Video Games

Besides being a musician, I'm also an avid gamer. Here's some info on the latest games I'm currently playing.

Rocksmith and Rocksmith 2014 Reviews In Progress

Written: March 3rd, 2014.

Are You Ready To Rock?

What's Rocksmith?

Rocksmith is a game that uses a custom 1/4 jack to USB cable that uses a real guitar or bass to play the game in either guitar, guitar as bass, or bass guitar mode. The original Rocksmith has a career mode that lets you unlock gear and venues as you practice a set and then go perform that set. Depending on how well you play the performance you also unlock encore tracks to play, that you haven't practiced yet. The amount of notes depends on how well you play a song and gradually increase in difficulty the more you play them. There are some tutorials for learning certain techniques and also mini-games to help master those techniques. Overall it is pretty fun and a decent learning tool.

What's Rocksmith 2014?

Rocksmith 2014 is a bit of an overhaul of the original Rocksmith. The career mode has been replaced with learn a song mode, a new session play mode is available with dynamic accompaniment, guitar mode has been split into lead or rhythm guitar plus the previous guitar as bass and bass guitar modes. Riff repeater also is new and helps to master sections of songs. Technique tutorials and mini-games still exist. It seems more of a learning tool than the career focused original.

How Is The Song Selection?

Rocksmith seems to have a better variety of genres than Rocksmith 2014. But they kind of overdid it with DLC song packs for the original game that the song selection of Rocksmith 2014 wasn't as good as it could have been. Games like this really need a $50 season pass since you could easily spend over 4 times the price of the full game just on song DLC. I really hope to see a better variety of genres in the next game to help teach more styles and techniques since both games teach a lot of the same ones.

Does It Work?

So far with only 3 hours played on Rocksmith and 16 hours played on Rocksmith 2014, I can see some muscle memory taking shape and I also can hear some improvements in playing techniques. First play throughs are a bit slow since the notes are few and far between. Secondary plays of a song are more difficult, and if the game thinks you aren't keeping up it is quick to dummy sections back down until you master them. Switching to bass parts after playing guitar tracks seems to skip the learning curve for better or worse. You might need to create secondary profiles to keep each instrument path separate.

What doesn't seem to work are the technique mini-games. They seem to be pretty buggy at reading notes even when your guitar or bass is in tune, so I'm not sure if the developers are using some out of tune or differently tuned instrument for tracking the notes for those games. That is a pretty small complaint though for a great game that teaches as you play.

Initial Verdict

I was able to pick both up during the Steam Holiday Sale for $15 for Rocksmith and $45 for Rocksmith 2014. The cable is sold on Amazon for about $30. So for a total of $90 you can learn a ton of songs and techniques for well under the cost of private guitar lessons. If you want to play a game that teaches how to play a real instrument while you play, these are great games/learning tools to get.

Copyright © 2014 Kraftmatic