Since I first started music classes in primary school, I have always wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument. Sometimes life gets in the way and you either get bored of what you’re doing or just forget about it completely. I used to own an electric guitar in my teenage years but couldn’t quite master or understand the basics and I lost interest. Now with Rocksmith 2014 at my fingertips, the interest has returned and I’m back on the rock and roll trail.
Learning the Basics
Chords have always troubled me when it comes to learning how to play but within minutes of connecting my electric guitar to my console and slapping the disk into the tray, I was confidently playing basic chords along to R.E.M. and learning about finger placement.
When you first start Rocksmith 2014 you are asked a few simple questions which ultimately help you on your journey. Are you a beginner? Do you use your right or left hand? What guitar do you want to play (lead, bass etc)? The menu system is user-friendly and the variety of modes available help ease you into your musical journey.
Gameplay and Game Mechanics
Lessons mode is still my favourite part of the game and being a complete beginner the videos and demos were easy to follow and extremely useful. The detailed videos teach you everything from the basics such as learning how to hold your guitar correctly, to the more complicated aspects of guitar playing such as pull-ons and pull-offs. These are vital in helping you understand what is needed to play guitar. Additionally, the lessons are also rated out of 100%, so if you have not quite mastered everything the game will tell you so and you can always return to improve at a later date.
Delving straight in to “Learn to Play” will allow you to choose any song you wish and play it as many times as you like. The difficulty starts off at the easiest point, a few notes here and there, nothing too hard. As you replay songs and get higher note streaks, the difficulty will increase and the Master percentage will also increase as you start to become a master at the songs you choose. There’s no rushing involved and the game doesn’t pressure you into raising the difficulty if you’re not quite ready – nobody likes to be rushed into things.
Another great addition is “Riff Repeater”. Here you can set the difficulty and speed for specific sections of the song you wish to grasp. You can use this to practice a hard solo or replay your favourite sections at your own pace. This is a brilliant feature as you can test yourself from the get-go or just go with the flow and let the game do all of the adjustings for you.
Nail That Epic Solo!
The notes and strings onscreen are easy to follow with each string coloured differently. Notes come up the on-screen similar to that of Guitar Hero and Rockband and if you miss a note you will be informed – it’s really that simple. Lag is sometimes present but it hardly affects the gameplay and you may find that you miss particular notes – adjusting the calibration is sometimes a way to sort the issue.
There is a pleasing mixture of songs to get you started and the addition of new DLC track packs is very much welcomed as you can add music to your library that you enjoy and that you want to learn. From The Who to Foo Fighters and R.E.M to Alice Cooper, you’ll know at least a handful of the songs on offer from day one. Unlike Guitar Hero and Rockband, there is little in the background to distract you from your playing as the nature of the game is learning rather than outright gaming – no music videos or flashy scenes.
Also in the mix is “Session Mode” and this is an entirely new mode brought to the 2014 Edition. Here you can play your how you wish, jam a little create your own little band. You can pick which instruments you’d like playing alongside you and as you play your AI bandmates will play alongside. Whether you’re an outright rocker or more a blues type of person, the band will adjust to how you’re playing but be aware they won’t outdo real bandmates.
“Guitarcade” is another new feature, this mode is a section of unique mini-games which will help you play guitar better. The games teach subjects from chords to hand placement and you must strum the correct string to be awarded points. Keep going without making too many mistakes and you’ll be rewarded with a high score. These games, if anything, teach you how to find elements on your guitar using just your fingers instead of your eyes, allowing you to become more confident playing.