I haven’t contributed much to the LB in the last few weeks. The video game Rocksmith is consuming my free time.
If you don’t know, this is the PS3 (or Xbox) game that allows you to plug a real electric guitar into your game console. The “game” then teaches you to play guitar. There isn’t any music theory, you basically just learn by playing and practicing songs. The game play is similar to GuitarHero, in that the music scrolls by and you pluck the string at the right moment. Huge difference is obviously that you are playing a real guitar, holding down the right fret, and plucking the real string.
So it it isn’t really a game, it is a learning tool. With that said, I should clarify that while it is a learning tool, it is a absolute blast to play. If you play a couple songs well enough, you get to play them at a concert. Play well enough, another venue is opened up to you, and another set list is available. You can also earn various amps, guitars, etc, that you can use while freeplaying (your TV is basically an amp).
The game has an intuitive skill level recognition system. The songs start out with just the basic notes. The more accurately you play, the more notes/chords are added to the progression of the song. This is a great way to learn, because just as you are mastering the basic version of the song, the song gets progressively harder, but just by a few degrees.
You can practice any song by breaking it down into sections – intro, verse, outro, etc. There are multiple ways to practice as well. For instance, you can set the song to pause if you miss a note, giving yourself time to catch up. This prevents that frustration that develops from a song just being to fast or hard. You can also play as single note, chord, or combo, depending on the song.
There are also multiple technique challenges, that allow you to focus on specific techniques – hammering, slides, etc. There are also several arcade type games that teach you chords, finger techniques, etc.
The game is preloaded with 50 songs, but more are downloadable.
Here is an example of the learning curve of this game. Before playing the game, I knew some basic chords, and had some very basic skills. After one weekend, I can play “In Bloom” by Nirvana with about 75% accuracy (not from memory yet, but along with the game). I miss notes, but the game has advanced me lightyears beyond where I would have gotten on my own.
Really a cool game, and gives you a great sense of accomplishment. Some other reviews talk about a lag between the guitar and the game system being a big problem. I haven’t had that problem. In fact, I have no complaints about this game. The best use of my PS3 so far. Videogaming, without that “what the hell did I just do with the last two hours of my life”, feeling. Ralphnuts gives this game “2 nuts”. Ralphnuts only has two nuts to give, so that is high praise.
Oh yeah, the game costs $80 (without the guitar obviously), so it is a little spendy. I think you can get the game in a pack with a real Les Paul guitar. Not sure how much that costs. But hey, chicks dig dudes who can play the guitar, so cost shouldn’t be an issue.