Rocksmith Finally Actually PC-Bound For Real In October

By Nathan Grayson on September 29th, 2012 at 1:30 pm.


A good rock band always knows just how long to wait before playing an encore. By that logic, Ubisoft’s Rocksmith is a band that goes backstage, gets super drunk, forgets about the show entirely, wanders around in the parking lot, falls into a nearby lake and is presumed dead, and then shows up on Steam a year later. But, if nothing else, Rocksmith comes bearing gifts. Well, conditional gifts. Pre-purchasing will get you two bonus packs and entrance into a nifty beta, but be warned: It’s BYOG (which in this case stands for guitar, and not grognard, as most people would expect).

For those unfamiliar, Rocksmith is a hybrid guitar teacher/Guitar-Hero-ish game that adapt itself to your skill level. It’s not a perfect learning tool, but it definitely aids the process and – in my experience – can give some direction to practices when you’re on your own. Here’s the song list, which can be a pretty make or break proposition with these sorts of things. Mercifully, it’s not simply 50 repeating instances of “Call Me Maybe.”

Now, in addition to demanding that you have an actual guitar in your possession (air guitars, sadly, aren’t compatible), Rocksmith also requires a Real Tone Cable – which retails for $29.99. That’s, um, a lot considering that the base game will already run you $49.99. So probably don’t give this one a second thought unless you’re really committed to getting your money’s worth out of it. That said, Rocksmith’s PC version apparently includes the recent bass expansion – so that’s something. Also, a free demo‘s already yours for the trying – at least, if you already own the required peripheral bits and bobs.

Rocksmith’s an intriguing little tool. No, it won’t – I repeat, absolutely won’t – teach you guitar, but it’s a solidly enjoyable supplement to the process. Rocksmith will finally knee-slide onto PC – its meticulously hair-sprayed mane wobbling in the wind – on October 16. Are you interested? Or, if you’re a Real Guitarist, can you perhaps recommend any better learning tools on PC?

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55 Comments »

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  1. iGark says:

    I am a real guitarist and I still don’t understand this game — the footage I’ve seen makes no sense to me on how you could play that just by watching the screen. I also have no interest in playing dumbed down versions of songs. I don’t see how that’s even remotely helpful for learning guitar, because at the end of the day, you still can’t really play anything, just an abridged version of a song.

    On the other hand if it’s not the abridged version, then you’re just trying to play along with the tablature in real time, which you can easily do without the game and a thirty dollar cable on places like Songsterr, or heck, you could even just memorize the passage you want and play along with the song.

    I don’t understand it.

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      BlackestTea says:

      I pretty much agree with this. I have, admittedly, not played the game (and am unlikely to do so given the price point, though i might try the demo if i can make it work with my recording setup), but it seems that most of the things it aims to “teach” can be gotten for much cheaper or free from tabs and technique guides.
      For those interested in tabs of a wider selection of songs (with excellent replay functions), take a look at tablibrary.com. There is almost everything you’d want archived over there.

      • ttoadish says:

        I’m left handed and have been trying to learn guitar on and off for around 10 years. I’ve tried tab websites before but being left handed I find it hard to reverse the tabs and generally get my head around playing when most online tuition is right handed. Admittedly the best course of action if I was truly serious about learning would be to get some lessons but I’ve never had the time – seeing as I already have a guitar gathering dust and this supports left handed playing I might give it a go.

        • mrwout says:

          Have you tried just playing right handed? I’m left handed and have been playing guitar left handed all my life without any problems.

          • ttoadish says:

            Yes initially I tried right handed. I’m relatively ambidextrous but for guitar I have to hold it left handed otherwise it just feels odd.

            I have to say though being left handed is probably only one of the reasons I can’t play – having no sense of rhythm or coordination also dosen’t help…

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            The tabs should be the same. Don’t just play the guitar upside down, but restring it so that the fat E is on top.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I don’t know anything about this game, but the one thing I was thinking it would help with is beginners who need rhythm practice. Playing along with anything is great, but it can be more fun if it’s karaoke style and you are playing the guitar part instead of playing along with the guitar part.

    • Cruyelo says:

      It’s not abridged version of the songs.

      Here’s why the game is good for beginners : it makes learning the basics and practicing fun. It doesn’t teach you how to be a guitarist, that much is obvious. But for newcomers, playing guitar can be daunting and at the beginnings, not all that entertaining. You want to be playing something fun, but for the most part you’re not ready yet.

