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PAX Prime 2011: Rocksmith Impressions & Video

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Or, if you already play and are a gamer (like myself), have you ever had the desire to use your guitar shredding skills in a video game? If so, you are in luck because from what I saw of Ubisoft’s Rocksmith, our wish has come true. In case you missed the E3 announcement, Rocksmith is a music game similar to Gutiar Hero or Rockband, only you get to use an actual guitar that has strings and frets instead of little brightly colored buttons. The game adjusts and evolves directly with your skill level and is packed with tons of great features to both teach you the basics and keep you rocking for years to come.

The whole concept reminds me of the Guitar Queero episode of South Park where Stan’s parents try to point out that if the kids would put the same time and effort into playing a real instrument, who knows what they could accomplish. It’s true. Think about it, how often does a game teach you a real life skill that could last you the rest of your life?

In Rocksmith, you will see the game adapt to your skill level, as it attempts to make those dull beginning guitar practices fun by using an impressive variety of mini games designed to help you get better. In my hands on time with the game, I was able to play through the ‘Ducks’ mini game, which prompted me to play specific notes in order to shoot down flying ducks. Each fret and string was a row from which the ducks would emerge, and hitting each note would shoot a bullet down the row. It really was a lot of fun, and I found myself wanting to try it again as soon as it was over.

Other mini games proceed to teach you chords and scales, but you can still hop into the core of the game at any time. Just like other music games, you will mostly be playing along with your favorite songs, with colored notes shooting toward you, until you learn to play them on your own. I wasn’t able to get a number, but there is a staggering amount of bands that will be featured in Rocksmith, from The Beatles to Kings of Leon.

Another great feature will be the ‘freeplay’ mode, which allows you to use your television as an amplifier of your choice; equipped with a fully featured and adjustable line of peddles and effects. You will be able to sit and adjust the sound to your liking and then simply jam out in your living room. Sure beats buying all of that equipment yourself. Trust me, those peddles and amps aren’t cheap.

I think what impressed me the most about Rocksmith was just how much content they seemed to have packed into the game. You could literally be entertained for months or even years with this game, because it will always be adapting to your skill level. Guitar isn’t something you can expect to learn overnight, and that might be what discourages most people with this game (aside from the price). But if you feel you truly want to learn, Rocksmith seems like an awesome way to go about it. I just wish it was available when I first started playing in 5th grade. Even if you have already been playing for years, this if your chance to finally bring your music skills into your video games. I am happy Ubisoft is breaking new ground by taking games beyond plastic controllers. It makes me wonder what else might be on the horizon.

Rocksmith will be coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 on October 11th and on PC December 13th. The stand alone game that comes with the special wire for connecting guitar to console/PC will be priced at $79.99. If, however, you don’t already own a guitar, the $199.99 bundle will be coming with the game, wire, and an Epiphone Les Paul Junior. I know two hundered dollars might sound expensive, but this is actually a really great deal. Drop by your local music shop and you will see what I mean. Finally, if you want to play with your friend in co-op mode, you can also purchase extra wires for $29.99. Check out my video bellow for a live demonstration.

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  • Elliott Rudner

    The Beatles??!

    • Opus Penguin

      My reaction exactly. If they have the Beatles I would love this game!!!

    • Opus Penguin

      My reaction exactly. If they have the Beatles I would love this game!!!

  • Elliott Rudner

    The Beatles??!

  • rawk on

  • rawk on

  • I got to play with this just a little bit at E3, and I am really intrigued. I’ve been playing guitar for about 20 years and I am hoping this might give my random noodling some structure and get me off a plateau. 

  • I got to play with this just a little bit at E3, and I am really intrigued. I’ve been playing guitar for about 20 years and I am hoping this might give my random noodling some structure and get me off a plateau. 

  • dataxao

    Have all you people seriously not heard of Rock Band 3?!

    • Elliott Rudner

      Rock Band 3 makes you use a MIDI based Guitar. This game lets you use any guitar with a 1/4 inch guitar. This is more guitar lessons with gamification than a game like Rock Band. Totally different games

  • Bigworm148

    This is not new ground.  Rock Band 3 has already taken it’s gamers beyond plastic guitars with their pro-mode and real deal Squier Stratocaster, along with pro-keys, pro-drums, and trainers to teach you all of those instruments.  Do the writers of the articles have any clue as to what games already exist?

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