Should You Buy Rocksmith? No.

Should You Buy Rocksmith? No.

Today marks the release of Ubisoft’s Rocksmith, a music game that may seem a bit on the late end of the Great Music Game Craze of 2009. All the same, it comes with a tantalising promise: it allows players to plug a real guitar into their game console via a 1/4 inch-to-USB cable and play real notes along with the game.

This is an important step away from the plastic instruments of Rock Band — even the Fender “pro guitar” that was sold with Rock Band 3 used a MIDI output and not an analogue output. The ability to plug one’s own guitar into a PS3 or 360 to learn songs sounds pretty cool. But what do our guts say? It’s Gut Check time!

Brian Crecente, occasional guitar plunker and all-around terrible musician: The notion of learning to play a guitar by playing a game is always wonderfully appealing to me. It was with Power Gig and with Rock Band’s last title. And in many ways Rocksmith comes closer than any of the three to delivering on that promise. But ultimately what you have in Rocksmith isn’t a game, it’s an instructor, an instructor with a peculiar way of teaching that may get you to play songs, but still not understand what you’re really doing. If you’re looking for something that will mechanically run you through the progressive skills it takes to learn to play something like Nirvana’s In Bloom, then get this. But if you want a game give Rocksmith a pass. No.

Brian Ashcraft, skeptic: No way. If you are asking whether or not you should get Rocksmith, then definitely don’t. This is an extremely niche title, that could leave you with a large, pricey peripheral you never use. Rocksmith is for a special type of gamer. If you’re not sure if that’s pertains to you, then, dear god, do not get this.No.

Owen Good, Who Certainly Has Some Rock Star Facial Hair: Rocksmith does look interesting and certainly is a novel piece of software. But my gut says no because of its tight niche appeal and its need for one hellaciously expensive piece of hardware. Further, I could see casually interested musicians, with a guitar gathering dust, buying into the snake oil that this really will teach them to play guitar. That’s a claim that’s been sold in the back of comic books for decades, and it’s one of which I am always sceptical. No.

Kirk Hamilton, Multi-Instrumentalist and Music-Game Liker: OK, so. We’re getting a lot of “No”s across the board here, and as a result I’m going to give Rocksmith a “yes.” But it’s only a symbolic “yes”, because this game does a lot of things very right, and I want to reward that. It manages to do what Guitar Hero and even Rock Band only hinted at — take real-world musical instruction and apply it to a video game setting. It’s well-made, and it works… except for lag, which bugged the crap out of me but which I eventually got around.

Rocksmith is just so niche… I mean, this game is only a “yes” if you want a real guitar game that will teach you to play the instrument in the context of a Rock Band-like setting. I already felt a little weird about giving Dance Central 2 a yes for similar reasons, but at least anyone can play that game. Rocksmith is just so niche. It does what it does well, but only a very few people are going to really want that. So, it is with the realisation of the majority opinion that I raise my pick to the sky and say Yes.

And so we wind up with a “No” for a game that isn’t poorly made, it’s just a bit too late and a bit to niche. That said, if you’re a guitarist with a game console who wants a game to teach him some new metal songs, go forth and Rocksmith!


  • I have issues with reviews like this. It’s so, so, so much simpler than you make it out to be.

    NO: If you are looking for the next great guitar based game

    YES: If you are looking for the next great game based guitar tool

    It’s an amazing tool to learn and practice with and learn a couple of new songs. it really is the rosetta stone of guitar games. Not explicitly MEANT to be a game, but rather a learning tool wrapped in the guise of a game to eliminate some of the tedium of practice.

  • “If you are asking whether or not you should get Rocksmith, then definitely don’t. This is an extremely niche title, that could leave you with a large, pricey peripheral you never use.” God you’re stupid. Why the hell would I invest in this game if I dont fall into the niche. Thats a terrible excuse to bash the game

  • “that could leave you with a large, pricey peripheral you never use” – the game doesn’t have any large pricey peripherals, that’s the point. when you say something like that you expose the fact you know absolutely nothing about the game and that your opinion is baseless. unless you call the guitar that you already own a “peripheral”, or you think the converter cable is large and pricey.

