Rocksmith is not just a revolutionary new game; it will change the music genre forever. This is the first game I have seen that will utilise your own electric guitar as the main input for the game. After plugging in your guitar with a jack-to-USB cable and briefly calibrated your strings to the game you are ready to rock.
The premise is simple; the game shows you a range of frets and 6 strings. As the notes come down the screen they will either rotate from vertical to horizontal, in which they fit in to their marker, or a chord of notes will move down the screen already horizontal; this is so you can tell the timing of notes. Because the string levels are at different heights, two notes which appear are in line with each other actually may not be. This may take a while for new user to get used to, but I assure you, after a few seconds I was a master in the craft.
The song I demoed is the very famous “In Bloom” by Nirvana. Although I recognise this song I could not tell you how the guitar part went let alone how to play it. Rocksmith teaches you how to play the guitar by starting you with only hitting a few notes instead of the entire song. As you hit these notes successfully more will be added. By the end of the song I was hitting around 70% of the notes, and to a general degree of accuracy. I was told that after playing through a song well around 3 times the game will input all the notes in to the song.
Alongside the quickplay that was shown to me, the developers were keen to mention the Guitarcade and Amp mode. Guitarcade gives you a string of games to play (see what I did there?) with a retro vibe. These games are all controlled by your guitar playing and are designed to improve certain aspects of your playing. One game will improve chord progression, another improve scales. Although I did not get a chance to see this in person, I was assured that they would be suitable for novices to learn and experts to master.
Amp mode is a fantastic way to perform guitar on the cheap. You plug in your guitar and wade through a variety of built in settings until you find a combination of pedals and effects to create a sound you are happy with. This can then be assigned to square, triangle or circle (and the corresponding on the Xbox 360 controller). Your output sound can be changed on the fly with a quick tap of one of these buttons and then returned back to normal with X. It must be nice to have such a level of variety without needing to fork out on so much equipment.
Rocksmith will have an extensive track list of around 50 songs. Here is what has been announced so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun
Best Coast – When I’m With You
The Black Keys – I Got Mine
The Black Keys – Next Girl
Blur – Song 2
The Boxer Rebellion – Step Out Of The Car
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
The Cribs – We Share The Same Skies
The CureBoys – Don’t Cry
Interpol – Slow Hands
Jenny O – Well OK Honey
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Nirvana – In Bloom
Nirvana – Breed
Pixies – Where Is My Mind?
Radiohead – High and Dry
Red Fang – Number Thirteen
The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
The Rolling Stones – The Spider and the Fly
Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
Soundgarden – Outshined
Spoon – Me and The Bean
Stone Temple Pilots – Vasoline
Taddy Porter – Mean Bitch
Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union
White Denim – Burnished
The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Yellow Moon Band – Chimney
Rocksmith is shaping up to be a revolution in the ways of the music genre. Plastic Buttons are dead. But will this game really live up to the hype it is building and will this be a commercial success? Considering only people who own a guitar can play this game there is a niche market. On the bright side there will be a Gibson bundle which comes with a guitar for anyone who does not own one. Besides an electric guitar nowadays can be purchased for mere pounds if you look in the right place. Well, we’ll find out how well this game does when it releases later this year in the USA and next year in the rest of the world.