      Rocksmith changes that by making you play actual songs and slowly making them harder until you reach the full version of a song. You still learn how to play chords, how to play a few different techniques, and having the real song play in the background while you play is definitely fun. Since the game also increase the challenge as you progress, it forces you to always play a little better than you currently do.

      The game is definitely not gonna turn anyone into a real guitarist or musician as it does lack real lessons, but it’s a nice tool to ADD to actual lessons. It’s a great way for people to practice and make their introduction to guitar a little more smooth.
      It’s also simply fun.

      • boundless08 says:

        ^This!

        I’ve been playing guitar for over 10 years now and I wouldn’t get this now but I would have if I was learning. I understand why people think it’s expensive but a one hour guitar lesson nowadays can range from 30-60 euro. I’m self taught, I learned by playing the songs from bands I liked, and then I progressed to learning scales and theory later when I realised I really wanted to learn more. I think this is a great idea for beginners and I’m even going to get this for my little brother to help him learn.

        On the other hand everything available from this game, and more, is available for free on the internet. Software such as powertab and guitar-pro have plenty more songs, and resources available. But as said above, it’s the package and presentation that makes it worth it.

        And just so we’re clear, Iron Maiden are possibly the worst band in the world!

  2. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Rocksmith also requires a Real Tone Cable

    I doubt it’s any different from other instrument interfaces. Should be just another audio driver.

    So if you’ve already got a USB thingy with 1/4″ inputs, I’d try that first.

    • DandyShlongLegs says:

      I did try this in the demo with my M-Audio Fasttrack and couldn’t get it to detect it. Might be something you can get working with some fiddling but there weren’t any obvious options to enable it.

      • vasek45 says:

        maybe after the release some nice people would extract the audio driver from game files, so those who already own the 1/4=>usb would be happy without their cable.

      • DandyShlongLegs says:

        I’ve had a quick look on the forums and the general consensus seems to be that only the official adapter works. I’m sure someone will hack it eventually but looks like you’ll need that for the time being. Plenty of places selling the game with adapter for about £35 so it’s not too bad.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Yeah if this game requires a specific adapter it should have an optional package with it included. I guess the sites linked are just bundles put together by the retailer?

    • Nick says:

      afaik it uses the cable as DRM like Protools does/did(?) with its Mbox.

    • HalNeinThousand says:

      What is the purpose of the demo then?
      “Wanna try the game before buying? Sure, just buy our peripheral so you can actually play it!”

  3. Ratboy422 says:

    I have been playing for years. I have been in a touring band for years. Want to know the best thing you can get for PC? Its called Guitar Pro http://www.guitar-pro.com/en/index.php. This is not a game. This will teach you any cover you need to learn. But here is the best advice I can give anyone! Do not learn covers. All you are doing is learning someone else style. Think for your self and write your own music. If all you play is bad covers, all you are going to know if bad covers.

    And my own little pet peeve. Mr.Rocker in the photo up there. Is this stock pic from ubi? They wouldn’t just take some image from online!!! But really, if you are going to show off your nice new $60 game, maybe you should show a better guitar. That $600 Epi is a knock off of the real Gibson. Always makes me laugh when someone will spend so much on tats but get “cheep” Gibson.

    • pepper says:

      Epiphones can sound really nice, and they are not knockoffs, thats doing a lot of disservice to the brand.

      I do think Epiphone is doing some brand sponsoring though, there is a link to this game right on the frontpage of their website.

    • Quasar says:

      The Epiphone Les Paul Jr is the guitar that you get with the game, if you buy the full pack. It’s also what they’re using to demonstrate it at Eurogamer. Gave this a go there yesterday, but had a hard time translating colours on screen into actual strings. Once I got my head round that it was enjoyable, but extremely easy to play, even after I got them to ramp up the difficulty.

      My ‘Real Guitarist’ tip would be to use Songsterr – similar in practice, but with a simple web based interface that’ll run through a midi version of a tab at a variety of speeds, for practice purposes.

    • Donjo says:

      Ratboy- there’s nothing wrong with a $600 dollar guitar and pretty much everyone who’s ever played any instrument ever has learned by doing covers. When I started classical guitar lessons it was on a cheap ass steel string! That didn’t matter to me or my tutor though. The first lesson was scales and then one of the simple repertoire songs that EVERYONE learns! Style doesn’t just appear- even if you think you’re doing something wildly original it’s still a mix of other styles.

