Published on December 30th, 2023 | by Edwin Millheim
Rocksmith+ a year later
Summary: Rocksmith + has made some strides since its inception a year and a half ago. Song choices are painfully slow to come around to what original fans expect or want. But thankfully things are starting to improve. The Music is not dead yet.
Pay to play, not so bad.
Rocksmith+ by Ubisoft, is the reimagined version of the original Rocksmith (Rocksmith 2014 remastered). The original was perhaps one of the, if not THE definitive game/learning tool for Guitar and Bass.
While the original was a purchased product with add-ons and DLC to purchase individually, the new Rocksmith+, is an online subscription service. So of course, right out of the gate fans of the original took issue with the whole subscription services as opposed to making a purchase and off you go it’s yours (more or less). The promise from a subscription service format though was the idea that you pay this price per year or per month and you have access to all of the thousands of songs with a hint of promise for more to come. Though the veiled promise was never for popular songs, so many got revved up for in the original Rocksmith.
Now a little over a year later and the service has made efforts to go forward and tweak the title to be more fun and usable for players. Rocksmith+ has also made some movement forward with adding Piano to the list of instruments you can learn. So now one can learn Guitar, Bass Guitar and Piano. You just have to wonder when and if the Rocksmith+ team has Electronic Drums in its future. It would make some sense and drums has been something more than a few fans on message boards have asked about. Will this happen? Your guess is as good as mine. For now, we have Piano added.
The section for Piano is rather well done and more fun to use than one would think. Hooking up a midi piano keyboard is all it takes. The note highway is easy enough to follow and the sections for learning about the keys on the instrument are off in the right direction. Rocksmith+ does a rather good job at the teaching aspects of the title. All in all, Rocksmith+ offers an excellent blend of gameplay and learning.
The fans speak out of course over anything Rocksmith+ team posts. The message boards lit up with both hope and some glimmers of excitement. Yes, there is a good fan base that is still rooting for Rocksmith+. There are also of course negative comments galore, some with good points and honest concerns.
There are sticking points for some players. Because of this, if anyone had the least glimmer of positive hope for Rocksmith+, often over passionate players who seem to have a pessimistic outlook for the game would shower comments with negativity. While it is understandable that many are upset about the song selection alone. All the negative comments without suggestions are counterproductive.
Now it is a pay for subscription-based learning tool. It is the way it went it is what we have now, and it is not entirely a bad thing. The big perk here? Subscribers have access to ALL the songs. (Even with a lack luster selection, which is very slowly improving.)
For those that have been on the fence about the service, let me refresh what it is all about.
Rocksmith+ is a subscription-based service that helps you learn how to play Guitar, Bass Guitar and now also Piano in an arguably fun and interactive way.
You can use your own instrument and connect it to your phone, tablet, or PC, and Rocksmith+ gives real-time feedback and guidance as you play along with songs. You can also access a variety of learning tools, such as adaptive difficulty, practice mode, and video lessons. Those trying to get the Rocksmith cable which seems to be the most reliable way to connect guitar and Bass with, find it hard to find and when they do…not cheap. While the team has improved on latency, there is still minor latency to contend with. The most reliable experience is with headphones. using headphones, I have had no latency issues at all.
While Rocksmith+ is a teaching tool aimed mostly for beginners. It is actually a tool that has merit for even the more experienced person that already plays instruments. That whole learning a new song thing comes in handy with Rocksmith+ and it does help you improve and have a bit of fun while you’re at it.
But it is not perfect. I for one was more than a bit disappointed that it took six months to over a year before updates improved what it had to offer. One of the major things that Rocksmith+ has updated was the difficulty scale for the way you play songs. So many of the songs only came with Chord notes and nothing more so you could strum along. But if you are not that great about chord changes this was more than useless and frustrating. After all, if I wanted to have something that only shored chord, there are more than a few free online sites that have chord charts.
The team is of course working behind the scenes on so many other improvements over the past year. It is a good thing that they are supporting this title. Making Rocksmith+ much more playable and friendly to a wider range of different user/player types.
Thankfully someone had the presence of mind in a more than a year later update to have the chord play throughs on songs be scalable so you can play just the power chords in a song. This made this section easier for beginners. This upped Rocksmith+s game and playability in my opinion. Being able to play through on power chords gives you the tools to progress to full chord notes at your pace. Therefore, a player may be more willing to try out more of the songs on offer. (Because more than a good majority of songs on offer only had chord charts for the longest time as the only option to play. No note for note.)