  • I can’t say that I’m a fan of these “Should You Buy” segments. I think the idea of having 4 people give their own mini review and opinion is great, but then to stamp it at the end with a majority YES or NO seems a bit unfair.

    Everyone has a different opinion, and everyone want’s different things from their gaming experience, so if the focus on these articles could be to present those different opinions and then cover the range of impressions rather than just diluting them down to a simple YES or NO, then I think readers would find them a lot more interesting and definitely more valuable.

    I know it’s not meant to be a super serious game review, yet I do see some merit in the general idea of this article format. I just think the final black and white conclusion is representing a lot of what’s wrong with game reviews at the moment.

    I don’t know if you US guys read to AU comments, but if this piece of advice somehow makes it through to your eyeballs at some point then I’d hope it is considered seriously as constructive critisism.

  • If this game supported V-Drums, I’d be all over it, as I already have a TD9 kit. Sadly it’s guitar only, so no go for me.

  • Ugh really not a fan of this type of anaylis. So is the game actually function? Does it work well? If it does then isn’t that somewhat impressive? If you want to learn music, get a music teacher. If you want to plink along to some of your favourite songs, then maybe this game will of interest to you.

    If the criticisms had suggested the game was unplayable or the tech didn’t work then that’s all good, but just because it doesn’t have wide-spread appeal? Balderdash I say!

    • It’s pissing the hell out of me too. Apparently the EU version of the game got delayed and now PS3 version doesn’t support pal, but what the hell does that have to do with Australia?

      • i asked at JB hifi this morning, the guy i talked to basically said it all depends on licencing issues for the music plus production of the hardware (1/4″ to usb lead)and how quickly those issues can be resolved. best guess and if all things go according to plan X-mas at the earliest.

  • Ignore the crap about PAL – PAL is 576p, NTSC is 480p, Rocksmith US version doesn’t support 576p only 480p (Wii resolution)

    Who the hell plays at those low rez anyway?!!
    If you’re running 720p or 1080p there is no TV standard applicable, its basically the same as connecting a pc to your tv, ie 1080p is 1080p no matter where in the world you are

    To get around the DLC issue, sign up for a US PSN account and use that for Rocksmith

  • It’s available from amazon US and says they will deliver to Australia. Foresee any issues with purchasing the US version? Can’t believe reviewers here said no, I’ve been waiting 5 years for this.

  • i agree with timothy, this wasnt a review it was a couple of opinion of clear ‘GAMERS’. People who are going to be buying this game obviosuly play games but CLEARLY are not buying it for gaming purposes but to learn and have fun and have goals at the same time. An insentive to learn. THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. I also spoke to a guy at EB and hes said PS3 is the first universal console, so it doesnt matter where the game is from u can play it. Im buying it from overseas thankyou very much :D.

  • I think they are being a bit harsh … I played guitar for a few years and let it go and tried rocksmith …. the mini games aren’t bad and it does push you …. for a person trying to learn I think it would supplement traditional lessons as part of the boredom can be getting you’re body and mind to work together and rocksmith does help with that.

  • Just stumbled across this. It was a terrible way to label Rocksmith. If you want to learn the guitar without spending thousands on lessons you’ll buy Rocksmith. It is not a game that you throw into the pile with COD, Forza and whatever else you play.

    This is not a game. This is a serious tool for learning how to play the guitar and the last 3 years of it being on the market has been absolutely incredible. This gut feeling thing is terrible.

    If you want to learn the guitar you have to buy a guitar. Do not discredit RS because you have to invest some money into it. Some people want to become lawyers. They have to invest thousands into education. Some people want to be race car drivers; they have to spend $80,000 building a car. What’s the difference? You can pick up a starter guitar for $100-$200. I got my first for like $50 with an amp. If you don’t want to learn the guitar it isn’t for you.

    If you want to learn the guitar and are serious then Rocksmith is ABSOLUTELY for you. I’ve used it for 18 months and I’ve memorised a bunch of songs, scales, notes, chords, etc. I got my money out of it.

  • Brian Ashcraft – may I ask which large peripheral you refer to? Do you mean the game disc? If so, you can trade it in if you dont enjoy the experience. If you mean the guitar, you’re a sceptical idiot! The whole idea is that you can plug your own axe into the PS3. Or do you mean the cable…… trade it with the game.

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