The much anticipated Rocksmith 2014 is set for release in the UK on October 25th but the question for many of us is is it worth upgrading to the new Rocksmith 2014 version?
Rocksmith, if you don’t know, is a music video game produced by Ubisoft. The game is based on the technology which was developed for the unreleased project, Guitar Rising. The true genius of Rocksmith, over such games as Guitar Hero, is that you can plug a real guitar into your console or computer and learn to actually play a proper instrument rather than some plastic mock-up. Rocksmith was launched in North America on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in October 2011. The latest version, the much anticipated Rocksmith 2014 is due for release here in the UK on October 25th 2013. But is it worth ordering?
First thing is that Rocksmith was a fantastic tool for learning the guitar, and this has not changed for Rocksmith 2014, it is still a great way of learning to play the guitar and, if you are looking at comparing it to conventional guitar lessons, it is significantly cheaper. The attraction of Rocksmith 2014 is the way the user interfaces with the game and how this aids learning. The manufacturers of Rocksmith go as far to claim that no other learning system is as effective as Rocksmith.
The main attraction of Rocksmith is the ability to connect your guitar up to your console or computer and this is achieved using the “Hercules” USB adapter. Once connected up the game is designed around teaching you how to play by progressing your “career” as a guitarist. The aim is to make available more songs, game modes and challenges as you progress your career and you do this by earning Rocksmith points. The more Rocksmith points you have the more options are available to you, it’s as simple as that.
Rocksmith 2014 has a redesigned interface which makes the game play slicker and more intuitive making it even more tailored to learning in a fast and effective way.
As in the original, Rocksmith 2014 still has the brilliant Technique Challenge portion to the game. The technique challenge gives you the opportunity to hone particular guitar skills such as hammer-ons and pull-offs, chords and power chords. One of the new features that I really love is the “Riff Repeater” mode which allows the player to select any section of a song they want to play, and adjust the difficulty and speed on-the-fly.
For those of you who like the gaming side once you complete a Technique Challenge the game enters “Guitarcade” mode which incorporates the new technique into a game like challenge. For me this really helps to embed the skills that you have picked up in the technique challenge reinforcing the power of Rocksmith 2014 as a learning tool. For Rocksmith 2014 Ubisoft have added in new “Guitarcade” mini-games which have been specifically created and improved to hone particular guitar skills.
In Rocksmith 2014 there is a new “Master Mode” which makes playing by memory more approachable and fluid. All in all with all of these flexible and deep learning practice tools, Rocksmith 2014 has made it even easier for players to learn guitar skills and techniques as well as to play their favourite songs on guitar.
A brilliant new addition to Rocksmith 2014 is the new “Session Mode”. This is a groundbreaking technology that enables players of any skill level to play guitar with a virtual band that jams along with them. Players can select the style of music and the particular instruments they’d like to accompany them and the rest happens dynamically, adapting live while they play. This really provides extra depth to the game allowing the player the ability to learn songs in a dynamic environment. This is ideal for players who can’t normally practice with a band. To find out more about the session mode aspect of Rocksmith 2014 watch the video below.
If you add in that Rockmaster 2014 also incorporates the exceptional amplifier modelling capabilities of the original you can see that Rocksmith 2014 represents a unique guitar learning tool. The amplifier modelling of Rocksmith 2014 simulates the sound of the guitar as played through a range of stage equipment and effects. This comes into its own when playing songs in the “session mode” as the game models the guitar sound so that it matches, as closely as possible, the guitar sound in the original song. We think that this is a very neat and thoughtful addition to the game.
For the new Rocksmith 2014 the producers have added to the track list giving the player a wide choice of musical styles to choose from.
The track list includes:
- Aerosmith – Walk This Way
- Alice Cooper – No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Alice In Chains – Stone
- Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
- Avenged Sevenfold – Bat Country
- Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
- B’z – ultra soul
- Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
- Deftones – My Own Summer
- EarlyRise – Wasteland
- Gold Motel – Brand New Kind Of Blue
- Green Day – X-Kid
- Iron Maiden – The Trooper
- Jack White – Sixteen Saltines
- Kiss – Rock and Roll All Nite
- La Sera – Love That’s Gone
- Magic Wands – Black Magic
- Mastodon – Blood and Thunder
- Minus The Bear – Cold Company
- Muse – Knights Of Cydonia
- Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box
- Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
- Pantera – Cemetary Gates
- Paramore – Now
- Paws – Sore Tummy
- Queen – We Are The Champions
- R.E.M. – Losing My Religion
- Radiohead – Paranoid Android
- Ratt – Round And Round
- Red Fang – Wires
- Rise Against – Savior
- Rush – The Spirit Of Radio
- Screaming Females – Rotten Apple
- Slayer – War Ensemble
- Splashh – All I Wanna Do
- Tak Matsumoto – GO FURTHER
- The Dear Hunter – Stuck On A Wire Out On A Fence
- The Kinks – You Really Got Me
- The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
- The Shins – For A Fool
- The Smashing Pumpkins – The Chimera
- The Who – My Generation
- Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
- Weezer – Say It Ain’t So
- White Zombie – Thunder Kiss ’65
I would go as far as to say that Rocksmith 2014 is the best value, as well as one of the most complete, guitar learning tools that we have reviewed. There are some fantastic online packages which provide a more indepth learning experience. For example the brilliant Jam Play, which we reviewed earlier this year in our article Learn to Play Guitar with Jam Play, still offers the guitarist a more indepth learning experience. However for getting a novice guitarist up, running and playing the guitar very quickly we think Rocksmith 2014 takes some beating. In fact withthe Rocksmith 2014 Edition with Epiphone Les Paul Junior Guitar exclusive from Amazon you get a complete package of great guitar and learning package for under £130. This represents excellent value for money. Remember with Rocksmith 2014 you don’t need an amp as you have all the amplifier simulation and effects built into the game. All I can say is that I wish I had this when I was learning to play the guitar.