Rocksmith 2014 Review : The ultimate guitar learning package
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The definitive guitar tutorial that teaches wannabe guitarists in a fun and engaging way
- A ton of content to improve every aspect of your guitar playing
- Session Mode offers true innovation. Jamming to a backing group is exhilarating
- Brilliant feedback system that recognises where you're going wrong and seeks to improve in those areas
- Playing guitar is a way of life. Be prepared to invest some serious time in Rocksmith 2014 to get the most out of it
Rocksmith offers a wide range of game modes and a superb set of tutorials that teach you every aspect of playing a guitar. Through video tutorials you are taken through many different guitar techniques such as picking, string bending and palm muting. After each video, you then have to practice the technique and pass a test as a per-requisite to move onto a more complicated version of the technique. Get it wrong and Rocksmith talks you through where you need to improve. Indeed, feedback in this latest version is so much better than the original as Rocksmith recognizes where you’re going wrong and purposely sets challenges to fix it, or points you in the right direction.
In fact, Ubisoft has evolved the series greatly from its predecessor and has learned a lot from past mistakes by making the 2014 version much less linear and giving players freedom of choice. Consequently, you can pick and choose the techniques that you want to hone in on rather than working through a rigid set of linear tutorials, or you can jump into any of the songs and learn them immediately rather than being taken by the hand through a career mode.
Learning to play a song competently is one of the joys of playing the guitar and in Rocksmith beginners will soon be strumming along to the likes of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” while experienced guitar players may get more out of perfecting lightning fast solos from the likes of heavy metal band Mastadon. Whether you’re impressed with the setlist or not is really going to depend on your taste in music and bands. The setlist stands at 55 songs from the likes of major artists like The Police, The Kinks, The Who, Queen and Kiss but I didn’t know around half the songs.
Consequently, it’s unlikely I’ll spend much time trying to learn a heavy metal song, for example, as it’s simply not a genre I enjoy. However, all past Rocksmith DLC is still compatible and they’ll be plenty more on its way, and it’s fair to say that the setlist is nice and varied in order to teach you a range of techniques, chords and the chance to play with different tunings.
One of the highlights about ‘Learn A Song’ mode is that it constantly encourages and helps you to improve by giving you feedback, suggesting areas that you need to improve and pointing you to tutorials that will help you progress. It slowly introduces you to each song, making you play single notes before dynamically adjusting the difficulty based on the way you play. Note detection is spot-on and one step at a time you get better and better. You may, for example, be encouraged to repeat a riff over and over again at a slower pace or told to re-check a certain chord, or go and play an arcade-style mini-game to improve your dexterity and speed.