For a period of time, it seemed the entire industry was enamored with Guitar Hero and Rock Band. But, spend a few years jamming on a plastic guitar, and it's only a matter of time before you crave the real-deal. Ubisoft's Rocksmith was the first guitar-based game to take the music/rhythm genre to its inevitable conclusion by allowing players to use real world instruments. It's part game, and part educational tool, that eases players into learning new songs with incremental increases in difficulty based on their performance.
For musicians in training, Rocksmith is a great tool, and even seasoned musicians were able to get a lot out of it. That said, there was room for it to grow into something bigger and better. In steps Rocksmith 2014. Using the original as a foundation, Ubisoft's packed in a handful of new features and tracks into Rocksmith 2014 that make it a much more attractive package overall.
Bass Guitar Support
About a year after the original Rocksmith shipped, Ubisoft followed it up with a $30 add-on for bass guitar support. With that on the market, it's a relief to see that it's made the cut for Rocksmith 2014. The best part: you don't actually need a bass guitar. Like the original DLC release, Rocksmith 2014 allows you to emulate a bass guitar through the first four strings of a regular guitar in lieu of the real thing.
One of the best tools within Rocksmith is Riff Repeater, which has undergone a significant facelift for the 2014 edition. Riff repeater allows you to isolate a portion of a song to practice, but now, you have the ability to scale difficulty, speed, and a handful of other options to create a learning environment that works for you.
New Guitarcade Games
Rocksmith 2014 features a total of 11 new Guitarcade games to explore. These informal but effective learning tools often emphasizing a particular skill and funnel it through a quirky mini-game. One of the more inventive examples is Scale Racers: a racing game that teaches you the finer points of scale mastery while you're on the run from the cops.
Ubisoft just announced a handful of new songs for Rocksmith 2014, which is to be expected, but the best news for previous Rocksmith owners is the integrated support for old DLC. In addition to vanilla support, all original Rocksmith songs will be upgraded with new features for 2014. Better yet, players who already own the propriety Rocksmith USB cable can use it with Rocksmith 2014 and forego the need to purchase another game and cable bundle.
The best way to look at Rocksmith 2014 is as a replacement for the original game. The new songs, improved functionality, and robust educational modes trump the original in almost every way. Budding guitar players and advanced musicians alike should keep an eye out for Rocksmith 2014 when it launches on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on October 22, 2013.