I've played a LOT over the past year - 212 hours according to my XBox Live tracker. But, unlike other games, even though I've reached the highest level, there's no end in sight. I've still got many arrangements that I've never played. So, I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of Rocksmith!
|10||15,173,690||Super Elite Guitarist||10/28/2012|
|7||5,120,927||International Supt Act||9/28/2012|
|5||2,744,191||Nat'l Support Act||9/27/2012|
|3||1,079,647||Local Support Act||9/26/2012|
Plenty of Game Left to PlayThe fact that I've reached Level 11 is sort of meaningless. In fact, now I've just got this huge blank progress bar up at the top of my screen where I used to have some orange! I've barely touched the Guitarcade games. And, there's still a ton of DLC (new songs) that I haven't downloaded yet, with more coming out weekly now. Plus, I still have one secret squirrel song to unlock. I've got all of the Technique Challenges to Gold and all over 95k, but a few of them are still shy of being maxed out.
I've still got 9 more guitars to get, so at least nine more events left just to collect all 48 in-game guitars. I've never played a master event, either, so that's something else to work toward eventually. I could probably spend another year mastering the songs in my current library - especially the songs with solos. And, at last count, I've still got 21 guitar tones and 34 bass tones left to unlock! (I haven't quite figured out if any DLC songs include new tones or not.) Even though I've reached the highest level, there's still plenty of "game" left.
The original Rocksmith software came with 51 songs. No bass. I bought the bass add-on for about $30 last Fall and I've still got a long ways to go before I reach Level 11 on my separate bass journey. Since its release in 2011, the developers have released another 117 songs for download, including 3 free Christmas songs in 2011. I've downloaded 45 of them (including the 3 freebies). There are about 30 more songs I'd like to get, and Ubisoft seems to have stepped up their DLC releases to every week this year. So, it looks like there will be plenty of Rocksmith to keep me busy for at least another year. Probably longer.
Then there's the multiplayer feature. . . That probably won't get old for a long, long time. I just wish I could figure out how the singing part works. I bought a USB mic but I can't seem to get that going.
The Restarted JourneyRight around September of 2012, right after I reached Super Elite Guitarist (Level 10) for the first time, I lost all my game save data, ironically while attempting to back up my game save data. So, I had to restart my entire Rocksmith Journey from Amateur (Level 1). On my first journey attempt, I never played an event until I got all the songs on my setlist up to 70,000 points or higher. When I restarted my journey, I just played events as soon as I met the minimum qualifying score for the songs.
Concentrating on events instead of perfecting each song made things move along faster and was a lot less stressful. That's why it only took a few months to get back to where I was. Of course, when I restarted I had already played the songs before and had already worked most of them up to at least 70,000 points. Some of them were obviously much easier to qualify for events the second time around. But, some were just as hard the second time as they were the first time. Solos still kick my ass. Especially Solo 2 from Carol of the Bells.
I back up my game data and DLC every so often now. Both to the cloud and to a flash drive.
I passed on the PC version of Rocksmith because I had already paid for a fair number of DLC songs and they don't transfer from platform to platform. I test-drove the PC demo and it seemed to work pretty well, but I'm sticking with my XBox. So far, so good. Occasionally it'll get a little glitchy during a song, but I can live with it.
A Couple of Complaints
Navigation DesignAfter a year of playing, my biggest gripe with Rocksmith is that there's no way to go directly from rehearsing a song to working on specific hard spots in Riff Repeater. To me, this path would be a no-brainer. But, the software makes you go back to the main menu, pick "Songs," scroll through the entire song library to get to your song, select the song, and then go to Riff Repeater from within the song options. Oddly, you can go directly from Riff Repeater to playing a whole song - but then you can't go back to Riff Repeater. This should be fixed - but apparently I'm the only person who thinks so. So I live with it. There are other navigation oddities I'd like them to fix (like the Technique Challenges), but not being able to get to Riff Repeater directly after playing a song is the main one.
DLC - No Samples?A somewhat annoying aspect of Rocksmith DLC is the fact that you can't pre-audition DLC songs in the in-game store. Just yesterday I was shopping in the online RS store and checking out new DLC. "No Rain?" Never heard of it. Also not sure I'd ever heard of Blind Melon. But, turns out, I've heard the song many times and really like it; I just didn't know it by name.
