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?