix has another excellent game on their hands with Guitar Hero, but the reliance on an uncomfortable controller not only raises the game's price but it also is just sometimes too much effort to even want to play.
  62. You’ll discover whether you’re a screamer or a yeller, a wide-striding groover or a bolt-upright pogo-er. This is a game that you can play sitting down, but you won’t. Not once. [Christmas 2005, p.104]
  63. Funny, instantly accessible, tightly programmed, and undeniably enjoyable, Guitar Hero earns several encores. Grab your lighter and get ready to rock.
  64. Manages to entertain initially but begins to dwindle after a few weeks have passed and the tracks perfected. It's an experience that should be seen and needs to be played by all, but one that is hard to recommend as absolutely essential given the novelty nature of the game as a whole.
  65. I can see me playing this game again and again, because it's not just about nailing each song once, but really thrashing through the chords.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 81
  2. Negative: 5 out of 81
  1. CaioK.
    Sep 28, 2007
    Very creative and very fun to play! No matter if you are a real guitar player or someone who never touched an musical instrument before, you going to love this game! The song selection is awesome! The kind of game that brings anyone Full Review »
  2. Sep 5, 2012
    This game is pretty good. I am reviewing this at a time where guitar hero has been bankrupted. The venues in this game are maybe the best ever. The music has great picks but then you have all covers where on Killer Queen its off key, Take Me Out the guy sounds creepy at times and Steller has a weird starting. This game is worth a buy. Full Review »
  3. MIkeM.
    Mar 17, 2008
    I bought GH1 as soon as it came out. As most everyone with some functional brain cells knows, it was just flat out amazing and it most certainly would've garnered a 10 from me. But within 3 short months, the cheaply constructed controller stopped working (eventually found out it was a well-publicized cord issue), and it took Red Octane several months to replace it (with a RECONDITIONED one at that). I've bought a TAC wireless controller as well, and it's also absolute rubbish. I have every single GH game to date, and really enjoy them when I can get the sodding controllers to function. I'd gladly give twice the price for an actual quality made product with which to play these (mostly) awesome games.
    Anyway, GH1 still has THE BEST set list, even some of the unlockables were just fantastic. Very glad the set list was much improved for GH3, after the near-fiasco of GH2, which had about 6 good songs, counting unlockables.
    Full Review »