After the passage of enough time where the video game market became oversaturated with fake plastic instruments, the trend of pretending to be a rock star by shredding on five buttoned guitars was dying down. Ubisoft decided to take the next evolutionary step and release a game that taught people how to play guitar with Rocksmith. This wasn’t exactly the party game Rock Band and Guitar Hero had the potential to be because guitars with strings are much harder to master than guitars with buttons, but the format was intended to be an educational tool that was more fun and engaging than practicing etudes from a Mel Bay book. The game was given a modern upgrade in 2014 for
next last gen consoles, and after drifting into obscurity and neglect for several years, Rocksmith is back with Rocksmith+.
Rocksmith+ makes some changes to the Rocksmith method of teaching. Unlike the original Rocksmith and Rocksmith 2014, which were games that could be purchased once with extra songs that were available as paid DLC, Rocksmith+ is a subscription-based service. Like the original, players can use the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable on PC or console along with existing guitar interface setups on PC. Additionally, players can also use acoustic guitars or their own electric rig by using the Rocksmith+ Connect app that pairs their mobile device with their PC or console, which acts as a mic and allows the players to use Rocksmith+ without any additional equipment.
Rocksmith+ is compatible with acoustic, electric and bass guitars. The original Rocksmith was only compatible with 4-string basses and 6-string guitars, and there’s no word yet if Rocksmith+ will cater to people who enjoy instruments with more strings (8-string bass guitars are really cool if you haven’t tried them). There will be thousands of songs at launch with plans to increase the library overtime that span multiple genres. One of the more exciting things that was mentioned during Ubisoft Forward 2021 is that Rocksmith+ will include real guitar tablature. Reading guitar tab isn’t a substitute for learning how to read sheet music, but it’s a great tool to get a basic understanding of how to play a song. One of the more bizarre design choices in Rocksmith was they used weird vertical scrolling color coded tab that looked like a hybrid of traditional tab and the Guitar Hero button highway. I suppose it worked since they claim 95% of people who played Rocksmith improved their guitar playing, but I’ve always wondered why they didn’t stick to the traditional transcription style.
Some of the teaching tools that Rocksmith+ will include are Riff Repeater, where players can directly practice specific riffs of their favorite songs, and Adaptive Difficulty which dynamically adjusts to a player’s skill level. From playing previous Rocksmith incarnations, I remember this feature would start off with simplified versions of a song and as the player starts nailing those parts it gradually becomes more complex until it eventually shows the player how to play the actual recorded version of a song. Rocksmith+ will be community driven and allow players to add their own arrangements of songs for peer review. There will also be online videos to teach proper technique, music theory and instrument care.
Rocksmith+ is a subscription-based service that will be available in different price points. There will be a monthly subscription rate of $14.99, a 3-month subscription rate of $39.99 or a 12-month subscription for $99.99. Rocksmith+ will launch for PC this summer. Rocksmith+ will be coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S this fall with Android and iOS versions coming at a later date to be determined. There will be a closed beta prior to launch on PC and interested parties may get more information about that here.