Rocksmith is a guitar-based music game designed around playing a real electric guitar.


Rocksmith is Ubisoft's attempt at entering the stagnating music genre. Although many other games like this are on the market, Ubisoft is hoping to differentiate Rocksmith from the competition by adding compatibility with real electric guitars, adding a more educational bent to the game. By using a real guitar, the game purports to teach chords and notes to novices, while an adaptive difficulty level will ramp up the challenge for guitar vets. The technology behind the game is undeniably impressive, as it is the first video game to allow for a true plug-and-play experience with a real electric guitar, no matter the manufacturer or model of instrument. Once you learn how to play the song using the in-game prompts, you can plug the guitar into an amp and play the song through the amp, with no game necessary.


Rocksmith is played on any real guitar that is equipped with a 1/4-inch jack socket. The game is bundled with a special 1/4-inch audio jack-to-USB cable that allows the player's guitar to be plugged into the gaming system. A regular controller is required for general menu navigation, but the majority of the gameplay is performed on the instrument itself.


When playing a song, the player is presented with a cross section of the guitar neck oriented horizontally at the bottom of the screen. Each string on the guitar is labeled with a different color. Notes in the song are indicated by streaming colored rectangles placed within vertical segments that line up with the guitar's frets. As in other guitar-based music games, a note is played when it crosses the displayed portion of the neck at the bottom of the screen. The color of individual notes that stream down correspond with the string they should be played on, while their horizontal position indicates each note's fret on the guitar's neck.

In addition to the basic note indicators, the game also presents interface elements to specify certain guitar techniques. Open notes, meaning notes played on un-fretted strings, are indicated by horizontal lines of the appropriate color. Other techniques, such as palm mutes, bends, slides, and harmonics are also indicated with distinctive symbols over their respective notes.

Song Leveling

Every song is broken up into individual phrases, which can comprise a section or riff within the song. Each song starts out at a basic level that includes only a few notes that comprise the entire phrase. As the player consistently completes a phrase, more notes are added until the player maxes out the phrase and is playing all of the notes/chords that comprise it. If the game detects many missed notes within a phrase, it levels down to allow the player to regain a grasp on the phrase. Any phrase can be practiced individually in the games Riff Repeater and leveled up separately from the song itself.


Playing songs or completing gigs earns the player RSP, which increases the player's level within the game. As the player's level increases, new game elements are unlocked including new gig locations and guitars.

Bass Support

On June 5, 2012, Ubisoft announced the addition of bass guitar support to the core game via download content. This update will let players plug in a bass guitar and allow them to play the bass portions of songs available in the game. A standard 6-string guitar can also be used to emulate a 4-string bass if that's the only option the player has. The bass update will be released on September 4, 2012, and will be available for $29.99. Additionally, on October 16, there will also be a new retail edition of the game, available for $79.99, that will have the bass support included on the disc.

The bass update will also include new bass specific technique challenges, mini-games, and video tutorials to practice bass playing concepts like 2-finger plucking, slapping, and popping.

Game Modes


The main form of progression in Rocksmith is structured around the format of a guitar player's rise to stardom, which is referred to as the "Journey". Every step in the journey is based upon practicing and performing a setlist at several gig locations. Individual setlists are comprised of groups of songs that generally increase in difficulty and required technical skill as the game progresses. Players can choose to rehearse these predetermined songs, or choose individual songs to comprise a new setlist. During a rehearsal, the player attempts to meet or exceed a required point threshold that indicates that the song has been sufficiently rehearsed.

After all songs have been rehearsed, the player has the option to perform all of the songs at once in the gig's venue, akin to a live performance. Scoring highly on the songs in the gig can trigger an Encore of another song that the player may or may not have played yet, with the potential of triggering an additional Double Encore if the player continues to play well.