    • Nick says:

      Epiphone is owned by Gibson and has been since the late 50’s. Their guitars are excellent, often near indistinguishable from full blown Gibsons in terms of tone for the vast majority of people, they just use cheaper woods and electronics and different finish. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them and in the hands of a decent player they will sound superb, though you’ll likely get better sustain from a real Gibson the actual difference in playability and sound is not that pronounced.

      Well, more so with the lowest end of Epis, but they are still fine guitars.

      And all the great guitarist learnt by copying others, its how they put their own spin on their multitude of influences that made them unique.

      And I’d say try and learn at least some parts of songs without using tabs at all, developing your ear will make you a much better player.

    • mazzratazz says:

      As others have said, there’s no way you’re ever going to play your own music without at least copying some of what other people are doing. You can mess around with basic phrases and chords all you want, but even the best players in the world steal ideas from others and learned by copying records. Everyone from Clapton to Hendrix to Tommy Emmanuel.

      You can only ever discover your own voice by reappropriating the voices of others. You always stand on the shoulders of giants.

      The really important factor is how you go about copying them: do you just mindlessly read off of tabs composed by other people, or do you make an effort and figure out what they’re playing for yourself? That’s what will determine how good you’re going to get in the long run.

    • HybridHalo says:

      I’d like to add – If you have an iPhone, TabToolkit is a really awesome little app that I’ve been using to learn songs for a little while without having to be tied to a desktop. It’s also £2.49 which is a wildly lower price than Guitar Pro.

    • Donjo says:

      Phew.. glad others agree with me :) If every aspiring musician had a Ratboy442 advising them to buy the most expensive gear and to magically create their own style, we wouldn’t have any aspiring musicians.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      A local (Finnish) music mag did a comparison review of Stratocasters, including Squiers (Fender’s budget line), Mex-Strats (medium range), USA Fenders (top range), and Japanese imitations, with all the distinguishing characteristics concealed. They had a selection of Strat enthusiasts playing the instruments and giving their opinions.

      The most expensive USA Fenders were the worst overall and the least consistent in quality, and a Japanese knockoff (Tokai, I think) from the bottom end of the price scale ranked top.

      If you pay more than about $400-500 for an electric guitar in this day and age, a substantial proportion of your outlay is going towards pure badge prestige, or possibly gold-plated tuners and ivory inlays.

      • Nick says:

        with us strats it really depends what year they were made, likewise squiers can vary wildly in qualit from guitar to guitar, always pays to try before you buy reguardless, my US strat is noticeably better than my squier, but they both sound good.

    • Ratboy422 says:

      So first I would like to say that I wrote this before I had my coffee. Sorry if I came off as _______ (what ever you want to call me.) My point about the Epi is that if you are going to show some dude with 3k worth of tats, in leather pants, show a real guitar. Epi’s are a great choice for the price. I feel Schecters hold up better on tour but that’s just me and how i play.

      I was not informed that you get an Les Paul Jr with it. At least its not a new Squire, right? Now I have a better understanding of the photo. Still bugs me. So fake.

      Now for all of you going off about learning covers. Im going to state this, believe it or not. I have toured. I have made albums. I have played sold out arena shows (not there to see us, we just opened.) I have done more in 5 years that bands you have heard of did in 20. We failed. We didn’t make it. But I do know a few things about making music. I have seen so many people learn how to play every song a band has. Guess what? Their music sounds like a bad cover of that style. The worst habits I learned was from playing drop D System of A Down songs. Im not going to say to not learn how to play someone else stuff to figure it out. One person said something about learning from that cover, thats a great idea. I just never see it happen. But the best music, hell the best art, comes from you. Not who you learned to play like. Think for your self.

      Also the people defending Epiphone are great! You all made my day. Im sorry that I came off as ripping on epi’s. Even the one shown looks to be the silverburst. My dream guitar is a 1980 Gibson Les Paul Custom Sliverburst. And yes, I know that the 80’s pauls are crap.

