June 27, 2012

An Interlude with Rocksmith

Having spent a little more time with the guitar education game Rocksmith over the past few days, there are more shortcomings I would love to see addressed, but sadly they likely will never even be looked at.


Fingerings would be VERY nice. I would love to see the recommended fingering for every individual note during practice. Thinking along the lines of tablature instead of “real music,” there are certain patterns played more easily with certain fingerings, leaving fingers anchored down or even barring a fret. It would be incredibly easy to assign either a “1,2,3,4” number to each note, or even go to “p,i,m,a” for any songs that would require it, though I don’t believe the game has any songs to be played with finger picking, as the game seems to be called “rock” smith. Regardless, it does have suggested fingerings hinted at with a four fret area highlighted blue where they think your fingers should lie, but it’s very underwhelming and doesn’t really help with playing many phrases, especially those involving slides or just a wide stretch larger than four frets. Sweeps would particularly benefit from this addition, something becoming more and more apparent the longer I work on songs from Megadeth and Judas Priest. Sadly, as mentioned before, it’s unlikely this “issue” is something they would address, even in the event of a Rocksmith 2.


Another downside is again the ability to select amount of notes and speed played at at the same time. I just got done attempting to get one of the solos down from Hanger 18 at full notes, but low speed. When you pick the speed leveling trainer it does an initial run that freezes on any note you miss, picking a speed for you to start out at when you’re finally done with that check. After butchering over twice as many notes as I had before cranking the section up to 100%, the game decided to set me at 60% speed, something frustratingly above what I was expecting. Adding insult to injury, I was unable to manually adjust the speed, only the actual mastery of the section. After a few attempts I simply gave up as I wasn’t able to slow it down any further which is what I had set out to do.


Meanwhile, I played a bit of Icky Thump this evening and have a very high mastery on it, most of the riffs well over 90%. Rocksmith taught me that song fairly well, and I actually know Judas Priest’s Breakin’ the Law almost by heart now thanks to it. That said, there’s only so far it can go without being refined and adding in the ability to break things down as I’ve mentioned previously. When attempting Priest’s Painkiller or Megadeth’s Hanger 18, I feel I would be better off going and buying a book or finding the songs online so I can look at the riffs and practice them note by note over and over, finally combining them into measures and phrases. Despite breaking things like solos and verses into sections, Rocksmith doesn’t break them down enough for more difficult passages, leaving me unable to practice JUST the snippet I want to, instead running through an entire part of a solo just to run six eighth notes. This also adds to the frustration and moderately nullifies the point of the game if I’m considering turning it off and finding a written transcription of the piece.


Still, I’m enjoying my time with Rocksmith and there’s a lot more songs to take a look at, as well as improving the ones I’ve already seen. More than likely there will be more on this game in the future.

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