Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My First Perfect Game on Rocksmith 2014

Spent the weekend catching up on my sleep from last week and finally picked up a guitar last night. I had no particular plan and decided to just run through God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen once or twice to warm up.

After running through the song in Learn a Song (LAS) mode a few times, I ended up with a 100% mastery percentage - 81 NS/92% Accuracy/100%  mastery, with a 101.7 overall percentage.

What is the Overall Percentage?

I still don't quite get it. I think 100% mastery means I played the entire song - all phrases - in Master Mode. Apparently I hit 92% of the notes correctly and managed to play 81 notes in a row with no mistakes. But, I still have no freaking idea what the 101.7 overall percentage means. To me, 100% would mean I played every note correctly at 100% mastery, but clearly that's not what I've done since I only got 92% accuracy. And, how can I play MORE than 100% of the notes correctly? Where would the other 1.7% of notes come from? This is sort of an annoying scoring anomaly, but I can live with it.

Score Attack Fun

Getting a 100% mastery sort of inspired me to have a go at improving my Score Attack standing on the Master Mode Leaderboard. I played through the song completely 7 times with a restart on almost every one of those. You can only restart a song in Score Attack ONE time and still qualify for the Leaderboard. So, after restarting once, you have to exit the song and start all over. I did that a lot.

This brought back memories of my first few months of Rocksmith when I often wanted to throw my guitar, XBox, and TV through the window. It wasn't quite that bad, but I was quite frustrated that I had memorized this song over a year ago and couldn't seem to get through it without completely botching at least one phrase.

Scores generally improved with each full run-through, but I started out at 488,305 - well below my previous Leaderboard score of 893,496. I worked my way up to 836,914 and then fell back down to 705,694 on my 7th attempt. Accuracy varied from a high of 98.3% to a low of 96.7 on my 7th run. Streaks varied from a low first attempt of 86 to 239 on the 7th pass. Other than NS, everything seemed to be dropping. So, I decided to do one more run and then quit for the night.

I'm not sure if I had resigned myself to failure and relaxed or if making this my last attempt put me in the zone. Or maybe the whiskey sour just kicked in. Whatever it was, things started well and kept going. I got both HOPOs in the intro, plowed through the little solo phrase perfectly, and hit everything clean on the ending. But, I didn't expect what I got when it was all said and done -

1,234,066! NS: 364. Accuracy: 100%. Platinum Level performance.

I'm in the top 5 on the Master Mode Leaderboard for God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

This also unlocked XBox 50G Achievement "Perfect Game Hard." And, it unlocked a couple of new skins for the HC-212C amp. I suppose I need to use my new skins and take pictures. . . (No idea why my achievement was "Perfect Game Hard" when I was playing Master Mode, but who cares?)

Still Just Can't Put it Down

So, now I was pretty stoked. I was planning to pack it in if things had gone badly, but now I seemed to finally have my head in the game. This was no time to quit!

Remember how I originally feared that taking the Journey out of Rocksmith would kill all the fun? Score Attack seems to have adequately replaced at least some of the incentive that the Journey used to provide.

I decided to work on Carol of the Bells a little while I was in the groove. I made a couple of mediocre runs through the song - 119/86/88, 90.2 overall. Then I worked Solo phrase 2 and the song ending in RR for a while. Turns out they didn't rewrite the second solo phrase - it's still a bastard. I just hadn't leveled it back up enough to see the staggering array of notes in the full phrase. But, I'll get it! The ending is pretty quick and I managed to nail it a few times, so it's just a matter of time before I get that solo.

Riff Repeater Rocks

RR is just awesome for hammering out songs. Seriously. Ubisoft could market Riff Repeater as stand-alone software and make a killing. If they could get the licensing issues worked out and hire a team to code more songs, they'd put almost every other software-based guitar playing method out of business. That's how good RR is.

I turned the speed on Solo2 down to 15% and it's still a bear. Just too many notes. Bumping the Difficulty from 92 to 100 takes you from "maybe doable" to "no freaking way." It's a big jump. But, the ability to turn the speed down is the key. I really prefer to see all the notes (100% difficulty) and slog through them slowly anyway. The New, Improved! Riff Repeater allows players to do this much better than in the original RS.

You could also turn down the difficulty and play 90% of the notes at full speed. On some phrases, that might work better. But, on Carol of the Bells solo2, I don't see it happening.

More Score Attack Fun. . .

I figured I might as well have a go at Score Attack while I was at it. I played the Medium Level. First try wasn't bad - 467,134/249/93.51%. But, I failed a phrase and ended up with a Silver pick. So, I tried again. A little better the second time: 468,193/198/95.37% Gold.

(In Score Attack, Gold means you got no strikes or in other words you didn't screw up any phrase too badly. You can make a few minor mistakes but if you really botch a phrase you get a strike. Silver = one strike. Bronze = two strikes. Three strikes and the song stops. You fail. Put in another quarter and play again.)

I wasn't thrilled with my score and didn't even bother looking at my Leaderboard position, but I was content with a Gold run. That was an improvement.

Bringin' it Home for the Night

To wrap up the night, I pulled up something just for fun - something I know I can't play (yet) and wouldn't feel pressured to keep playing over and over until I got it right. Sweet Home Alabama. Ran though it once and only once. 31/76/78.8% (which the Rocksmith Voice thought was a "decent performance"). Good enough for me and Ernie Ball.

