on 11 November 2013
Rocksmith 1 (or RS1 as it is now known) was great, but the menus were the pain and I would only occasionally summon the motivation to actually play it.
Rocksmith 2014 is what RS1 should have been.
The menu system is simplified.
The Session mode, where you can jam with a band, is fun and I use it more than I thought I would.
All my DLC from RS1 is available in RS2014 off the bat.
The Missions. It is constantly giving you missions to perform, like hit a level on the guitarcade, or get a certain percentage on a song, or do something in session mode.
The phrase player / practice tool is on the menu during a song. So much better, when it throws something hard at you.
Plus they have had some good DLC in the last few weeks, Smaashing Pumpkins, Iron maiden and this week Alice in chains.
It freezes occasionally on my Xbox. Usually once a day. Sometimes it is fine. Yesterday it froze three times in an hour.
Due to licensing, it costs about £6 to allow RS1 disk songs to play in RS14, if you have a RS1 save game.
When practicing a song, I wish it would give me a score, like RS1 did, whilst playing. Not just the overall mastery at the end.
Overall, I am loving this. I am finding I am playing this daily.
I'm sure they will fix the freezing issue at some point.
on 20 August 2014
Oh I love this. I really do. Only thing is, it hasn't turned me into a guitar god and it probably never will. That's because I just don't have the time to play guitar, which is sad because I've always wanted to. But that's life I suppose. Still, it is really great to have it sitting there, with a guitar (cheap Gear4Music LesPaul) sitting plugged in and ready to go, so that when I do have a moment, I can let rip with those power cords, even of most of what I play is a little bit crap.
There are some great songs on here though, and if you want to shell out more money you can buy even more on line. Some forums even run song of the week comps for extra bragging rights.
Problems are with the lag in guitar to TV. I could never solver this, so I bought some xbox headphones and now the lag is gone, but I still can't play it through the TV. My mate, who has this game, plays it through his TV with no problems, so it really is a case of suck it and see.
Bottom line: If you ever wanted to play the guitar and never got round to it, this is probably a great way to get back to it. You can then decide if you want actual lessons or if (like me) you just want to mess about with guitars and look cool (but sound rubbish).
on 11 January 2014
One year after the UK got the first "Rocksmith", Ubisoft released this new version, which they do not consider to be a sequel. You do not have to have played the earlier game to get the best out of this one, although all except five of the songs from that game can be exported to your console's storage and played in "Rocksmith 2014", while all 143 DLC songs that worked in that game can also be played in this. Note that all DLC songs released since the release of "Rocksmith 2014" are not compatible with the first "Rocksmith" due to the new features in this newer game changing the file format.
However, there were quite a few annoying issues in the earlier game that grated on quite a few people, including audio lag that did not seem to improve that much even when changing to an analogue lead for HDMI TVs (and, let's face it, who wants to do that with an HDMI TV, especially just to play one game?) and a very poorly-designed menu system.
Now we have RS2014, and I am pleased to be able to announce that it is streets ahead of the earlier game, with far less noticeable lag issues (although it's still not perfect), a better calibration method and a greatly-improved interface that makes considerably more sense. An added bonus is that it takes a fraction of the time to load a song for you to play along to compared to having to wait about 20-odd seconds (if you were lucky) like you had to previously.
You can select one of the songs available to you straightaway. There is no need to unlock any of the on-disc songs; they are all ready for you to select right from the first time you load the game (although a very small number of bonus songs require you to sign up to a uPlay account).
