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Rocksmith photo

Rocksmith will turn you into a guitar legend like Hendrix or the guy from Papa Roach

*results not guaranteed
Feb 25
// Brett Makedonski
Rocksmith 2014's getting some DLC songs by Papa Roach today. One time in eighth grade, a kid in my class started a speech by saying "Cut my life into pieces, this is my bat report. Echolocation, no seeing. Vampire bat bite your arm, now you're bleeding." I wonder what he's up to. Probably not playing Papa Roach songs on Rocksmith, if I'm being really honest.
Rocksmith 2014 photo
Rocksmith 2014

Rocksmith 2014 plays its encore on Xbox One and PS4

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Sep 23
// Brett Makedonski
Although it was outed by ESRB ratings almost a month ago, Ubisoft just got around to formally announcing that Rocksmith 2014 will be headed to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on November 4 of this year. For the most part, thi...
Rocksmith 2014 photo
Rocksmith 2014

Rocksmith 2014 rated for PS4 and Xbox One

...but can it teach me how to play "3s & 7s" competently?
Aug 26
// Brittany Vincent
Rocksmith 2014 has been rated for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One by the ESRB and Korean Game Rating Board, and I'm still sitting here waiting for a new iteration of Guitar Hero. Although Ubisoft hasn't announced any new versi...
R.E.M. photo

Five R.E.M. songs added to Rocksmith 2014 as DLC

Everybody huuuuurrrrts
Feb 05
// Harry Monogenis
Ubisoft has been releasing a consistent stream of Rocksmith 2014 Edition DLC packs over the past few months, and they show no signs of stopping any time soon as they've just released their latest pack containing fi...

Rocksmith 2014 photo
Rocksmith 2014

Muse DLC comes to Rocksmith 2014

Oh baby I'm a fool for yoooouuuu
Dec 22
// Harry Monogenis
In keeping with tradition, Ubisoft has released another five-song pack for Rocksmith 2014. This time around the pack features tracks from Muse, and are: "Supermassive Black Hole" "Stockholm Syndrome" "Time Is Running Out" "...
Deals photo

Assassin's Creed IV is half off today on Amazon

And a nice discount on Rocksmith 2014
Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag are featured in Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the Day and, while supplies last, are marked down to $29.99 -- that's 50 percent off. Mmm. Mighty tempt...
Rocksmith photo

New Rocksmith 2014 DLC adds Radiohead tracks

Less than a month after the Iron Maiden DLC
Nov 26
// Harry Monogenis
Ubisoft's released the latest batch of Rocksmith 2014 DLC today and, much like the previous bundle, adds five new tracks to the game's playlist. This time around the track pack consists of songs from Radiohead. They are...
Rocksmith 2014 DLC photo
Rocksmith 2014 DLC

Iron Maiden gallops onto Rocksmith 2014 as DLC

It sounds like horses, but there aren't any horses
Nov 05
// Brett Makedonski
So, how's the guitar learnin' going? You making some real progress? Rocksmith 2014 said it'd teach you to play guitar, so I can only assume that any lack of success in this department falls squarely on your shoulders. Oh...
Rocksmith photo

Ubisoft reveals even more songs for Rocksmith 2014

Deftones, Queen, Green Day, and Rush are all new additions
Oct 02
// Alasdair Duncan
Maybe it's the early onset of my eventual mid-life crisis but I've been wanting to learn to play the guitar recently. My knack for procrastination has made me put it off for years now but Rocksmith has intrigued me. Given my ...

Rocksmith All-New 2014 Edition oh f*ck off

Kinect and stuff
Jun 10
// Jim Sterling
Jerry Cantrell kicked off Ubisoft's E3 press conference to play a guitar and promote Rocksmith All-New 2014 Edition The Fastest Way To Play Guitar And Also There Is Some Kinect Stuff In It.  Apparently it'll be good? Oh, I don't know. 

Blink 182 DLC hits Rocksmith

Feb 22
// Fraser Brown
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.

Rocksmith 'Rock Hits 60's-70's' available to download now

Jan 17
// Harry Monogenis
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...

Free Holiday Song Pack out now for Rocksmith

Dec 21
// Jordan Devore
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...

