So you wanna be a rock superstar? And live large, a big house, five cars, you’re in charge? You best go purchase a copy of Rocksmith 2014 Edition on Xbox One then.
For Rocksmith 2014 promises to be THE fastest way to learn guitar, and odds are, once you’ve slaved your way through the numerous tutorials, mini games and actual songs, you could well be heading towards rock fame.
You do have to approach Ubisoft’s latest title in an all-new way though. The gamer head that can sometimes be stuck on autopilot whenever you’re sat in front of the Xbox One needs to be placed firmly to one side, instead replaced with a student cap and some gray matter that is ready for a pounding. Put in simplest terms though, this is Guitar Hero and Rock Band for the real hardcore. You’ll need your own guitar but once connected to your console via the ‘Rocksmith Real Tone cable’ comprising a USB and 1/4 inch jack which comes packed with the game (approx 340cm long), anyone who has played any of those older plastic instrument based games will be familiar with the way the notes pour down the screen, begging for you to pluck the strings in time to create something that faintly resembles music.
Like I say though, this really is for those who want to take their real-world musical skills to the next level as Rocksmith 2014 is really much more in tune with those music lessons you’d take in as a kid, as opposed to the usual games that we are accustomed to on our consoles. Thankfully it takes on the role of beautiful looking ‘tutor’ smoothly, as long as you are happy to bring your own instrument to the lesson hall.
From the get go, the options are numerous. You get to learn lead guitar if you’re one who likes the flashy riffs, a support role with rhythm guitar or you can hit the bass if you prefer. Your guitar head makes absolutely no difference either as it accommodates both 6-inline and 3+3’s and left handers shouldn’t be fazed either.
It’s also perfect for guitar newbies, with lessons starting with how to attach your strap and how to hold the guitar, up to playing single notes or certain frets and then on again to powering out the full chords, hitting up some hybrid techniques and finally hitting you full in the face with some master classes which should only really be attempted once everything else is cleared up to 100%!
You can of course, ignore all the lessons that are placed in front of you and go straight into a jam session or onto learning a song. If you do, the game will react to what has been learnt previously with a sexy looking ‘Rocksmith is thinking’ popping up every now and then, configuring the song and putting a certain arrangement out in front of you to such a degree that you won’t find things too difficult. This may become slightly frustrating to those who have previously dabbled in the way of the strings, but for someone who is first starting out on their road to stardom, the way the game slowly but surely takes you through your paces, slowing things down when it sense you are in trouble and then speeding them up again once you’ve got the hang of things, is a godsend!
However, Rocksmith 2014 isn’t just about sitting pretty with a guitar in your hand and watching you plough through note after note and chord after chord. It is after-all, a game that many will want to get a little fun out of and this is covered well with the inclusion of the Guitarcade. These are a series of games that can be attacked in any order (although I highly recommend starting with the easier ones first), and makes a laugh out of things whilst also perfecting your technique. It’s probably the only part of the title that feels like a real ‘game’ and is a welcome distraction from the sometimes painful (on the fingers) teaching of the lesson mode.
As with all rhythm based games/tutorial guides that come out on Xbox One, Rocksmith 2014 needs to have a solid backbone of tracks available to play and learn and it really doesn’t let anyone down on that side of things. Not only does it come packed with over 50 of the biggest rock tracks ever, but the weekly downloadable content that has been presented to us over the course of the last year in regards to the Xbox 360 version of the game can all be transferred over to the next generation version at no extra cost. So whether you are looking to pluck away to a bit of Joe Satriani, rock out to Queens ‘We are the Champions’ or crank up the volume with White Zombie and Pantera, anyone who gets even the slightest ounce of enjoyment from the very best musical genre should be able to find something they are happy with.
There is also the chance that things could get even better with the inclusion of a two player multiplayer mode. Whilst it would have been lovely to have seen multiplayer hit Xbox Live, giving you the option to jam with a friend from the other side of the world, it is indeed possible to grab a friend and rock out together in the comfort of your living room. You will of course need two guitars (and an extra ¼ inch plug to connect the second one with), but if you are in that position then playing a song, hitting a non stop hour long session or going head-to-head in a score attack looks like it could well be a cracking addition. Maybe this will be where the next huge band will take their first steps!
If you take Rocksmith 2014 Edition for what it is, there really isn’t an awful lot not to like as it pushes the teaching side of things to perfection. Occasionally the constant tuning and re-tuning of instruments can get a little too much and this is normally prevalent when you just want to jump on for ten minutes and bang out a few tunes, but it’s an essential part of any self-respecting musicians plan of attack and so I can’t see any reason to knock it. Just don’t expect to have hours of fun with it, for it’s much more than just a game.
Rocksmith 2014 may at times seem like slow progress, but slow and steady usually wins the race and even after a few hours of sitting down tending to the six string Fender Strat in my hands, things were becoming clearer and I was well on the way to living large with that big house and those five cars.
Just make sure your fingers are up to scratch…this guitar lark bloody hurts!