When you select a song for the first time it'll bring up the tuner, but for second and subsequent songs in a session it will only bring up the tuner again if you are about to play a song that has a different tuning to the song that you have just played. As well as Standard and Drop-D tuning, there are some songs that use D-Standard (which is like standard tuning, except a tone lower: DGCFAD) and E-flat tuning (all strings a semitone lower than standard tuning), Drop-Db (like Drop-D but a semitone lower). However, one pig that will be a bit of a bind is that there are a small number of songs that are not "concert pitch" (a.k.a. A440); some songs are a fraction higher and others a fraction lower, and even some of the DLC that you could play in the previous game suddenly requires you to make these slight tuning adjustments before you can play them, even though you did not have to do this when playing them in the previous game (T-Rex's "20th Century Boy" and Queen's "Fat-Bottomed Girls" are two examples of such DLC). These are a bit of an irritation because the chances are that you will only be making these slight adjustments for one or two songs, and some guitars and basses out there can be fiddly to tune due to the differences in tension on the neck affecting the other strings, meaning that those go out of tune even after you thought you had already tuned them correctly. This means that you could be spending several minutes just trying to detune for a very small portion of songs. Sadly this is not up to Ubisoft, as they would only be allowed to pitch-shift if the rights holders gave them permission to do so, and said rights holders clearly did not want these songs’ pitches tampered with in any way, so “true tunings” it is, I’m afraid...
Actually, while we are on about the tuner, I hate to say that the built-in tuner still isn't that great. It still seems to be either a bit too forgiving with accuracy or incredibly picky, from what I can make out.
You will also note that songs that you played on guitar in the first game (be they DLC songs or ones that you exported from that game) that had three or more different arrangements then now only have two (lead or rhythm). Playing along you will also notice that they have had some of RS2014's new features built into them. Natural harmonic chords are now possible, whereas they always seemed to be just single notes in the first game. Also, while you are playing an arrangement, any change in tone (such as switching from a clean tone to one with distortion or delay or some other effect) is automatically done by the game, so what you play won't have the same tone throughout, and it sounds much more like the sound of the instrument used for that section in the original song.
In the first game you could change the sorting order of the songs (e.g. by artist or by song title), but that always reset itself to song title after every song that you played, and also put it to the very first song that came alphabetically in the list! No such problem this time! Whichever sorting was last picked before selecting a song is retained until you change it yourself, and the highlighted song when you return to the song selection menu will be the song that you have just played, so you won't have to scroll through all of the songs to get to one at the far end of the list (although it would have been nice if you could just jump straight to an initial letter when songs are sorted alphabetically in some form. New sorting options this time around include sorting by difficulty, by song length, by tuning and by favourites (you can "favourite" a song, which would then have a heart icon next to it, so when sorting using this all the songs with hearts beside them would be clumped together at the top).
The Riff Repeater is back, and it is better than it ever was before. Not only do you not have to access it separately or navigate through fiddly menus to get to practice the song section that you want, you can now just elect to play a song in the normal way and then access the Riff Repeater via the Pause menu, and you can use the bumpers and triggers to specify which section of the song that you would like to "riff-repeat" (to build up speed, difficulty etc. as before), and you can set error tolerance so that you don't always get penalised for flubbing just one note, although one complaint that I have is that this does not always seem to be consistent -- sometimes it just seems to penalise you for a single mistake while other times it will allow up to four or five.
In fact, if you wanted, you could even "riff-repeat" a whole verse or even the whole song if you so wished -- no need to just select one riff this time! Oh, and no limited number of times to try and perfect the section (the previous game limited it to 30 -- sometimes even just five attempts to max out a phrase)!
In fact, if you are not a beginner and do not want to be "babied" through even the simplest of songs until you have built them up enough to have all sections at least close to 100% mastery, then by selecting whole sections or the entire song in Riff Repeater and ramping up the difficulty (note that you can see just what notes/techniques are being added to the selected section in a note highway preview in the background with each increased step in difficulty). This is a massive improvement on the previous game, where you would have had to navigate through tedious menu options and select each riff or song section individually -- talk about painting a wall with a toothbrush!
There are numerous tutorial videos in RS2014, but a big plus compared to the first game is that there are some aspects of playing that even cater for aspects of playing outside of the game's direct support (such as replacing a string, applying and adjusting a strap so that your guitar/bass is in a comfortable position, and even how to do pinch harmonics). Because of this not all of the tutorial videos have associated challenges, but their inclusion nonetheless is worthy of note as it makes the game even more of a learning tool than the previous game was.