The Guitarcade is a series of mini-games tailored towards exercising individual concepts for guitar playing. These mini-games include:

  • Ducks - The player shoots ducks by playing their relevant fret on a single string. This is meant to teach fret placement and transitioning.
  • Super Ducks - Like Ducks, but employs all six strings.
  • Scale Runner - The player runs through a series of notes within a scale, with points allotted for speed and accuracy. The player may choose their scale and key prior to playing.
  • Quick Pick Dash - The player runs along a course by rapidly picking individual strings. The player avoids obstacles by following on-screen prompts to change between strings.
  • Big Swing Baseball - The player is given a note to find and play within a short period of time. They then round bases on a baseball field based on the accuracy and timing of hitting the note.
  • Super Slider - The player positions falling blocks by performing slides. Gameplay is similar to Dr. Mario or Lumines in that the player wishes to connect regions of similarly colored blocks to score points.
  • Dawn of the Chordead - The player is presented with a chord name and form, then required to find and play it within a certain time frame. Success is indicated by shooting a screen full of zombies that appear when the chord is announced.
  • Harmonically Challenged - The player must play a series of pick harmonics in a Simon-like fashion in an attempt to defuse a bomb.

Amp Mode

Amp Mode allows players to freely play their guitar while using the game as an amplifier. A player's tone can be modified by including effects pedals and different amplifiers in an effect chain, each effect being similar to its real-life counterpart. Over 70 pedals and amplifiers can be unlocked through gameplay. In addition, scoring 70,000 points or more on a song will unlock the tone used in that song, which can then be used in Amp Mode.


Individual lessons for general guitar techniques are provided to teach the player through song challenges. After walking the player through a technique (such as bends, slides, or barre chords), the game presents a unique song that heavily employs the technique. The player's performance in this song is scored and a rank is assigned between bronze, silver and gold.

In addition to technique lessons, many lessons about guitar management and treatment are available. This includes videos on how to tune the guitar, how to replace strings, and more.


House of the Rising SunThe Animals
When I'm With YouBest Coast
I Got MineThe Black Keys
Next GirlThe Black Keys
Song 2Blur
Step Out of the CarBoxer Rebellion
Sunshine of Your LoveCream
We Share the Same SkiesThe Cribs
Boys Don't CryThe Cure
I Want Some MoreDan Auerbach
Rebel RebelDavid Bowie
I Can't Hear YouThe Dead Weather
Run Back to Your SideEric Clapton
Take Me OutFranz Ferdinand
Do You RememberThe Horrors
I Miss YouIncubus
Slow HandsInterpol
AngelJarvis Cocker
Well OK HoneyJenny O
Use SomebodyKings of Leon
Are You Gonna Go My WayLenny Kravitz
Surf HellLittle Barrie
Free Bird (pre-order DLC)Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home AlabamaLynyrd Skynyrd
Plug In BabyMuse
Unnatural SelectionMuse
In BloomNirvana
Where is My Mind?The Pixies
Go With the FlowQueens of the Stone Age
Bodysnatchers (pre-order DLC)Radiohead
High and DryRadiohead
California BrainRapscallions
Number ThirteenRed Fang
Higher GroundRed Hot Chili Peppers
(I Can't Get No) SatisfactionThe Rolling Stones
Play With FireThe Rolling Stones
The Spider and the FlyThe Rolling Stones
GobbledigookSigur Ros
Panic SwitchSilversun Pickups
Me and the BeanSpoon
Between the LinesStone Temple Pilots
VasolineStone Temple Pilots
Under Cover of DarknessThe Strokes
Mean BitchTaddy Porter
A More Perfect UnionTitus Andronicus
Good EnoughTom Petty and the Heartbreakers
SlitherVelvet Revolver
BurnishedWhite Denim
Icky ThumpThe White Stripes
IslandsThe xx
ChimneyYellow Moon Band

Downloadable Songs

Rocksmith has had a steady roll out of DLC since its launch, releasing new 3-packs of songs every few weeks. All songs are available individually for $2.99 on PSN and 240 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Marketplace, or as a three song bundle for $7.99 on PSN and 640 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Marketplace.

