Rocksmith 2014 is both a game and learning tool for use with a real electric guitar or bass. You plug in your guitar to a USB port with a special cable and can play through step by step guitar lessons, learn specific songs and riffs and play a variety of arcade style games with your guitar as the controller.
Everything the game does is done in a very incremental, adaptive and intuitive way, from the games to the lessons, everything is designed to help you retain information about notes, chords and scales, etc, as well as building up your muscle memory to improve your skill at playing guitar. It’s obvious a lot of work and research has gone into making Rocksmith 2014 a powerful education tool that can teach anyone to play guitar while still being fun.
The lessons try to teach you how to play in the way a real guitar tutor would; by explaining techniques, showing you how they are played and then giving you a go while gradually making things more advanced each time. The practice riffs also slow down and let you do things at your own pace if it thinks you are having trouble.
There are also a decent amount of ‘Learn a Song’ songs that come with the game that start you off by getting you to play the very base notes that hold the song together, the game reacts to how well you are doing and gradually adds in more notes if you are getting everything right, eventually the notes will become chords and with enough practice you will easily learn how to play a song from start to finish.
The arcade games are designed to make you remember specific aspects of guitar playing as well as increasing your reaction time, muscle memory and being able to play without looking at the guitar neck. One game has you shooting ducks by playing the right note as they appear in front of different frets, another has you strumming entire chords in a zombie rail shooter. I found all the games to be both fun and very helpful.
Some other nice features Rocksmith 2014 has is a full tone designer where you can create your own digital sound using a variety of pedals, amps, loops and more. The real life equivalent of this kind of equipment is really expensive so I found it really fun to be able to play around with this kind of stuff. There’s also multiplayer modes, online leaderboards and session mode where you have an automatic band accompanying your guitar as you play.
I don’t have many bad things to say about Rocksmith 2014 other than the song selection not being entirely to my taste, but a few DLCs fixed that for me. I also had an incredibly hard time getting a Rocksmith RealTone cable in Australia, all of the retail stores were sold out for over a month and I had to order one online. Some may also argue that the game is too repetitive, but with learning any instrument, repetition is the key to success and I think this game really makes the repetition as fun as it can possibly be.
If you have a guitar sitting in the corner of your room which you don’t really play because you’ve given up on learning it on your own, then I highly suggest you try Rocksmith 2014, you will almost definitely improve at playing guitar, learn some new songs and have lots of fun. If you want to learn guitar on your own, this is the way to do it.
I give Rocksmith 2014 9/10.