Since its release in 2012, I have been approached by several individuals who wanted to know if I thought RockSmith would be a good tool for teaching them to play the guitar.  Being the world’s expert on music based videogames (academic expert, not player expert), I finally gave in and decided to give RockSmith a try. 

 

Initially, I didn’t expect to play the game for more than 30 minutes.  I figured I’d try out a few songs and write a review. 

 

Instead, I proceeded to play for 3 hours the first night and another 2 the following evening.  The game is straight up addicting.  To say I was impressed would be an understatement.  I was completely blown away by how engaging and entertaining the game was.

 

Rocksmith cable 072513

 

RockSmith ships in two different packages.  The basic includes the game and a ¼” to USB adapter which will hook any standard electric guitar up to your computer or console and retails for $55.  The deluxe package ($199) also includes an Epiphone Les Paul Junior, a strap and picks.

 

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Both options are available for PS3, XBox 360 and PC.

 

The Good:

 

-Presentation is everything: The graphics are fantastic and the interface is logical and easy to read.  The game is extremely intuitive and will have any player: from novice to expert…just jump in and start jamming.

 

-It’s Alive!  Okay, maybe it isn’t alive, but the progressive learning technology is top notch.  The game is able to quickly access your skill level and it will adjust the difficulty accordingly, and it does it fast.  It will progressively ramp up the difficulty mid-song.  Yeah, it’s really that good.   Within 20-30 minutes of playing the game will have accessed your experience level and will already be challenging you.

 

-Something for everyone: The game has a substantial catalog of songs from every popular genre, and it is still growing.  You can play lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass for each song, and there are several skill games to improve your abilities.  Every player, regardless of skill level, will easily be able to find something challenging in the game.

 

-Plays well with others: The game worked very well with every guitar I tried it with, included a Gibson Les Paul, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Dot, and a no-name p-bass copy.   If you already own an electric guitar, don’t feel any need to go out and buy the player pack that includes a guitar.

 

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6YMl_IaPPE

 

 

The Not-So-Good:

 

-Tabs anyone?  Although the interface is really slick, occasionally it would be nice to be able to look at a tab, particularly in chord mode.  Since chord mode generally starts out with partial chords and then progresses to actual chords, it can get confusing when learning a new song.  For experienced players, it would be nice to occasionally be able to go look at the actual tabs to make sense of what the game is asking you to play.

 

-But it hurts my fingers.  Okay, so I actually do think that you could learn to play guitar by solely playing RockSmith.  That being said, I think it would be difficult and frustrating for a complete beginner to jump right in.  If it were up to me, I would recommend that anyone wanting to learn to play using RockSmith should take a month to learn a few basic songs before jumping into the game.  You will progress and learn much quicker if you have a basic foundation before playing the game.

 

Overall, I loved RockSmith.  It is light years ahead of another other music game out there, primarily because it actually teaches you to play. 

 

Even as an advanced player, I found it to be a great learning tool for me because it forced me to play songs and genres I wouldn’t normally practice. 

 

Additionally, I loved the bass mode.  Having owned/played bass for years, but never really excelled because I don’t enjoy playing it alone.  RockSmith made playing/practicing the bass fun and I honestly believe it has already improved my bass skills.

 

Bottom line, from novice to expert RockSmith has something for everyone.  Try it and you’ll probably love it.  Sure there are some areas where it could be improved, but overall it is an amazing tool.  If you’re on the fence, I whole heartly recommend buying RockSmith: it’s both fun and practical.

 

 

-”Guitar Guy” Tim

 

Questions, comments?  Please leave them below or email me at tim@l2pnet.com.  You can also follow my reviews, random thoughts and other cool stuff on Twitter, @guitarguytim.