SongArtistSong Pack
Free BirdLynyrd SkynyrdRock Hits 1
BodysnatchersRadioheadRock Hits 1
Tighten UpThe Black KeysRock Hits 1
Smoke on the WaterDeep PurpleRock Hits 70s
More than a FeelingBostonRock Hits 70s
JessicaThe Allman Brothers BandRock Hits 70s
CousinsVampire WeekendRock Hits 2
20th Century BoyT. RexRock Hits 2
I Hate Everything About YouThree Days GraceRock Hits 2
Symphony of DestructionMegadethMegadeth Song Pack
Hangar 18MegadethMegadeth Song Pack
Public Enemy No. 1MegadethMegadeth Song Pack
Carol of the BellsSeth ChaplaHoliday Song Pack (free)
God Rest Ye Merry, GentlemenBrian Adam McCuneHoliday Song Pack (free)
We Three KingsVersus ThemHoliday Song Pack (free)
Just Got To BeThe Black KeysThe Black Keys Song Pack
Mind EraserThe Black KeysThe Black Keys Song Pack
Gold on the CeilingThe Black KeysThe Black Keys Song Pack
(Don't Fear) The ReaperBlue Oyster CultRock Hits 60s-70s
Space OddityDavid BowieRock Hits 60s-70s
BarracudaHeartRock Hits 60s-70s
JeremyPearl JamPearl Jam Song Pack
BlackPearl JamPearl Jam Song Pack
DammitBlink-182Blink-182 Song Pack
All the Small ThingsBlink-182Blink-182 Song Pack
What's My Age Again?Blink-182Blink-182 Song Pack
Kryptonite3 Doors Down3 Doors Down Song Pack
Loser3 Doors Down3 Doors Down Song Pack
When I'm Gone3 Doors Down3 Doors Down Song Pack
The Thrill is GoneB. B. KingBlues Hits
Born Under a Bad SignAlbert King w/ Stevie Ray VaughnBlues Hits
Soul ManThe Blues BrothersBlues Hits
Bring Me to LifeEvanescenceRock Hits 3
Pumped Up KicksFoster the PeopleRock Hits 3
This LoveMaroon 5Rock Hits 3
Breaking the LawJudas PriestJudas Priest Song Pack
Living After MidnightJudas PriestJudas Priest Song Pack
PainkillerJudas PriestJudas Priest Song Pack
RoxanneThe PoliceThe Police Song Pack
Message in a BottleThe PoliceThe Police Song Pack
Synchronicity IIThe PoliceThe Police Song Pack
Gone AwayThe OffspringThe Offspring Song Pack
Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated)The OffspringThe Offspring Song Pack
Self EsteemThe OffspringThe Offspring Song Pack
Planetary (GO!)My Chemical RomanceMy Chemical Romance Song Pack
Welcome to the Black ParadeMy Chemical RomanceMy Chemical Romance Song Pack
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)My Chemical RomanceMy Chemical Romance Song Pack
Tom SawyerRushRush Song Pack
LimelightRushRush Song Pack
Red BarchettaRushRush Song Pack
SubdivisionsRushRush Song Pack
YYZRushRush Song Pack
Headlong FlightRushN/A
Super FreakRick JamesN/A
Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof off Sucker)ParliamentN/A
Good TimesChicN/A
Cowboys From HellPanteraPantera Song Pack
DominationPanteraPantera Song Pack
WalkPanteraPantera Song Pack
Bottoms UpNickelbackNickelback Song Pack
How You Remind MeNickelbackNickelback Song Pack
RockstarNickelbackNickelback Song Pack
WheelsFoo FightersFoo Fighters Song Pack
WalkFoo FightersFoo Fighters Song Pack
Times Like TheseFoo FightersFoo Fighters Song Pack
Best of YouFoo FightersFoo Fighters Song Pack
My HeroFoo FightersFoo Fighters Song Pack
SmoothSantana Feat Rob ThomasSantana Song Pack
Black Magic WomanSantanaSantana Song Pack
Oye Como VaSantanaSantana Song Pack
No RainBlind MelonN/A
Cliffs of DoverEric JohnsonN/A
AlivePearl JamN/A
Last NiteThe StrokesThe Strokes Song Pack
ReptiliaThe StrokesThe Strokes Song Pack
JuiceboxThe StrokesThe Strokes Song Pack
Born To Be WildSteppenwolfN/A
American WomanThe Guess WhoN/A
SurrenderCheap TrickN/A
Dance, DanceFall Out BoyFall Out Boy Song Pack
Sugar, We're Going DownFall Out BoyFall Out Boy Song Pack
I Don't CareFall Out BoyFall Out Boy Song Pack
America's SuiteheartsFall Out BoyFall Out Boy Song Pack
Thnks Fr Th MmrsFall Out BoyFall Out Boy Song Pack
Should I Stay or Should I Go