Look, I cannot be the only person out here who doesn't recognize every DLC song by title and artist, and I'm not buying DLC without knowing what I'm getting. Period. I work around this by going to Amazon, searching for DLC songs that I don't recognize by title, and playing the audio sample there. But, what would be so hard about including a little audio preview for DLC in the RS download store? It's not like the idea is totally new; you hear a short sample of every song in the Rocksmith song list. . .
The Amazon workaround actually works for me because I try to buy an MP3 of every RS DLC song that I buy. That way I can listen to my RS songs over and over and really start to memorize them. When I listen to the sample on Amazon, if I like the song, I add it to my Rocksmith DLC Wish List right there on the spot. Still. Samples in the online store would be nice.
Encores, Double Encores, and the Secret Squirrel SongsEncores and the secret squirrel songs - the hidden songs that you have to unlock by "earning" a double encore - have been one of the most frustrating aspects of Rocksmith for me. I like unlocking the songs. That's cool. My problem is that the criteria for doing it are vague and arbitrary. I've played events where I've scored 105% of the required minimum and gotten an encore. On my 30th event, two songs were below their event qualifying scores, but I still got an encore with a total score of 111%. I've played other events where I've scored 117% and gotten nothing. So, there just doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to encores. Double encores are even worse. In fact, the developers themselves have said that double encores are a 50/50 crap shoot - even if you totally rock the first encore. Very frustrating.
On the upside, you can unlock the secret squirrel songs on bass or guitar - doesn't matter which - and play them on both instruments. I unlocked at least 2 of the secret squirrel songs this way. I wish they'd hide some more songs in the software. I just wish they'd make the unlocking requirements more objective and predictable.
Rocksmith-Induced GASI've bought several guitars since I started playing Rocksmith. I had a single Epiphone LP Special II before I started. Then I bought an old Yamaha EG-112. After that the GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome) really kicked in: PRS Tremonti SE, Ibanez ArtCore semi-hollow body, Gretsch Electromatic semi-holloy body, a Yamaha bass, Epiphone LP Junior, and most recently a Fender MIM Telecaster with locking tuners. All used.
I also bought a wireless system to use with Rocksmith. That was a good investment and I highly recommend it! It works like a charm on the XBox version. Can't speak to PS or PC owners. Not having a cord to trip over made playing much more fun. Does use up the 9v batteries, though.
Where Do We Go From Here?So, now what? Well, as I said, there's still plenty of Rocksmith left after reaching 11 (gotta wonder if Spinal Tap influenced the number of levels in Rocksmith. . . ). But, over the past year I've started doing more and more guitar work without Rocksmith. I've bought a few how-to DVDs (which turned out to be mostly crap) and a couple of tab books. I actually played some (really weak) lead fills at an open mic night recently. But, I never did get my stuff together to play the 3 Christmas DLC songs live per my goal. Mainly I've run across some things in my Rocksmith Journey which have pushed me to consider some lessons. Maybe not traditional lessons but at least spending more time at open mic nights with my guitar and picking up what I can. I REALLY want to learn to play that damn solo from Carol of the Bells! I'm obviously missing something there that Rocksmith isn't teaching me. That's probably not the only thing I'm missing.
Rocksmith may not be "teaching software," but if it does nothing else it gets you playing. My hands have gotten a lot stronger and more nimble in the past year. I've also noticed that I have started picking things up faster than I did a year ago. I can often hear or feel how something should be played without having to look at each and every note on the note highway - it's like the notes go straight from the RSNH to my hands and bypass my brain altogether sometimes.
So, maybe it's time to start weaning myself off of Rocksmith a bit and doing a little work with tabs or something. I'll probably start moving that direction in time and I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Blog-wise, I plan to make a list of RS songs with and without major solos in them. This will take a little time because I'm not going to sit down and go through all 100+ songs that I own in one night. Also, as usual, until RS starts giving me free DLC to blog about, my list will only include the songs I happen to own. But, as always, I'm open to contributions from you - so feel free to contribute to this effort!
For now, I've still got about 80 songs to master and memorize! Plus 9 more virtual guitars and a bunch of tone pedals to earn and a bass journey to catch up on.