A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rocksmith is a music game that provides kids with a way to learn how to play guitar. Players can purchase a bundle that comes with a real guitar ($200) or they can hook up their own guitar to the game using a provided cable. The game offers a collection of more than 50 rock songs to play with, along with some mini-games. Some of the music contains suggestive lyrics that talk about sex or drugs; and one mini-game has you playing guitar to shoot zombies (but it's very cartoon-like).
What's it about?
Just when you though the music game craze was over and done with, Ubisoft is back with the first and only game that lets you plug in any real guitar. This is the idea behind ROCKSMITH, an ambitious offering that goes beyond the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Whether you use your own guitar or buy the $200 bundle (which includes a Gibson Epiphone Les Paul Jr. guitar), you'll use the bundled cable to plug your guitar into the video game console's USB port or PC and jam along to popular rock songs from today and yesterday. That is, instead of pressing buttons on a plastic peripheral to trigger a sample, you're really playing notes or chords to rack up points. Rocksmith automatically adjusts to your skill level, so the game gets easier if you're having trouble or more difficult if you are rockin' through the songs. Similar to past music games, colored notes fly across the screen and you must press the correct note at the right time. You can also use a variety of in-game effects or "pedals" to tweak the sound, unlock mini-games that sharpen your skills (such as a racing, action and puzzle games), and indulge in a split-screen multiplayer matches with friends or family.
Is it any good?
Rocksmith is a good music game, for the most part. The ambitious game is ideal for rock fans who want a taste of playing the real instrument instead of pressing buttons on a fake guitar. By supporting existing guitars (or including one in a bundle), the game offers a bigger value proposition as you can apply what you've learned in the game to the real world and use this interactive entertainment experience to hone your skills. As a game, Rocksmith excels, too, with its impressive library of tracks, dynamic skill adjustment, and enjoyable guitar-based mini-games.
There are a few issues such as some lag -- a timing disparity from when you strum the guitar and when you hear the sound -- that might throw some gamers off, so take heed to the instructions in the box. Plus, visually the game isn't so great and there's no support for other instruments (like drums, bass, vocals, or synthesizer). But for guitar fans with a yen for rock n' roll -- be it beginners, professionals, or somewhere in between -- this music game is a sound investment.
Note: all three versions of the game are the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether people still want music games -- even if it lets you play a real guitar. Some gamers might say "been there, done that," while others have been waiting for something like this. Which camp are you in? Do you think this game will take off?
Do you prefer music games or dance games?
For kids who love rock 'n roll games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.