The Clash

The Clash Song Pack
London Calling

The Clash

The Clash Song Pack

Guns of Brixton

The Clash

The Clash Song Pack

Carry On Wayward Son



You've Got Another Thing Comin'Judas PriestN/A
Black BettyRam JamN/A
Anna MollyIncubusIncubus Song Pack
Love HurtsIncubusIncubus Song Pack

Wish You Were Here


Incubus Song Pack

Burnin' For You

Blue Oyster Cult

Rock Hits 80s 2 + Blue Oyster Cult Pack

Blister in the SunViolent FemmesRock Hits 80s 2
Cult of PersonalityLiving ColourRock Hits 80s 2
Love SongThe CureThe Cure Song Pack
Just Like HeavenThe CureThe Cure Song Pack
The End of the WorldThe CureThe Cure Song Pack

Other Downloadable Content

NameTypePackPriceRelease Date
Tone Designer Time SaverAll standard pedalsTone Designer Time Saver Pack400 ms points/$5 on PSN and SteamOctober 18th, 2011
SicSicSicSDistortion pedalHeavy Metal - Gear Pack400 ms points/$5 on PSN and Steam (as part of Heavy Metal - Gear Pack)February 28th, 2012
CaverbDelay pedalHeavy Metal - Gear Pack400 ms points/$5 on PSN and Steam (as part of Heavy Metal - Gear PackFebruary 28th, 2012
ScoopedFilter pedalHeavy Metal - Gear Pack400 ms points/$5 on PSN and Steam (as part of Heavy Metal - Gear PackFebruary 28th, 2012
RSMP-12High-Gain AmpHeavy Metal - Gear Pack400 ms points/$5 on PSN and Steam (as part of Heavy Metal - Gear packFebruary 28th, 2012
RSMP-12 4x12Cabinet ampHeavy Metal - Gear Pack400 ms points/$5 on PSN and Steam (as part of Heavy Metal - Gear pack)February 28th, 2012


Although Rocksmith's technology is impressive and unique, the actual content of the game was panned by some critics. According to some critics, Rocksmith's educational aspects are downplayed due to the adaptive difficulty level, which they felt posed a constant uphill challenge. Additionally, Rocksmith was criticized for relying on the game's electronic tuning system, instead of teaching players how to tune by ear or other methods. Finally, some critics disliked the bland presentation of the game, which never shows any of the player's fictional band, instead lingering on the audience.

Other critics, however, were impressed by the accuracy of the game, and found that by ignoring the lack of any real tuning advice, Rocksmith could still be used as an effective learning tool. The game is good at teaching songs slowly, while the competition splits songs up by difficulty.

Despite positive user reviews averaging 8.2 on a 10 point scale, Rocksmith currently sits at a 77 average on Metacritic. (360 version)

PC System Requirements


  • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo E4400 or 2.0 GHz AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 3800+
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600 GT or AMD Radeon™ HD 2600 XT
  • DirectX®: 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 12 GB HD space
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compliant


  • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo E6750 or 3.0GHz AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 6000+
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 200-series or AMD Radeon™ HD 3000-series
  • DirectX®: 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 12 GB HD space
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compliant