Rocksmith in review

Now that I have never to play Rocksmith again (I have been doing anyway, but I do not have to which is a big psychological difference), it is probably time to express my overall thoughts on the game. As Sherlock Holmes would suggest, it might be best to know the worst of each other and see if that is tolerable than being sold on the shiny veneer.

Here is what I found annoying:

Automatic difficulty
This is not perfect. Take American Idiot. I did it with the full chords and got 58% mastery. But then the next time I played it, it had downgraded me to single notes. Not even the two note in-between stage, just all the way down. I hit 95% accuracy, but only got 28% mastery. Why would it do this?

At the end of a song a voice tells you how you did. But it is a bit silly. For example, if you do something really easy it will say “brilliant performance” even though you have not improved your skill. Fine I guess, it was pretty accurate. But when the game makes it harder and your accuracy drops to 70%, even though you might move your mastery of the song up 10% it will still say something far less encouraging like “needs more practice”. Again, true, but you have just got to the higher difficultly, what does it expect?

The lessons are of very little use. They are just too difficult. I cannot do the riffs they introduce – even if it is about something else. For example it might be a hammer-on lesson, but you have to jump around the fret board at the same time. This would be fine except the game is throwing me this stuff in the songs, so I have to go look it up elsewhere.

It cannot tell you what you are doing wrong. Take bends for example. I almost always miss my bends (apparently). But I do not know what I am doing wrong. Too much? Too little? Wrong pattern? Wrong speed? Oddly, on some songs I get “miss” followed immediately by “late” and these only come up after I have finished playing my bend.

The chord book included in game is not much use. Nine times of out ten, I cannot find the chord I am looking for. I am fairly sure it is not in there. Of course there are a huge variety of chords, but it is not difficult to include lots of them. If you can build an entire game, you can stick a few more chord diagrams in there – indeed they must be in the same somewhere.

It crashes from time to time.

The recommended song list is strange. At first, once I played a song it would move down the queue and give me some different recommendations. Then, 45 days in, it started making me play a song twice before it would move it down the list. No indication as to why.

Also the R.E.M. song pack appeared in my list, even though I had not bought it. This could be a commercial feature rather than a bug, but it only appears randomly. One time I turn it on and they are there, the next time they are gone, the next time they are back, etc.

I would totally recommend Rocksmith. It has its problems, but there is nothing else out there like it to compare to so they might be really difficult issues to overcome. Ultimately, it kept me engaged for the whole two months. The hardest part of learning an instrument, indeed some research suggests the only part, is committing the time to learning. Rocksmith managed to get me to do that.



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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 6:50 pm and is filed under Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.