I wasn't sure what it was at the time, but early in the song when I was playing I got an XBox 20G Achievement - the "Ernie Ball Long Streak Special." I looked it up and figured out that you get this achievement (on XBox) for getting a 250+ note streak that bridges multiple songs. Apparently I was doing pretty well at the end of my last go on Carol of the Bells and then carried on at least a little while at the beginning of Sweet Home Alabama. Nice little surprise. I wish RS2014 would integrate more stuff like the XBox Achievements into the Missions.

Overall, a pretty good night of Rocksmithing.


  1. I hated the tone designer missions too, but I did them, because they're quick, easy, and my OCD didn't let me leave them hanging around... I also don't like the session missions, because they take so long to accomplish ("play for 10 mins and play 3 different roots"). I'd rather play a couple of songs than noodle around with the session band for 10 mins. Maybe also because session mode bores me, although I think it's a great feature to have in the game. I'm just no good at improving, so 10 straight minutes of it is a chore.

    Congrats on the leaderboard score! It said "Perfect Game hard" because the achievement is "Achieve a perfect game on hard or master", and I don't believe that there's a "Perfect Game Master" achievement. "Perfect Game Easy" says to get a perfect game on "Easy, Medium, Hard or Master", so it's more like "Perfect Game on Easy or harder". I guess that a perfect game on master would clear all those achievements if you hadn't already....

    The Ernie Ball achievement is something like "Get a streak of 200 notes across 2 songs" or something like that - the idea being, get a long steak of notes right at the end of one song, and the beginning of the next...

  2. Dude! You're an encyclopedia of achievement info! Where did you get all that? I found out about the Ernie Ball thing by looking at my avatar on XBox Live and clicking on my achievements. And, you're absolutely right - it's a 250 note-streak across two songs. Seems sort of like a product placement opportunity kind of deal - sort of like a local lawyer where I live who sponsors the "puck out of play" thing at the hockey games. But, that's cool. I don't mind Ernie Ball getting his name out on RS. Anyway, thanks. I was sort of proud of myself for that one.

    So, how many of these damn tone designer missions are there? I tend to be on the OCD side myself but as I've gotten old(er) I've found it easier to just say Screw it. But, if there's a light at the end of the tunnel, I'll go ahead and finish those damn missions just to clear them off my deck. I haven't spent much time in Session Mode, but I tried it once - probably to finish the mission you're talking about. I was OK with that but only because - so far - that's the only time I've been "forced" to go to Session Mode. Maybe they could shorten it to 5 minutes, but that's the equivalent of only maybe 1-1/2 songs. . . At least we've tried it.

  3. They make you equip a bunch of different kinds of pedals once - so, chorus to distortion to reverb to... whatever else they desire. They touch on a bunch of them - I imagine to explain what each type of pedal does - and then there's a couple of "equip a rack pedal", "equip a loop pedal" in each of the possible locations for pedals. They also make you muck with your amp a little (change a setting) and swap in particular speakers. It's a bunch of missions, but they're all really quick (you don't even have to play once the pedal is equipped) and it's all right there on the same screen. But, tedious, none-the-less.

    As far as the achievements - I scanned them once or twice just to see what kinds of things they were - I got the Ernie Ball one too (and yes, it's def product placement), but I agree with you - so be it.

    Session mode - I've done a few of the missions - again, just to get them done. But each time I do one, it throws another one at me. I'm beginning to ignore the missions and just concentrate on LAS/Score attack, since that's where I get my enjoyment from the game.

    Speaking of which - I find it interesting that I can do something like play a song in Score Attack and get gold on medium, yet the LAS is still 0% and still starts me out like I've never played the song. The 2 areas of the game aren't connected at all, and it seems to me like they should be linked somehow. No big deal - just felt a little odd to be playing 1 note every other measure when I choose the song for LAS when I've already completed the song on medium...

    Rereading my last comment - I guess I shouldn't have shortened "improvising" to "improving". ("improv-ing") :-) I'm all for improving - I'm no good at improvising.

    Lastly, I just bought a new bass. I don't need a new bass - I already have one. I'm not good enough to require a new bass. Money is still a consideration in my life ("C'mon MegaMillions!"), yet I await delivery of my new bass. And that's the worst part - I bought it on online, never having played one live. Gah. I already have GAS from other hobbies - I don't need it here too.... Oh well - not too late to return it. :-)

  4. Interesting approach. . . I don't think it would ever have occurred to me to play a song in Score Attack before I had run through it a few times in LAS mode. Clearly that's an option, but I just don't think I'd have ever thought about trying it. Does seem odd that your progress in one mode isn't reflected in the other, but I suppose tieing the two modes together might involve a lot of processor-bogging software code. I think it might be very hard to credit your progress in LAS to all the different levels of Score Attack. That's my guess.

    Don't need a new bass? I had a perfectly playable guitar when I first got Rocksmith. Now I own at least 6! Four of which I plan to keep. And, as you should remember - I'm a drummer, not a guitarist! So, unless it's going to cause your kids to miss a meal or something, just keep the bass. Nobody will hold it against you. I suspect Rocksmith has had a noticable effect on guitar and guitar accessory sales over the past two years. I'm surprised Ubisoft hasn't capitalized on that a little more than they have.