So yes, the inclusion of power chords on most of the songs is a welcome addition indeed.
So, things have improved greatly in how you play songs and learn. Adding Piano enhances the value of getting Rocksmith+, even with the less than stellar song selections.
Song selection being the number one issue folks have with this new Rocksmith+. The song selection is massive right out of the gate, but it is a glut of songs and albums that you would find in the bottom racks of second-hand stores.
The song selection while massive, is in fact limited and lacks big-name artists. Unlike Rocksmith’s proud and impressive past history like Rocksmith 2014 remastered. In Rocksmith+ as of this writing, you are not going to find anything by The Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, The Rolling Stones, Styx, The Monkees, Nirvana, Def Leppard, the list goes on and on in what you’re not going to find, that you could find in the original Rocksmith 2014 Remastered. Rocksmith+ instead seems to go for a bloated, inconsistent list of songs and albums. Leaving old school loyal players of the original feeling betrayed and left out.
Granted a walk around the song selection does give you a chance to try out a huge number of song types and styles you would not normally try (All in for one price I might add), but so, so many players miss and would love the stellar song selections and Band selections that made the original such a blast to play.
The developers have been slowly adding songs, though the choices have been questionable. It just seems that they are going for huge quantity rather than quality or more on the nose more lacking anything popular. I mean not to knock anyone badly, but who really asked for the four and a quarter page of the children’s show The Wiggles?
While Rocksmith+ has some negatives seething at the forefront of it all, there are plenty of positives that lean towards giving Rocksmith+ a chance.
The learning tools and videos make it a good choice for your learning needs. Adaptive difficulty, practice mode, video lessons, and mobile app all pour on the positives.
You can try it for free for 30 days and see if it suits your learning style and preferences. OH, and yes, you can flip the guitar or Bass around if you are a left-hand player. So excellent all around.
Now for something new and fun. Piano, yes, they added Piano as noted. (No pun intended.)
Adding piano support, which allows you to use your own keyboard or MIDI controller and get real-time feedback and guidance as you play along with songs. Good choice and a surprise. (Hoping for electronic drums next.)
Expanding the song library, which now includes over 10,000 songs from various genres, artists, and eras. You will find something in all that you may like. But even with such a huge selection the song library is still a heavy sticking point. Now on the flip side of that, explore a little. If you are used to one type of music, take a walk on the outside of your comfort zone side. You may well be surprised on what you learn. Try some of those jazz songs. Some of the notes and progressions will surprise you in a good way.
Enhancing the learning tools, such as adding new video lessons, improving the practice mode, and introducing the chord book, which helps you learn and master chords. Lots of steps forward from the Rocksmith+ team.
They do a stellar job of introducing new concepts to players on how to play their chosen instrument. The videos and lessons in Rocksmith+ just do a better job at connecting lessons together. Going from one concept to the logical next concept in order to enhance the learning experience.
The chord book in Rocksmith+ is a good plus. It’s an excellent learning tool that helps you learn and master chords on the instrument. You can access it from the tool’s menu in the game. The chord book shows you how to play various chords, such as major, minor, power, and barre chords, on the fretboard. You can also hear how they sound and practice them with a metronome. The chord book is a solid part of Rocksmith+.
The team continues working on optimizing performance of the software, which reduces the latency, improves the audio quality, and fixes some bugs and glitches. It seems that the team thankfully continue to work on tweaks for Rocksmith+. So, support is there, let’s see what they have in store for improvement during this new year. Maybe even better song selections? (The full value of a subscription base would improve with a better song selection.)
Being in that crowd of original advocates for the Rocksmith brand, I still have high hopes for the future of Rocksmith+. All though it being a year and few months later since release and it still has not seemed to address the seeming main concern players have, the song selection … this shakes confidence in the brand. I see them keeping up support and moving forward with what plans they have. I have hope for the following year and will continue the annual subscription I have. Don’t let us down Rocksmith+ team. Bring on some of those artists and songs so many of the fans crave.
Rocksmith+ has a lot going for it, try it out for a month to see if it’s for you, it may just surprise you.
Have fun, play games.