I think I've hit one of the must-have games for any PS2 owner that enjoys rock music. You get a physical "guitar" controller with this game, and it's amazingly fun!
You hold the controller just like a real guitar, and it's switchable for left handed players. The neck of the guitar has 5 buttons on it that you play with your left hand. In the center of the guitar is a "strum" button that you hit to play the notes. There's even a metal bar to wiggle, to cause the notes to "bend" to give an extra crowd boost.
If you're not a big hard rock / metal fan, there's only a few songs to choose from. You get Ziggy Stardust, Crossroads, Killer Queen, Sharp Dressed Man, More than a Feeling and a few more. Those who like harder rock will be quite thrilled, though. There's Iron Man, I Wanna Be Sedated, Symphony of Destruction, You've Got Another Thing Comin' and much more.
There are four difficulty levels. You start with easy of course, where it's great fun to play along with your favorite songs and just have fun. When you crank up to the higher levels - moving through various venues and unlocking different characters and guitars - the keys get VERY difficult. Still, it's a blast hammering away at the notes, waving your guitar around in the air and having fun.
The sound is quite good, and you get a real boost from hearing the crowd cheer and yell for you. The visuals are reasonable - but really, this isn't a game about visuals. You just watch for the buttons to press, and press them. It's really about the music.
Now, I do have to mention some complaints. The first is the song list. I wish they'd offered more of a wide selection of song types. I suppose that new games will come out soon with more song options, which I'll look forward to.
Next is the key layout. I really love the strum bar. But the buttons up on the neck of the guitar are AWFUL. They have 5 wide buttons all in a straight line. The buttons have to be pressed straight in to work well. Human fingers simply don't work that way. They should have put the buttons at an angle - both angled a bit diagonally the way a hand holds a guitar neck, and also angled up-down so that your fingers press into them at an angle. As it is now, the buttons tend to stick and jam. When you fail at a really complex song because the keys have stuck, it's very frustrating.
That being said, you can usually get through an hour or two before your fingers really start to kill you. If you play with a group of friends, passing the guitar around between songs, that means an afternoon can go by before all of you end up with finger pain. I suppose it's a built in way to ensure that you don't play video games all day long :)
Buy Guitar Hero from Amazon.com