October 23, 2013

Rocksmith 2014

Lasting First Impressions


Two years ago I was incredibly impressed with Ubisoft’s first Rocksmith title. It was the first video game to successfully incorporate real guitars into a Guitar Hero type of game and attempted to truly teach anyone to play guitar. Something I have always wanted to learn. Ultimately, however, I felt that it lacked the actual teaching aspects and I failed to truly learn how to play other than mimicking what I saw on screen. Rocksmith 2014 aims to correct that. Returning with over 55 tracks to learn and play, Rocksmith 2014 is bigger and better than its older sibling and is already proving to be better at what it claims. Proof? My fingers are still hurting.

As soon as the game is turned on, players are asked what type of guitar player they desire to be: Lead, Rhythm, or Bass. This choice can be changed later on, but this will tailor the song selections and notes played in each song. Rocksmith 2014 creates a custom leaning path for players to complete based, not only on their desired play style, but also on how well they do as they progress. Are you having trouble with chords? Rocksmith 2014’s “Rocksmith Suggests” will guide you to complete some chords training. This is something I felt was lacking in the original title and where I had the most trouble. Once the game introduced chords, I was lost. This time, however, I took the first chords training and actually felt good about it. I was playing my first chord. Rocksmith’s “Journey” mode really takes the player by the hand into whatever song, lesson, or exercise is needed to further the learning path.

Rocksmith 2014 Screen (9)
At first, Rocksmith 2014 will start of each song (if you play as a Beginner like I am) with simple single string notes. As the song continues and as you successfully pull off a series of notes, the game will automatically increase the difficulty for you and you may start seeing more than one note at a time. Simple chords will begin to appear. The more you play successfully, the closer you will get to Mastery of the song. Mastering a song completely means you are actually playing the song. For real. On a real guitar. Congratulations! You can play the guitar! Now it’s time to start your own rock band.

Rocksmith 2014 also contains several “Guitarcade” mini-games that are intended to help reinforce certain concepts. One game is reminiscent of the old school Beer Tapper (one of my personal favourites) in which bandits crash your bar on one of six lanes and the player must strum the correct string to shoot them down. Another is a Duck Hunt style game in which players must use the correct fret on the guitar to shoot down the ducks before they escape. Each of the wonderfully retro styled games are an incredibly fun way to reinforce and string and fret placement as well as a multitude of other necessary fundamentals.

Rocksmith 2014 Screen (10)
Rocksmith 2014 is a great tool for anyone who wants to learn guitar or even for those who already play. My youngest daughter, who has been learning guitar for over a year and can easily switch chords without even looking at what she’s doing, plugged in her own acoustic guitar and had a wonderful time playing the game. She still found the game a challenge but was a little disappointed that the list of song choices was music she had never heard of before. She’s right about that. Most of the songs in Rocksmith 2014 are classic songs from an older era and this may put off some of the younger players. Regardless, she still came back to the game the next day to continue her “journey”.

All in all, with the greater selection of lessons available and the much improved Journey mode, Rocksmith 2014 is a worthy successor to 2011’s original Rocksmith. This time, when the game says it can truly teach you to play the guitar, I believe it. Now if only my fingers didn’t hurt so much!

Ubisoft, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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