After a couple of weeks playing Rocksmith, I have moved up from the rank of Amateur to New Act. I’m hooked on the game and my guitar playing is improving.
Many reviewers of Rocksmith write about playing Nirvana‘s song In Bloom. In Bloom is the final song of the third event. I was able to fairly easily reach it, despite having very limited guitar playing experience — let’s face it, I could play a handful of chords and a few riffs when I started playing Rocksmith. What I am saying is that many reviewers have formed a view on the game without getting very far into it at all.
Here are a couple of other observations.
- I have already learnt new guitar techniques playing Rocksmith. I have learnt how to do bends better, sustains, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs. I am getting better at finding my way around the fret board and have started exploring more chords.
- I have inverted the on-screen guitar fret board so that the strings are in the same position as for standard guitar tabs. I figure if I am learning on Rocksmith, I want the skills to be as transferable as possible. What about a version using standard music notation Rocksmith?
- Learning an instrument like guitar involves lots of practice. Rocksmith makes practice fun. The game regularly gives you a sense of progress with the achievement of various song qualifications, event performances, technique trophies, arcade game ranks and performer ranks.
- Rocksmith is a relentless taskmaster. Just when you think that you are getting a technique, it will level up and throw a new set of notes, chords or riffs at you until you are playing the whole song.
- The riff repeater/leveller is a great way to polish up your fret board skills for particular songs. Slowing down riffs and playing them over and over again will eventually allow you to master every aspect of songs.
- At some point you will forget about trying to time your playing with the notes hitting the fretboard on screen. Instead, you will be playing in time with the music, which makes the fretboard largely irrelevant.
- There is plenty to explore in the game. Events, songs, amp effects, modelling the sound of different guitars, techniques, riff repeaters, arcade games, DLCs (downloadable content), etc.
- Qualifying to play songs at events starts at a very low level. I am under no illusions that I could actually perform one of the songs that I have qualified for in the first three events.
- An acoustic guitar with an electronic pick-up works okay for the songs and events, but Rocksmith can have difficulty identifying what you are playing with some of the technique challenges and arcade games.
- Playing an acoustic guitar sounds really odd through the game, and it can be hard to identify the guitar’s computer modified guitar sound above the natural sound of the acoustic guitar. I think I will be looking for an electric guitar to play soon.
- The game is painfully slow at times, particularly making you start the introduction video at the beginning of each technique, before skipping it. Why can’t the game play the introduction once, then allow you to opt in to watching the video, rather than having to opt out?
- The limiting factor in playing the game more is not how enjoyable it is; the limiting factor is finding time, and how tough the ends of my fingers are for pressing on the strings!
Rocksmith continues the great tradition of guitarists teaching themselves to play. I know you can pick up bad habits without a professional guitar teacher, but many rock gods learnt their craft the hard way. Even so, I will continue to send my eight year old daughter to guitar lessons to learn the right way.
I am confident that Rocksmith will improve my own guitar playing skills. What I will do with those skills though, I am not sure.
Browse the Rocksmith category for more articles about the game.