14 Reviews


This isn't a Guitar Hero clone: Drop-D cynicism

Whether you're learning to play guitar to justify a leather jacket or hoping to coerce attractive strangers into your boudoir, the process can quickly become an uphill struggle. After the initial honeymoon period of posing and misjudged attempts to start a house party sing-along, most people tend to give up for good.

With Rocksmith, however, things feel different. The USB cable that comes with the game plugs into any electric guitar or bass, turning your console into a magical tutor. After you've tuned your instrument and learned the basics, you're dropped into an actual song with the backing of a full band to cover up your fumbling.


Each track amplifies and tweaks your guitar's sound to fit the song perfectly, ensuring that initial learning successes feel more rock 'n' roll than they otherwise would. You can also freestyle with these digital amps, but only once you've managed to unlock them by playing through the game.

The incredible scope of pre-amp and post-amp stuff you can tweak would have made it a cool purchase for any guitar player, so it's a shame that it isn't all unlocked at the start. The mini-games that help teach techniques are much better, adding a way to sharpen up your guitar skills that isn't wholly tedious.

Difficulty levels adapt during each song to ensure you're always being adequately challenged, but step down again if it proves too much. Experienced musicians will quickly unlock tough challenges purely by playing well enough to initiate the inclusion of advanced techniques, while newcomers are coddled with a more comfortable pace.

The adaptive difficulty is a great inclusion, but when you're hopping between two levels of complexity it can sometimes be a little jarring - it's frustrating to feel yourself finding the groove just as the difficulty level decreases, putting you back down to a simpler mode.

Minor niggles prevent it from being perfect, but don't make the verdict any less simple: you'd be mad to buy an electric guitar and not fork out for Rocksmith as well. You won't become an axe-god through Rocksmith alone, but it's a ludicrously entertaining way to practice. For that alone, it's worth having.

The verdict

Sign up to the school of rock

  • Teaches both guitar and bass
  • Surprisingly intuitive
  • You're actually learning a skill
  • Presentation is dull
  • Amps need unlocking
Xbox 360
Rhythm Action, Sim / Strategy, Party