Rocksmith Review - November 17th 2011

Rocksmith is the first music game to use an actual instrument. It's about time, but the fact is, Rocksmith just doesn't work as well as it should. The gameplay works like a regular music game. Notes from the top of the screen trickle down to the bottom, and players try to hit them. The kicker with Rocksmith, aside from the fact that it uses an actual guitar, is the dynamic difficulty which progresses as the player does. However, there is a considerable amount of lag which hampers things a bit, and the calibration tool in the game is awful.

It's simply a scale that can be moved back and forth to adjust the latency, but there is no way to test the effects of the adjustments you've just made; as opposed to any other music game, such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band, with comparable lag calibrations that actually fix the lag issue. While the gameplay is simple and easy to understand, it doesn't change the fact that the lag almost breaks the core experience.

The concept is brilliant, but the execution is lacking.

Another big issue with the game is the fact that there is locked content, some of which could potentially be helpful to anyone actually wanting to play guitar. Some of the content includes mini-games in the "guitarcade" mode. The guitarcade section of the game teaches technique, chords, and even scales. However, all of these mini-games are locked when players start up the game, and so are the majority of the other features in the amp mode. Amp mode lets players simply jam on their guitar. It also has cool features like the ability to change virtual guitars to get a different tone and virtual pedals to completely change up the sound. Again, all of this is locked from the get go. That being said, none of this is as appalling as the practice mode in Rocksmith.

A practice mode is something that should be simple and forgiving. Something that should allow players to adjust the speed of the song to their liking until they can get up to full speed. Practice mode should also allow players to select a span of different sections, so as to allow players to work on transitions from section to section. It should tell you how you're doing and reassures you that you're making decent progress. Rocksmith has none of these features. The practice mode in the game gives players three different ways of going about practicing a different section; two of which are almost exactly the same. The practice mode that makes the most sense is called the leveler.

Your guitar needs a 6.35 mm output jack in order for it to be compatible.

The leveler allows players to play a selected section of the song at full speed and will level up as the player does well. The colossal problem with this practice mode, and all the other practice modes of Rocksmith, is not just the fact that it doesn't have any of the aforementioned features, but that it also has a lives system. If you don't do well enough to level up, if you don't play to 100%, you lose a life. What's worse is that it only gives you five lives. Only five chances to get it right, and if you don't, you're kicked out of the practice mode. Why? What is the purpose of this? This is not an effective way to teach guitar, much less practice it. It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

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Ubisoft Montreal
US - Out Now
PC PS3 360