Not perfect, but a fun music game played with a real guitar.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game has positive messages because it encourages music appreciation, education, and practice. In fact, a real guitar can be used, which means players can learn new skills that apply outside of the game world.

Positive role models

There is no main character in the game, but you are performing in front of a virtual crowd, playing guitar along with famous rock songs from the past few decades.

Ease of play

The game uses a real guitar, so the more comfortable you are playing the instrument, the easier the game will be; but it is tougher than simply pressing colored buttons on a plastic (fake) guitar. The game will get easier if you have trouble, though, and harder if you're more advanced. Mini-games help you tweak your skills. There is no paper manual -- only an in-game one.


One of the mini-games has you shoot cartoon-like zombies with a large gun.


Some songs have suggestive lyrics, such as "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie ("Hot tramp, I love you so"), "Icky Thump" by The White Stripes ("Well you can't be a pimp and a prostitute too"), and "Slither" by Velvet Revolver ("Rape my mind...").


Some songs have words like "bitch," "hell," and damn."


Ubisoft has licensed music-related brands for this game, including Gibson and all the 50 artists signed up to include their music in this game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few songs have references to drugs or drinking, including The Animal's "House of the Rising Sun" (about a brothel), and Stone Temple Pilots' "Between the Lines."

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Price:$79.99 ($199.99 for guitar bundle)
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Release date:October 18, 2011
Genre:Music and Dance
ESRB rating:T for Lyrics, Mild Cartoon Violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written bygrgcombs January 9, 2012

Don't underestimate the educational value.

Highly educational ... This is what Rock Band and Guitar Hero should've done from the beginning ... rather than have kids invest in $100 plastic guitars that are only usable while sitting in front of the TV, this turns musical games on their head. It helps you learn to play so that you can break away from the game and noodle away on a real instrument.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written byCainsaw June 24, 2012


It is awesome
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byDinostomper December 15, 2013

Educational game that will give them a fun way to learn music.

This is a very good game. It come with one guitar of VERY good quality and teaches all the good old fashion rock and roll. There is only one bad song with the use of the word "b!tch". So as long as you don't play that song the game is harmless and has an arcade feature too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing


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