Rocksmith teaches you how to play guitar for real

Oct 03 // Lori Navarro
Rocksmith (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: October 18, 2011 It is impossible not to compare Rocksmith with games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, especially out of the public ennui from being overexposed to these titles. But Rocksmith is not merely Rock Band with literal strings attached. What makes it different from the others, as Ubisoft North America President Laurent Detoc explains it, is in its aim to pursue “real life benefits” in games. That is, players will be able to take lifelong skills with them even after they play. Based on what I experienced at the Rocksmith Event, the game has enough features to let players train progressively and selectively -- in reading tabs, recognizing chords, making techniques such as hammer-ons, bends and so on. Unlike its predecessors, Rocksmith is obviously not a party game anyone can pick up on the spot -- or a rock star simulation where you play as an Axl Rose-lookalike or decorate your virtual guitar with skull studs and cool shit like that. In fact, as a warning to new guitar players, you will suck. You will feel yourself suck, see yourself suck and listen to yourself suck. You will experience the soreness in your fingertips after a full day’s contact with steel strings. But once you get the hang of the system, you will also progressively get better and produce more refined tunes -- and that’s the primary selling point of the game. Another difference is you personally can’t set the game difficulty at easy, difficult or hard. The game is intuitive enough to determine player’s level or “wavelength” -- if you are a guitar beginner or masterful enough to have an international tour like Lady Gaga. A Lady Gaga who plays guitar like Joe Satriani anyway. If you keep on hitting notes, the game will dynamically adjust the song in real-time, adding or reducing notes as necessary. On the other hand, there are no consequences missing a note or two or even rewards for getting combos. It stays true to its goal of letting players learn at their own pace. There is no use for a scoreboard because essentially, you are competing with yourself and your mastery of a song.   Just last week, Ubisoft revealed a new peripheral, the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable, which enables two players to jam together. The principles behind single-player still follow: each player still has his own profile tracking that lets them play at a pace they’re comfortable with. What’s more, you can even choose to play a certain part of the song such as rhythm or lead, resulting to complementing sounds that mesh quite nicely together. Real music! Even with my measly background in guitar, I had a hard time imagining how the game’s interface will allow players to read the tabs while timing the notes properly -- especially through the narrower split-screen of co-op mode. It follows a system that is actually simple but takes a while to catch up on. Like in the photo above, you are given two perspectives to help you visualize the guitar. One view shows you the actual tablature with the frets displayed (ninth and twelfth, in this case) and the notes color-coded by string (yellow = second string, etc.).  The next guitar view gives you the X-Y position of the notes on the fingerboard with the approaching notes highlighted. Once the notes intersect with the fingerboard, you should be able to pluck the string. It also conveniently shows the string colors if you still haven’t memorized them. Add to the fact that you also have to look down at your guitar every three seconds if you are a beginner like me, it takes a while to get used to this visual barrage of info. One thing I really appreciate about Rocksmith is it doesn’t simply assume that you know your guitar basics. When starting up the game, you will be shown video tutorials on how to tune, where to place your fingers, how to pluck, etc. The main “Journey” mode even provides a setlist based on your performance. This is the recommended mode as you can learn techniques as you encounter them in the songs. After attaining high enough Rocksmith points (RSPs) for all songs in the setlist, you can be qualified enough to play in a concert and move on with the next set. Aside from this, there are a number of ways on how you can keep on practicing songs and improving your techniques. There is the leveler mode that lets you repeat certain riffs of songs until you master them. Free speed lets you play at a convenient pace. You can also master techniques such as bending and playing chords through guided tutorials. For me, the most innovative teaching tool would have to be the Guitarcade. Perfect for more casual players, it is a series of mini-games designed to improve your reflexes and muscle memory in moving up and down frets, making tremolos and slides among other things. I personally enjoyed the “Ducks” mini-game, which let me shoot the ducks by positioning my fingers along the frets of the guitar and strumming the first string to shoot.  While Rocksmith has developed a really fun interface for learning guitar, one of the issues I had with is timing. My timing has always been a little off, and sometimes I strum a little too early for the song, but I felt the game doesn’t exactly recognize little things like that. In general, I felt that it’s up to you to personally refine the quality of your sound, which the game doesn’t really have control over. It can read if you’re playing a note, but not if you’re doing it correctly. But overall, I appreciate the psychological satisfaction that Rocksmith can give by letting you experience tangible improvement in your skills while engaging you intellectually by constantly amping up the challenge. It’s not exactly a game that teaches the intricacies of music theory, but it inspires you to keep improving and learn for yourself. For another viewpoint on Rocksmith, check out Abel Girmay's recent preview.

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 ...

Preview: Rocksmith

Sep 23 // Abel Girmay
Rocksmith (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: October 18, 2011 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. 

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 Rock...

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