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Going hands-on with Rocksmith 2014

There is no easy way to learn to play any instrument. It takes a lot of self-motivation and the proper tools. Part of it is knowing how to actually use and play your instrument, while the other half is being proficient at it. A few years ago, Harmonix created Guitar Hero, a game that mimicked guitar while adding in increased difficulty. That game was accessible to anyone, but did not actually teach how to play the guitar or bass. Ubisoft went a different direction by providing a game that was a tool. The original Rocksmith allowed players to plug in any guitar (and later bass) and actually learn the fundamentals of the instruments. For those already familiar, musicians could master songs with the necessary tutelage.

Ubisoft is now ready to release Rocksmith 2014. Having been hands-on with a preview build for the past week, the game looks to provide enough tools and tutorials to make anyone a rock star. Unless you already fit in that category, Rocksmith is no pick-up-and-play title. This is no Guitar Hero or Rock Band, this is the real thing. Dedication is required, and frustration will be a major result, as in learning any instrument. If you're prepared to put in the time, Rocksmith 2014 will have everything to offer to help you on your journey.

The Guitarcade brings mini-games to help practice the fundamentals. The mode should help prospering rock stars work on lots of exercises while keeping them entertained..The mode uses a different array of vintage arcade games to help hone your skills at your instruments. Exercises for chords, slides, bends, frets can be entertaining now thanks to these games. A game for volume control called "Gone Wailin'!" takes you on an old school, side-scrolling adventure as a surfer. The object is to avoid obstacles as this is done by measuring the volume of the guitar. A wave will either raise or lower the surfer. Another game, "Ducks Redux", works on fretting and string location. The idea is to shoot the ducks in the correct fret and on the correct string as this changes around. Of course, your high scores are recorded and can be put on the internet leaderboards for all to see.

Rocksmith 2014 has tons of tutorial videos. These videos also feature exercises, and each course progresses over time to introduce more difficulty. There's even courses simply on strapping your guitar or re-stringing instruments. It seriously does offer the full monty of tools needed to learn how to play.

The most important part of the game besides learning how to play is learning what to play. With a wider variety of songs for this go-around, Rocksmith 2014 incrementally makes you master the song. It starts with fret location, strings, and speed. The game builds confidence ever-so-slightly to help master the song. It will also auto-generate the top 3 things you should achieve once selecting the song. Of course, to test your confidence, you are offered a score attack mode. This is much like Guitar Hero and Rock Band where you actually play the song, and will get three strikes before failing.

Other tools that help with learning the songs consist of a riff repeater, which allows adjustment of speeds and different sections of the song. While learning the song, it's not possible to strike out, so it allows for a play-through without fear of failure. The riff repeater is key to learning the tight parts of songs, especially solos. Practice makes perfect, and there certainly will be the key in Rocksmith 2014.

Rocksmith 2014 also will include a live Session Mode. This allows for playing with an automated band. The AI musicians will follow your lead in time during songs. These songs can be saved. On top of this, a Nonstop Play mode is available to create a set list and play for whatever amount of time you set your show to be. A Tone Designer mode exists where effects can be customized to create a special sound. These are all immediate options for veterans of the original version and musicians, alike. Not to mention, multiplayer will be available with the use of two adapter cables.

Tuning has been minimized and streamlined to allow faster access to getting to the songs. The game recognizes the audio to see if the guitar is in-tune. What’s more important is that this will teach how notes will sound, and that’s very important when playing a bass or guitar. Hearing notes is an attribute that’s picked up with practice, and tuning helps with this. The game also lets you play notes whenever you want. Depending on your television, lag could be an issue, but this can be adjusted. There is a suggested setup which involves attaching audio cables directly to your audio source to help eliminate this possible issue.

Recently, the majority of the new set list was announced. This list can be viewed here. Along with our hands-on preview today, Ubisoft has announced ten more songs that will be available at release of Rocksmith 2014. The DLC can still be used from the previous version. So there’s an amazing library of content available, overall. The latest ten songs are listed below.

Minus The Bear – Cold Company
Gold Motel – Brand New Kind Of Blue
Ratt – Round And Round
Deftones – My Own Summer [Shove It]
Green Day – X-Kid
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me (2012)
Rush – The Spirit Of Radio
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Mary Jane's Last Dance
Queen – We Are The Champions
Tak Matsumoto - GO FURTHER

Rocksmith 2014 will be available on October 22 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. If you pre-order now, you will receive the song Cherub Rock from the Smashing Pumpkins. Check out the official Rocksmith website here.

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