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Score:8.5 / 10
Prior to playing Rocksmith (RS), I had
never played guitar in my life; unless you count the oneís with the
plastic buttons used in Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Rock Band 3 dabbled
in teaching players guitar, but the results were mixed as the tabulature
was confusing and the tutorials were not very fun. Iíve already been let
down with Rock Bandís attempt to teach me guitar, so how does RS fair?
RS can be bought as the stand alone game with the tone cable or you can
buy the bundle which includes an electric guitar. The bundle retails for
$199.00 and isnít a bad bargain, however, the guitar that comes with the
game is a lower quality
Epiphone model. If youíve already got an
electric guitar lying around, youíre better off skipping the bundle and
purchasing just the game.
RS isnít so much a party game, as it is more of a teaching tool. RS goes
over a lot of guitar techniques including slides, bends, tremeloís, and
chords. The game features technique challenges that let you hone your
skill and earn
bronze, silver and gold medals. In addition
to the technique challenges, RS features several mini games (also known
as the Guitarcade) which, are both fun and let you practice guitar
techniques. This is truly where RS strikes gold as the mini games are a
blast and at the same time youíre improving your playing. This is where
Rock Band could learn from RS. I usually make it a ritual to play a few
mini games when I first boot up the game prior to starting the career
RS catalog features 60 or so songs from Artists including Eric Clapton,
the Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Muse. The setlist is varied and there
are some terrific song choices. Each week or two, new songs are released
through the playstation network, but the price for each song is quite
steep. Each song retails for $3.00, which is one dollar more than what
Rock Band offers each week.
RS offers multiplayer for up to two players on the same console.
Unfortunately, the multiplayer experience is quite limited. None of the
mini games or career mode can be played with two players, which is a
disappointment. It would have also been nice to have the option of one
player playing lead guitar, while the other plays rhythm guitar for each
song. it would have even been nice if you could play bass guitar in the
game. Itís nice to know the developers have hinted at this option in the
The gameís primary mode is the career, which sees you play through gigs
consisting of a setlist of 3-5 songs. Youíll start off playing in local
clubs and work your way to up to becoming a headlining band playing
arenas. Prior to playing each event, youíre required to beat a certain
score in each song. The game breaks down each song and lets you practice
particular parts of the it until you become proficient.
One new thing RS brings to the table is dynamic difficulty. The
difficulty of each song is dependent on how well you play. The better
you play, the more notes the game throws at you, whereas the worse you
play, the less notes youíll see. The dynamic difficulty is terrific and
is a nice departure from selecting easy, medium or hard difficulty seen
in other music games.
I played RS using external audio speakers, rather than having my sound
go through an HDMI cable. If youíre planning on using anything other
than external audio speakers youíre probably going to experience audio
lag, which may impact your experience. I didnít really notice any lag
through my setup and the gameís instruction manual recommends playing
through a sound system.
One thing youíll become too familiar with in RS is tuning your guitar.
Before you can do anything in the game, you have to tune your guitar.
Tuning is fairly easy and straightforward. However, the tuning can get
on your nerves as you literally have to tune your guitar in between each
song (unless youíre playing a setlist). In addition to that, youíll
spend a lot of time waiting for the game to save and load items. I donít
understand why it takes so long to load the game as Rock Band 3 takes no
time to load and I have over 900 songs in my catalog.
RS is a great teaching tool, but your experience is going to depend on
how committed you are to learning guitar. RS wonít turn you into a
shredding Jimmy Hendrix overnight, but if you commit to practicing each
day youíre going to see results. Even if youíre an experienced guitar
player, youíre probably going to find something to like in RS.