Rocksmith’s latest version is the 2014 remastered edition. Inside the box, you’ll find the game CD and a Real Tone Cable, which you’ll use to connect your instrument of choice to the computer or console. The Real Tone Cable will connect to your guitar via a 1/4″ jack, so electric guitars are best for this particular system, though acoustic units outfitted with pickups that have an appropriate jack will work, too.
If you’ve already got a Real Tone Cable, you can purchase the game as a standalone for a lower price. Conversely, users who already have a copy of the game, or just need an additional cable, can buy a Real Tone cord by itself, as well.
Here’s a look at what everything will cost you:
- Rocksmith 2014 Remastered Edition: $59.99
- No Cable included: $39.99
- Real Tone Cable: $28.99
Rocksmith has grown well beyond its video game roots, with its 2014 remastered edition shifting focus to providing a phenomenal guitar-learning experience for beginners and experienced guitarists alike. Upon booting up the game for the first time, you’ll get a guided tour to acquaint you with the system. Don’t worry, though: the interface is clean and intuitive, so you can get by even without the tour.
Rocksmith comes with a library of over 80 lessons covering everything from basics to much more advanced topics. If you’re an absolute beginner, you’ll start off with fundamentals like tuning your instrument and even changing strings. More advanced users, meanwhile, can look forward to lessons on extended harmonics, different types of bends, and more.
In terms of breadth, Rocksmith gives you a good blend of skills, techniques, and concepts. Despite the impressive range and quantity of available material, though, Rocksmith’s system of delivering lessons when the system’s assessment thinks it’s appropriate saves you from information overload. You’ll also have access to the full list of lessons from the game menu.
As for tracking your progress, the remastered edition adds tools like stat tracking, which collects in-game data like the number of times you’ve practiced or the skills you’ve mastered.
Lessons are all in high-resolution videos, as befitting the systems and consoles that Rocksmith supports. You can switch between different camera angles for better clarity, too.
Rocksmith boasts of an innovative, performance-responsive system. What this means is that the game system actively analyzes your performance on each song and adjusts the difficulty to give you a balance between manageability and challenge. Afterwards, you’ll get a detailed report on which skills you pulled off well and which ones you’ll need to improve. Each report comes with a list of recommended lessons, so it’s easy to jump right into practice if you want.
Minus a few hiccups on the string tuning module, note detection through the Real Tone Cable works smoothly. If you don’t feel like busting out the cords, you’ll be happy to know that Rocksmith now comes with a “Disconnected” mode too, letting you play through a USB microphone rather than directly through the cable. However, you won’t have access to the scoring or adaptive difficulty systems in this mode.
Speaking of modes and tools, Rocksmith comes with enough of those to ensure that you’ll never be bored. Here’s a sampling of the most essential ones:
- Learn a Song takes you through your chosen song gradually, with the option to loop through specific sections or even record your performance for later evaluation. This is where the adaptive system does its heavy lifting, adjusting the number of notes, required techniques, tempo, and so on as you improve.
- Session Mode gives you a place to test your newfound skills. You’ll jam to a selected song with the backing of a virtual band. The genius of this mode is that your bandmates are run by AIs that respond dynamically to your performance. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll need to know how to improvise if you want to do well in this mode.
- Multiplayer Mode lets you jam with other users, though despite the name, this feature can’t be done through the web. Instead, you’re stuck playing locally, with the use of either a second Real Tone Cable or a microphone for “Disconnected” mode.
There are more, like Master Mode that has you playing completely from memory, or Guitarcade that turns skill drills into mini-games. If all of that isn’t enough, the latest remastered edition packs in even more features, like more options for practice modes and refined controls for the adaptive system. You’ll also get 6 more tracks than the old 2014 edition, for a total of 56 tracks out of the box.
56 tracks isn’t a lot, especially compared to the vast library of jam tracks that you can get from other entries on this list. Fortunately, Rocksmith lets you expand your song collection through the purchase of DLCs (downloadable content). Expect to pay less than $5 per song, with packs of 3-4 songs selling for around $8-9. This is still a bit of a drawback since you’ll need to spend more money for additional songs, though.
Rocksmith made its name as a guitar-learning aid, but this game actually lets you practice both lead and rhythm guitar, plus bass guitar, too. There are whole courses and additional content meant specifically for bass players, like lessons on slapping, popping, and roots.
Rocksmith’s site features a detailed FAQ section that covers most basic questions you’ll have about the game and its various versions and supported systems. For additional information or more detailed support, you can also visit the game’s dedicated forum, call the dedicated hotline (available during set hours every day), or send an email. You can also check out the development team’s accounts on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as their weekly streams on Twitch.
What's the Verdict on Rocksmith?
Rocksmith Review – Conclusion
Rocksmith initially costs a bit more out of pocket than most subscription-based alternatives, but you get your money’s worth thanks to the bevy of innovative features and content that you get out of the box. The ability to get instant feedback, difficulty adjustments, and custom lesson recommendations as you learn on your own instrument is worth the cost alone. Ubisoft sweetens the deal by including a host of modes and tools to inject more variety and fun into your learning experience. There’s a limited number of tracks to start with, but if you’re willing to pay a few extra bucks for downloadable song packs, you can easily expand your library, too. Overall, if you aren’t on a tight budget and want to learn guitar fast while having fun, then you can’t go wrong with Rocksmith. Check it out now!