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    E4's GameLog for Guitar Hero II (PS2)

    Friday 7 March, 2008

    Gamelog 2:

    Having put some decent hours into Guitar Hero II, I found that while the challenges provided by the varying song difficulties provided ample skill challenge, the song selection was rather meager and the limited breadth of music genre left me aurally bored after a while. A larger library of songs with a wider breadth of genres of music using the guitar might have made the game provide more hours of enjoyment in this regard. Since only the most dedicated players are willing to play to purely for the skill mastery, it is unlikely that most players will progress to the 4th difficulty level, if not the 3rd (in terms of player skill), before setting the game aside leaving a good portion of the potential game play inaccessible to the player due to the time required to gain the skill to play at higher difficulty levels.
    There are 30 songs in the initial library, and 15 some unlockable songs. Averaging most songs at around 4-5 minutes, playing through every song would take roughly 3-4 hours. Granted that most players would probably require at least a few extra song attempts to get the hang of the game and hone their skills to a decent level (unless they’d already had previous experience from the first Guitar Hero game), and probably a considerable number of hours could be put into multi-player competition; however, regardless, this yields comparatively few hours of game play to reach a content exhaustion within the limit of player average player interest compared to other games that I’ve played.

    There have been quite a few different beat and rhythm games that have been made, with sequels and spin-offs of all sorts. The unique pseudo-guitar controller used for Guitar Hero games utilizes the dexterity of the player’s fingers on both hands to press the chord buttons and strum the toggle switch. The controller’s design requires the player to use coordination and motor skills similar to those used for actually playing a guitar. This brings the game play experience closer to the experience being pseudo-simulated by the game, much like how Dance Dance Revolution (and similar dance) games use a dance pad to detect dance steps.
    Following the nature of music, the core game mechanic utilizes pre-defined note-charts—effectively equivalent to specifically designed levels using notes and extended chords instead of platforms, obstacles, and landscapes. The use of pre-designed note charts thus rules out the possibility of any form of emergent gameplay, forcing the player through the designed “level” at a pre-determined rate, much like shmups, but with a much more limited range of input possibilities, since there are 5 notes with a 2 binary values based on the input: chord button depression and strum. However, the dual input usage—chord button and strum switch—gives Guitar Hero much more depth than most beat and rhythm games, which have only 1 binary value for each input type (step, note, etc.). The dual input usage allows the game to make use of different input combinations, such as holding down chord buttons and strumming while holding the chord. Thus the game play of Guitar Hero is several levels of complexity above the simple pattern recognition and motor-function mapping of single-tier structure beat and rhythm games such as DDR. This control complexity is effectively implemented through well-designed note-charts for each song and difficulty, using more difficult, complex input patterns in the note-charts for higher difficulty levels, giving Guitar Hero II a good difficulty curve.


    This is a wonderful gamelog! Good job.

    -Gillian (TA)

    Monday 10 March, 2008 by GillianSmith
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