Celeste Dobropolski On November 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

Rocksmith - ScreenshotIf you’ve ever been to a Guitar Hero or Rock Band tournament, you know there are players out there who are wildly talented at five-rainbow-button guitar. You’ve also undoubtedly heard onlookers exclaim, “Just think of all the time it took them to get that good! Just imagine if they had spent that time on a real guitar! They’d be the next Jimi Hendrix!” Hyperbole aside, you can’t help but think that there might be some merit to that statement. That sentiment is exactly what Ubisoft decided to tackle in their release of Rocksmith.

For those about to rock, you can salute Rocksmith for your Xbox 360!

I am fortunate enough to live with a guitar player, so hooking up a real guitar to the game was a breeze. There are bundles offered with basic guitars that are probably worth it if learning guitar from a video game is something about which you are serious. The game suggests using a surround sound system, but I used the television, and it worked just fine. If you are strictly an HDMI user, this might be inconvenient, since the game does not suggest using HDMI for audio. Once you’re all jacked in and ready to rock, you will begin to experience what I deem the closest thing to virtual reality in your own home. The game is great at interfacing virtual aspects of music gameplay with the real feel and romance of playing a true guitar. That said, be ready for sore fingers and possibly blisters if you plan on playing this game nearly as much as any other video games you play. Along with all of the perks of playing a real guitar come all of the problems, such as blisters, soreness, string maintenance, and of course, tuning. Tuning is made simple in the game, allowing the software to pick up on each strum and let you know when you hit that note. You’re on your own with the strings and blisters.

Since the major selling point for Rocksmith is the ability to acclimate and teach those unfamiliar with playing guitar, what about people who already play? The game has a varied and solid music library, and it offers a chance to teach veteran players new songs in ways that are innovative and modeled from the Guitar Hero/Rock Band formula. Everyone knows that excelling in guitar Hero does not translate to being able to play a guitar. You may be surprised to learn that many people who played guitar before playing a rhythm game found their prior musical knowledge hindered their ability to play the toy guitar controllers. This makes Rocksmith an asset for guitar players who would like to enjoy rhythm games without fighting their instincts. Following a previous rhythm game format means that while the gameplay is familiar and accessible to experienced music game players, it also leaves some to be desired in terms of originality. That’s not to say the game is not creative as a whole, but progress in the game is achieved through the same means of unlocking a song, playing it, unlocking a venue, etc. This is excusable, though, since most of the innovation stems from the teaching capacity of the software.

Despite the tired gameplay structure, lessons are not laid out in a static, archaic format. You unlock songs, but you don’t just run head first into playing the entire guitar part of said song. Everything is presented in bite-sized steps to allow players to learn at their own speed. Fortunately, you’re not learning basics out of order from how you would learn them taking lessons. This fact is one of the most impressive aspects of the title, considering I expected something that would only replace the fake guitar with real notes. Rocksmith goes far beyond that, embracing a sense of pride in reaching out to and understanding those of us with less musical background than our peers. Lessons take place in regular song mode as well as specific skill training mode, so you can feel free to hone any skills you have learned at any point. There is even a Guitarcade offering mini-games which are yet another creative way for players to hone their skills while they beat high scores.

The music selected for this game seems to reflect varying levels of skill and focus on adaptability of guitar melodies rather than what is trendiest or will sell the most copies. At the end of my two and a half weeks playing this game, I am not yet a rock star. However, I am able to play a few songs and feel vastly more comfortable holding a guitar than I did before owning this game. Rocksmith is a great example of an original idea resonating through a clean execution. Despite the higher range price tag for a video game, learning from Rocksmith was also a lot cheaper than paying someone for guitar lessons.


Varied learning styles are great, though tried and true rhythm game format gets a little stale.


A sleek and minimalist layout, though not a graphically intense game.


A music library that includes some greatest hits but also extends beyond the more popular realm of great guitar parts.


Rocksmith allows novice and adept players alike the chance to integrate virtual rhythm games and playing a real guitar. A solid music library, responsive syncing, and a well-tailored lesson system make Rocksmith a must for guitar players who love rhythm games or those who would like to learn guitar from a video game.

Click here to buy Rocksmith (no guitar included) for the Xbox 360 from EBgames.com

Click here to buy Rocksmith (no guitar inclued) for the Xbox 360 New or Used for a great price from EBgames.com


One Response

  1. Dehass says:

    You’ve performed a fantastic job with this review. I would love to try this out for my console since I play guitar already.