There are some different games in the Guitarcade, including a variation on the zombie game that was in the previous Rocksmith that allowed you to practice chords (apparently this was VERY popular), and many of them have a wonderfully retro feel to them (although some instructions in one or two games could have done with being a bit clearer).
But the biggest aspect of RS2014 that has got people really excited is the Session Mode, where you can set up a virtual band and practice scales and other aspects in certain keys and the "band" would do its best to follow your lead, so to speak.
Overall, this is a massive improvement on the previous game, and is more like the guitar and bass game that players of those instruments have been waiting for. I do still have some other criticisms besides those already mentioned above:
(1) The on-screen strings are still displayed by default as having the bottom string uppermost on-screen, rather than the top string uppermost, as is used in TAB outside of the game and is also the order that you see the strings when you look down on them. There is the option to invert them, but it does not seem to make sense for the flipped version to be the default setting. It also makes no sense to this reviewer why this alternative view is even in the game when sources outside the game will not show the lowest string uppermost, which could potentially be very confusing.
(2) The Rocksmith Shop still does not mark songs already downloaded in a particularly good way. As before, songs are available individually, whereas some connected ones are available in packs of three or more. The problem is that if you bought all of the songs in a pack singly then the pack containing them is not marked as being downloaded, and if you bought a song pack then the single songs within the pack are still marked as not having been purchased. This problem never happened in other music games such as "Guitar Hero" or "Rock Band", so you were never in danger of paying twice for songs that you did not realise you already had, so the fact that there is a risk of doing so in RS2014 is too important an issue to simply gloss over.
(3) On the highway, some notes and repeated chord-plays are hard to see, usually because they are either too tightly packed behind other notes/chords, or because they blend in too well with other things on the screen. There is also the added problem that quite often red and orange notes are very hard to tell apart, while some blue and red notes (especially palm-muted ones) can be hard to see.
(4) Some chord names are musically incorrect. While on many occasions it does display the correct enharmonic spelling (e.g. whether a chord should be G# [G-sharp] or Ab [A-flat] in relation to the key of a song), there are other times where it names a chord with the wrong one. This could lead to people who are genuinely also learning about music theory to pick up bad habits and potentially think that note names are interchangeable, which more often than not is not the case and could potentially cause anyone sitting music theory exams to lose marks.
The game still comes highly recommended, and it still manages to make something fun out of drilling techniques that can otherwise seem like a real chore! You might still need to consult a human for some things, but this does a better job of teaching than the previous game.
At the time of starting to write this review there were three official versions of RS2014 available: a bundle with a guitar, cable and the game; a bundle with just the game; or just the game by itself (ideal for people that bought the first game and do not want/need to fork out for another RealTone cable).
on 5 February 2014
The 2014 edition of Rocksmith is a vast improvement over the original,
I have been playing guitar now for 2 years , I had been learning to play for about 6 months before I first purchased the first version of Rocksmith and it did help me alot.
I think If I had just bought the first rocksmith with no experience of playing guitar I may of stuggled quite a bit, And as I started using Rocksmith I found on the original some of the fast songs you could get away with quite a few bum notes in places and it appeared rocksmith still thought I had played them correctly.
The analysis of your playing seems to be more accurate on Rocksmith 2014 and there is now more details display on screen for bending stings slides etc, You were in the dark in the original as I don't think it actually show full/half bends etc.
The guitarcade in 2014 is far superior than it predecessor also it look like they have given alot more thought into them, and they are more fun although I don't use them that much (they still help with basic techniques)
Nice varied range of Music Genres and me being a Rock/Metal fan happy to they have release quite a lot of DLC content I like, Iron Maiden, Alice In Chains , System of A Down..
Wow, there is a lot of lessons in the 2014 edition , and loads of advanced techiques (Double tapping, pinch harmonics... to a name a couple) . And this has spurred me on alot , as some songs that required double tapping for example, I didn't even realise until I watched the lesson. (I acutally thought my god you need 10 finger on each hand and move at the speed of light to accomplish this)
So thats my brief review, Chuffed to bits with it, it has helped me improve alot , I would recomend this only if you stick with your guitar and practice frequently , it's not something you can pick up once a month (you won't get anywhere)