Ubisoft's Rocksmith: The Next Guitar Hero?

Categories: Gaming, SXSW

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Craig Hlavaty
Guitar Hero for purists?
The concept of Ubisoft's upcoming Rocksmith video game is simple enough to explain to someone: Imagine Guitar Hero with a real guitar. And now that Guitar Hero has shuffled off this mortal coil and into cold storage until another generation's irony-hungry hordes pick it up, Rocksmith should pick up the slack.

Last Thursday during SXSW in Austin, I got a sneak peek at Rocksmith when I was invited to a tour bus outfitted with three or four stations set up with the game, before the bus embarked through the city so the rest of the population could try their hand at it.

The game doesn't come out until September, but it's very much in its final stages of development. The version of the game I played may be somewhat different come release.

The concept of Rocksmith is this: You can plug any electric guitar into the Rocksmith hub (which looks like a guitar pedal), put on a headset, and play to your favorite rock-and-roll songs. Instead of colored keys on a tiny, plastic guitar, you have a real guitar experience.

If you're an avid player, you'll do fine with the game. If, like myself, your love for rock and roll is as massive as your musical capability is small, it will carry you kicking and screaming into at least learning one chord. It was fun to finally strap on a guitar and at least play a lick from the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" after almost three decades of playing it on air guitar. It points out your weaknesses and works on them with you.

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Craig Hlavaty
Aboard the Rocksmith tour bus.
The game now comes loaded with the usual set of rock standards, but as it progresses, the makers of the game promise that there will be infinitely more content to download if you wish. Expect to hear tracks from David Bowie, Nirvana, The Stones, Interpol, The Animals and the Black Keys as the game rolls out. It will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation, and PC.

The best thing about Rocksmith is that it finally solves the problem most musical purists had with games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. It puts real music in the hands of the gamer, not just cutesy graphics and colors. The previous music systems merely let you enjoy the ride; Rocksmith makes you shift the gears and turn the wheel.

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Craig Hlavaty


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18 comments
Thebrave littletoaster
Thebrave littletoaster

Meh. You're going to need a teacher to learn proper technique anyways but this is a good way to practice!

exup35
exup35

I will be interested to see if they can get it to work correctlly and as it isnt out yet I will be reserving judgement for when it is - however I will still be ordering my RB3 Squier to go along with my Yamaha Drum Kit which I can already use with RB3 (Yamaha Keyboard is also planned purchase). However the game developers are already working with Gibson to produce a rival to the Squier - Which makes me think that Ubisoft may have given the Guitar Hero guys a job here, as, if I remember - wasnt it a gibson type guitar in guitar hero? ? One thing is still going to be a problem when you really get down to playing fast and hard on a game with a "real" electric guitar, and that is the latency from the strings which vibrate. Which is why the Squier (and I expect the Gibson) have been developed with a fret sensor so the guitar knows where your fingers are, A standard electric guitar doesn't know where your fingers are, it just picks up the vibration from the strings - add this to sound and graphics latency and you may find there are problems - like I said though, will look forward to seeing it - Rock Band needs a competitor or it could get too smug

RalphPmon
RalphPmon

i downloaded Rock Prodigy on my iPad and it's killer. nice song selection too.

MofoMan2000
MofoMan2000

Since you can use any electric guitar, it must be using frequency analysis, while RB Pro uses finger positions on the frets to determine what note is playing. Whether this is better or worse is really up to interpretation. But RB Pro mode teaches you to play songs using the same finger positions as the original artists. This game will let you use chords that sound the same but aren't the same positioning. Again, whether this is good or bad is up to you.

The point is, they aren't the first by any stretch of the imagination, though I have no doubt that they'll be better than PowerGig at least.

Jmfryss
Jmfryss

I can't wait to try it

Admin
Admin

Have you heard of Rock Prodigy? Use any guitar and play songs on you ipad or iPhone.

Buster
Buster

here's the thing tho... with rockband you have to go through all that trouble just to play. with rocksmith you can plug up ANY guitar. im not going to go out and buy a special guitar or modify mine. with this game you can use your own. and this game is gonna b strictly for guitar and none of that stupid button pressing. im excited. gonna learn some new songs :)

Sean
Sean

Rock Band 3 has a real guitar experience, using a modified Fender Squier with fret-sensing technology.

Raynebc
Raynebc

Too bad there's yet another article about Rocksmith where the author doesn't know that people can already use a real electric guitar, real MIDI drums and real synthesizers in Rock Band 3.

Noone
Noone

Have you never heard of Rock Band Pro Mode?

NOT to say this isn't better since I regret blowing $300 dollars on a friggin Squier, but still, something similar has been done already and people are already playing it. Now it's up to Harmonix to include the same kind of frequency analysis in Rock Band and get rid of their proprietary toys.

RalphPmon
RalphPmon

i'm able to use my own guitar with it too

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

Yes, I know that. But this is infinitely better. You haven't even played the thing yet.

User1
User1

On the product description it states Play Rock Band 3 Pro mode using most MIDI-compatible Keyboard and Drums and the Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller. It doesn't state that you can use another guitar other than the Stratocaster. So what guitar are you using?

Raynebc
Raynebc

It is an electric guitar model designed by Fender and it leaves their factory as being functional for use with an amplifier and/or with Rock Band 3. No modification necessary. Since when does real mean "not real"?

Raynebc
Raynebc

I have no doubt that Rocksmith may be a better guitar trainer, but RB3 was meant to be a game instead of a trainer. Since there's no real gameplay footage for us all to see, I doubt Rocksmith will be better as a game. The accuracy tracking in Rocksmith, if there is much of any, is almost 100% guaranteed to be worse than the Squier since polyphony frequency analysis is not as accurate as specialized fretboard hardware and not even as accurate as per-string detection used on divided MIDI pickups. If this title does what it touts to do, I may pick it up for the educational aspect. Until then, time will tell, but the public could do less with articles that skew or ignore the truth.

Raynebc
Raynebc

A Squier. But people have already been able to rig Rock Band 3 to use their own MIDI guitars that are not the Squier. It is easy to see that the author of this article didn't know about RB3 or is actively misleading the readers when he says Rocksmith "finally" solves the rhythm game limitation by letting people play on a real guitar, where Harmonix beat this game to the punch with 3 real instruments (instead of Rocksmith's 1 instrument) with a game released last year.

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

I have played both games, and Rocksmith actually goes a step further than Rock Band in terms of lessons and mastering techniques. It will make sense in September I guess.

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