The PlayStation 2 version of Guitar Hero II features 64 playable songs. Most of the songs featured are cover versions, with the exception of "Stop", "John the Fisherman", and the unlockable bonus songs like "Trogdor". Cover songs are credited on screen with the phrase "as made famous by" (e.g. "Surrender, as made famous by Cheap Trick"), while the original songs are credited with "as performed by" (e.g. "John the Fisherman, as performed by Primus").
Not all songs in the main set list are available from the start. When working through Career mode at a specific difficulty level, each set is unlocked once the requirements for the previous set (3, 4, or 5 songs depending on difficulty) is completed. Additionally, the encore song is only made available for that set once the set requirements are completed; the player is given the option of playing the encore for an additional cash bonus. Once a song is unlocked within Career mode, or by purchasing it in the Store, it becomes available for both Practice, and Quick Play modes. Bonus songs purchased at the store are available for all bands you create and require only a single purchase to be available in all modes. While playing in Easy during Career mode, netheir encore songs, access to the store, nor the 8th set is available.
- Guitar Hero II has a strum limit of around 20 notes per second (NPS). This means any strums beyond the limit will be nulled out and kept at the limit. The NTSC versions have a lower strum limit of around 16 NPS, making the solo of Trogdor impossible to FC.
- In custom songs, when you play the song, the singer, bassist, and the drummer do absolutely nothing.
- The quote "They don't want you to play Free Bird they're just heckling you" from the first Guitar Hero is a reference to the song that is featured in this game.
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