Music games, after having the genre oversaturated largely by far too many Guitar Hero titles being released in far too short of a time period, are dying. Someone apparently forgot to send Ubisoft that memo, because they are currently hard at work on Rocksmith. The kicker, and what makes this game cooler than any music game before: this game works with any guitar (even acoustics, if you slap a plug-in adapter on the body!). Just use the provided adapter to plug your 1/4" plug in your guitar into your USB port and go crazy.
First off, does it work? I had a chance to play it, and that answer is a resounding yes. Each string of the guitar has a specific color, and the notes fly toward you in a style that we've all become accustomed to after countless rhythm games. With difficulty that scales mid-song through upwards of 20-30 different levels, you will receive harder note patterns when you play well, and the game will ease up on your when you're fumbling. The idea is to challenge you as much as they can without frustrating you. It's really cool.
I had to opportunity to try this game out on the lush Ubisoft Rocksmith bus, and reviewer Karl Koepke even recorded me! What a sweetie. Since this was such a new experience for me (nobody has seen anything about the game besides a teaser trailer up to now), they started me out on the easiest song, which just happened to be from one of my favorite bands, the Black Keys. Have a look here (I'll embed it later if I can get it to work!).
You start off each song by checking to make sure your guitar is in tune - not a big deal. But since the game knows that you're playing the right notes based on your pitch, it's pretty important that you have a guitar that'll stay in tune for a whole song. You can manage that, righ? As you can see, it'll definitely take some getting used to, but between the duck shooting mini-game (plus a bunch more!) and an impressive track list of master recordings, it'll be worth the wait.
Our Ubisoft helper went into pricing a bit too, without getting into any real concrete specifics. He told us that you'll be able to buy just the disc if you already have a guitar laying around the house, or that it'll come available with a 3/4-sized, real guitar, for "around" $100. Considering that Rock Band 3's Fender Stratocaster finally hit retail a few weeks ago for a jaw dropping $279.99, that's not too shabby at all. Of course, by the time you reach the top levels of difficulty on Rocksmith, you'll be able to take your show on stage because you'll have learned the actual song. That feature in Rock Band 3... just didn't seem as robust. And Power Gig... sigh. Let's just forget about Power Gig, shall we?
The guys at Ubisoft obviously have a lot of talent and love for the title. Here's hoping that they'll find a market this fall in a gaming environment that's really kind of sick of rhythm games. But honestly, why hasn't this been done yet?!
Here's a list the announced-so-far songs, as well, just to whet your whistle while you wait:
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
Interpol – Slow Hands
Nirvana – In Bloom
The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Best Coast – When I’m With You
Blur – Song 2
The Black Keys – I Got Mine
The Black Keys – Next Girl
The Boxer Rebellion – Step Out Of The Car
Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
The Cribs – We Share The Same Skies
The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry
Jenny O – Well OK Honey
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Nirvana – Breed
Pixies – Where Is My Mind?
Radiohead – High and Dry
Red Fang – Number Thirteen
The Rolling Stones – The Spider and the Fly
Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
Soundgarden - Outshined
Spoon – Me and The Bean
Stone Temple Pilots – Vasoline
Taddy Porter – Mean Bitch
Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union
White Denim – Burnished
The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Yellow Moon Band - Chimney
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun