Music games have had their time in the limelight, sadly opting to fade away than burn out. It's curious then that a big name publisher like Ubisoft would take the time to try their hand at this seemingly dead genre with Rocksmith.
Once you get your hands on the game though, you realize that Rocksmith is something fundamentally different than Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Rocksmith isn't here to sell you a fantasy, this game is for those with a true passion or at least interest in real guitar. Five button flunkies need not apply.
Rocksmith (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
So how does Rocksmith set itself apart from the pack? It starts with the games peripheral, or rather, lack thereof. Since this is a guitar simulator, Rocksmith works with any guitar that has a jack outlet. There is the traditional game/guitar bundle for those that don't own a guitar, but if you already have one then the only extra piece you need is the plug that jacks from the guitar to your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
Once you get into the game you notice one of Rocksmith's cooler features -- the scaling difficulty. Unlike music games of the past where you select a difficulty from easy to expert, Rocksmith tracks all of your improvement (or decline) in skill and throws more or less notes at you to compensate. Your aptitude is measured across all songs and note frequency will even change dynamically mid-song. Since I'm, ahem, musically challenged, I found myself strumming notes once about every five seconds, with the pace quickening every time I hit three of four notes in a row. When the notes started coming a little too fast and I missed multiple notes in a row, they scaled back accordingly.
For the newcomers still not assured that the scaling difficulty is going to be enough to help, there are other tools available for improvement. Rocksmith does have its training and practice modes (with a sultry-voiced announcer to walk you through), but it also packs mini-arcade games that challenge different aspects of guitar play.
The mode I played was a strumming challenge that played as an odd mesh of Space Invaders and Duck Hunt. In this challenge, you have to shoot down ducks that fly farther up their lane by strumming the corresponding notes and strings. It's all very silly and has a feel reminiscent of the Jumpstart edutainment series but after a few rounds of that, in conjunction with the training modes, I really felt like I was starting to get a hang of the mechanics revolving real guitar play. There are currently nine of these arcade games planned to ship with Rocksmith with the harder ones unlocked as you progress through the previous ones. There are also leaderboards to keep track of your high scores across all nine games.
The track list is no slouch either. Focusing on guitar-heavy tracks, Rocksmith features contemporary music from bands like The Black Keys as well as classic standbys like the Rolling Stones. The final track list comes out to about fifty and all of them can be played with a mic as well. We didn't get a chance to see how the karaoke elements pan out and if it will be as much of a simulator as the guitar elements.
|4:00 AM on 02.22.2012|
Blink 182 DLC hits Rocksmith
Blink 182 DLC is now available for download for Rocksmith. The pack includes "Dammit", "What's My Age Again?" and "All the Small Things", I presume those are the "good" ones. Each track can be purchased individually for $2.99 on PSN or 240 MS points on XBL. Good news for fans, I suppose, business as usual for the rest of you.more
|10:00 PM on 01.17.2012|
Rocksmith 'Rock Hits 60's-70's' available to download now
Ubisoft's gone ahead and announced that Rocksmith has just received its latest stash of downloadable content. As you'd expect, it's more songs to play along to. Said songs are coming to us all the way fro...more
|9:00 PM on 12.21.2011|
Free Holiday Song Pack out now for Rocksmith
Rocksmith owners can nab three holiday tracks from PlayStation Network and Xbox Live for free, right this very moment. Contain your excitement, please. "Carol of the Bells" by Seth Chapala "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" by B...more
|2:00 PM on 11.07.2011|
I have a short list of dream games I've been waiting for since my childhood. Most of them will never be made (for example, Dostoevsky vs. Donkey Kong 2020), and the ones that do get made are met by my grumpy "well, it took y...more
|3:30 PM on 10.03.2011|
Rocksmith teaches you how to play guitar for real
Music games that simulate musical performance have often been criticized, ridiculed and lampooned for being too repetitive and for lack of a better word, fake. Synonyms aside, Rocksmith -- a new game ...more
|4:00 AM on 09.03.2011|
Get your fingers on Free Bird by preordering Rocksmith
Ok, I know "Free Bird" isn't a particularly new song to the world of music games; Guitar Hero 2 came out almost 5 years ago. I also know that a lot of people are tired of music games. That said, Rocksmith actually looks...more
|7:00 AM on 08.18.2011|
Ubisoft brought Rocksmith to Warped Tour?
After returning from my blast of a time at Warped Tour, I filled you guys in on Nintendo's 3DS showing at the festival. Little did I know, Ubisoft was there too. Yes, apparently they were tucked away somewhere in the dark re...more
|6:40 PM on 06.09.2011|
E3: Ubisoft and Gibson announce $200 Rocksmith bundle
Today would have been the 96th birthday of Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar. Google is celebrating the occasion with one of its best "Google Doodles" ever, an interactive electric guitar playable in the G Major scale...more
|1:30 PM on 04.29.2013|
Monday Mind Teasers: Rhythm Doctor
For this week's mind teaser we're not just using our brains, we're using our ears. Rhythm Doctor on Newgrounds challenges players to participate in the tunes at specific moments to progress, with an interesting (bizarre) spin...more
|8:30 PM on 04.22.2013|
Idolm@ster Shiny Festa finally hits iOS ... for $54.99
In bringing port of their PSP game Idolm@ster Shiny Festa over to the West, Namco Bandai Games has shown us what a $54.99 iPhone/iPad title looks like. The hit Japanese rhythm series appeared on the Apple App Store today...more
|9:00 PM on 04.17.2013|
Have a teaser trailer for 'music exploration' game Fract
Here's a snazzy-looking trailer for the indie game Fract, described by its creators as "musical exploration" game which is currently on Steam's Greenlight service. It's got some of my favorite things in it: abstrac...more