      To the people talking about the price point for a 1st guitar. This is something I feel very strongly about. Would you teach your kid how to drive in a 86 pontiac grand am with 3 good tires and shot steering? No, no one would. Then why would you ever start someone playing on a guitar that is just going to hurt? Now am I saying to go get the kid a Bentley for the 1st car? Never. But you do want to start at the $500 price point. The $399+ Epi pauls are great if you can find one that plays well. Again, I love me a Schecter. If you are looking for a flat neck, Jackson’s or Ibenez are good. All start at around $500. I am not a Fender fan so im not going to go off on them. I do think you can do better unless its one of the late 80’s jap squire’s. Best playing cheep guitar I have played. Here is the best advice I can give. Go to the music shop, play everything on the wall regardless of price, buy the one that feels right. Be it a $350 mexi strat or a $750 BC Rich warlock, NJ of course.

      So im sorry for coming off as I did. Getting off work to read these reply’s made my day! I am sorry if I offended anyone one. But this is why I love RPS. You guys rock!

      TL:DR I don’t hate epi’s. Still dont think you should learn covers unless you want to be in a cove band. Sorry if I came off as a dick.

      • Nick says:

        Squier have come a long way in recent years, to the extent that some of their cheap guitars (like the tele custom 2s for example) are absolutely fantastic especially at the price point, I liked the p90 equipped one so much I bought it. Also the Yamaha Pacificas are decent starters. Budget guitars in general have started becoming a whole hell of a lot better as everyone ups their game.

  4. Nick says:

    I would reccomend http://www.justinguitar.com/ to anyone wanting to learn a bit, and be sure to donate if you can afford to, the guy is a great teacher and has a superb selection of lessons that most people should be able to get something from.

    • mazzratazz says:

      I can only heavily endorse this recommendation, Justin’s website is second to none. Bucketloads of almost entirely free lessons, which are actually structured in lesson “packages” (which I found is pretty much essential as a beginner) so you’re learning several comparable-level skills at the same time as opposed to just practicing one thing over and over. His earlier lessons are pretty low video quality, but the tuition’s always great and lately he’s improved his equipment to professional levels. Buy his products and donate to support him, he’s amazing.

      If you’re just starting off, go to his Beginner’s Course and run through it. It’s completely free and has months worth of stuff in it.

      (I’m almost sounding like an advertising drone here, but I’m actually just speaking from the experience of trudging through loads of mediocre online tutoring, until I eventually arrived at his site)

    • RogB says:

      ditto this, i got a guitar a while ago and never got more than a few months into learning it but ran out of ‘recreational time’ so its been on a stand for the last 5 years.
      Decided to try and get back into it now the dark nights are drawing in and looked around for some decent tutorials as im pretty much going back to square one, absolute beginner.
      Justin’s tutorials stood out as being incredibly generous (entirely free), and from what ive seen so far they are very good. I’ll definately be donating or buying some merch to send some cash his way.

    • Soup says:

      Cheers for recommending this! I’m a bassist but I got an acoustic for free a little while back and I’ve been meaning to improve

  5. renatomrcosta says:

    I find myself learning on-and-off the guitar and bass for a few years, and I have a tiny problem with keeping concentrated enough to actually learn the tabs… A friend of mine has this one on the PS3 and playing that version (on a separated save) was actually very good to me, in the sense that the visual cues given by the game let me concentrate well into the actual learning the song. The difficulty takes time to really kick in, but when it finally fits your level, it can be very gratifying

    • Hybrid says:

      If you only have the text tabs to work with, you’re right, it is a bit tough to concentrate. Try getting a tablature editor that you can play the songs from. The notes are highlighted as they play and you can hear the correct speed at which to play things.

  6. Hybrid says:

    For those that want a free alternative to Guitar Pro that can open Guitar Pro files, check out TuxGuitar: http://tuxguitar.herac.com.ar/

    • Kaira- says:

      Should also be available in most Linux distro repositories out of the box and I think it’s also available for Mac. Doesn’t have as good MIDI-sounds as Guitar Pro, but TuxGuitar works well nonetheless.

  7. Tom Walker says:

    Well, it looks like I’m going to be the first person who can play a real guitar and actually likes the idea of this.

    It’s a PC game and I get to control it by playing guitar. What’s not to like?

  8. Senthir says:

    The #1 problem with people learning to play guitar is motivation. You can’t play much when you first start out, and all those cool songs you want to learn sound absolutely awful when it’s just one guitar playing with no rhythm or percussion. If something doesn’t sound cool, you don’t want play it. And if you don’t want to play it, you’re not learning from it.

