I was asked in one of the gamer forums to write about Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360 (and PS2, I suppose, since the games are extremely similar), and in particular if it’s appropriate for kids.
At it’s core, Guitar Hero is a rythm or coordination game, much like some of the games in Fusion Frenzy. The easier settings require coordination of fewer of the buttons. Here are some videos of the gameplay: the easy setting and the hard setting. Each of the different color circles moving toward the player is a differnt note that they’re to play on the guitar’s fretboard (normally with the left hand). Note that Easy didn’t ask the player to use the orange button further to the right of the screen.
A guitar is a two-handed instrument though, and Fusion Frenzy was one-handed. Guitar Hero requires pressing the correct buttons (frets) with one hand and another button (strumming) with the other hand at the correct time. So in that respect it’s a bit harder than other timing games are; I’d say that most kids over the age of eight or nine could pick it up fairly quickly.
The final “is this appropriate for my kids” question is one each parent can only answer for themselves, and that’s the “hard rock” aspect to it. If your children are allowed to watch milder rock videos (you remember music videos, don’t you – those things that MTV used to play a majority of the time?) then you’ll probably be alright with them playing this game. There’s nothing too offensive from my point of view, but I’m sure there are some parents who wouldn’t want the generic “hard rock” cartoon imagery in the house.
You can take a look at some videos of it online to help you get a better idea, or just stop by your local BestBuy and watch as some 12 year-old plays all day.
I’ve played through the career mode once, finishing the tour on “medium” difficulty last night, and though I’d personally like it just a little more if the song list included more of my favorite Classic Rock songs, I really enjoy it. As of course so do my two teen sons, and it’s a great time rockin’ out with them.