    The game adds the entire backing ensemble, which goes a very, very long way to making the instrument more fun to play not to mention the fact that it automatically sets up all the amp settings which are intimidating as hell to beginners. As was mentioned in the article, it won’t teach you everything you need to play but what it lacks in teaching it makes up for in motivation which is the killer for any beginner guitarist. Not only that, it adds an extra layer of motivation in giving you scoreboards, progression and mini-games. Yes, there are backing tracks on the internet, but these are usually significantly lower quality than the actual song and it just doesn’t sound right.

    My recommendation? If you want to learn guitar, pick rocksmith up. Go to http://www.justinguitar.com and do exactly what he tells you to, when he tells you to do it. Then after, and only after, you’re done with your practice session turn the game on and I guarantee you’ll have fun.

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      Vesper6 says:

      To fix lag problems, there’s a PDF in the demo directory telling you Windows settings to tweak. Had an obvious effect on my system and lag is now minimal.

    • Snids says:

      Great stuff, thanks.
      Had to awkwardly sidle past quite a few oscillating johnsons to get to a decent, helpful comment though.

      Do you want to join my band? We all play lead guitar. We’re called “The Oscillating Johnsons.”

  9. Lobiency says:

    As an on-again, off-again amateur guitar player of 15 years I had a lot of fun with Rocksmith on my Playstation 3 when it first came out. My biggest complaint? The audio latency. After setting up a separate audio system for my console/television I was able to reduce the latency of when I played vs. what I heard to an acceptable level and for about 3-4 months I played it nearly every day.

    With the demo now on Steam I thought I’d give it a shot on my PC… Maybe it’s my audio card (on-board Realtek), but the latency is terrible – I’d guess somewhere in the 40-50ms range – and I can’t find any way to make it better at an operating system level. I would have considered re-buying it to show my support for the PC version but there’s no way I can put up with that kind of audio delay.

    • Cruyelo says:

      In the Options settings, go to Audio Engine Setting and play with the value a little bit. They don’t recommend reducing it as it can lead to audio issues (sound being crackly and/or jumbled) but I gave it a try and, for me, reducing the number reduced latency without adding any audio issue.

      I don’t know if you’ll get the same result but it’s worth trying, just to see if it helps.

  10. JBantha says:

    Suck to be a men! I havetherequired “peripheral bits” but no bobs. :(

  11. Snids says:

    I have never seen so much willy waving in my entire life. And I, er… well lets just say I’ve seen some things.

    How do you know if an internet commenter on a popular UK gaming blog plays guitar? Don’t worry they’ll tell you!

    That aside, I own a guitar and had been furtively groping it for around 10 years and have never progressed beyond powerchords due to lazyness. I’m looking forward to this and I’ll probably pick it up as it might actually motivate me into sitting down and practicing. I also like the convenience of just plugging in via USB rather than me having to amp up with headphones.

    That tracklisting doesn’t look too bad either really. Could be a lot worse although it’s a shame that [POPULAR ROCK ACT] isn’t featured or there aren’t more [SLIGHTLY NICHE SUBGENRE] tracks that I’m into more because I’m cooler than you and I’m too passive aggressive to come out and declare it outright.

    • Nick says:

      I don’t think its entirely fair to complain about people mentioning they play guitar in a comment thread about Rocksmith is it?

  12. Wara says:

    So does anyone know if the Version that comes with the Guitar will be activateable on Steam? I can’t seem to find any information about it. :/

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Yes. The demo is already on Steam and you can pre-purchase, too.

  13. spacedyemeerkat says:

    Bought this on the 360 on Friday.

    Today, my fingertips are hurting badly.

    I disagree with Grayson’s assertion that it “won’t teach you the guitar”. It will, to a degree. And you’ll have great fun while doing it, too.

    Rock Band Pro guitar made all sorts of strides but this takes it a step further, like not being penalised, for example, for missing notes other than missing out on some points. And the in-song scalable difficulty is just marvellous.

    I didn’t expect to enjoy the game so much as an on/off (very) amateur guitarist, that’s for sure. It’s really inspired me to pick up my guitar again and that’s a great thing indeed.

    I’ll pick up the PC edition, too, I think.

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    Chaz says:

    Guitars not really my thing, is there one that teaches the piano?

  15. Screamer says:

    Rocktober!! ……FACE :D

  16. sdancer says:

    Has there been any word on DLC availability and pricing? TBH I find the list of “core” songs a bit… disgusting, and looking at Ubi’s track record for the PC, I’m a bit afraid they might pull the “OMG PIRACY” card and drag out making the old stuff available or even releasing new songs.