I levelled up! Yaaaaay! Admittedly, only by a single experience level, but that’s got to mean something, right? Hey, I haven’t had much time on my hands, what with the magazine going to print last week and everything. Cut me some slack.

Yes, Rocksmith has experience points. I only noticed them when suddenly I went from being classified as an amateur to “a new act”, which I guess is better. Personally I’m okay with being called an amateur because it means that people’s expectations are lower, but I suppose that’s some sort of psychological issue that’s best left discussed with a professional than people on the Internet.

I'm thinking about growing out my hair and taking up heroin. That's a good idea, right?

Anyway, I’ve managed to put in a few more solid hours and I think I’m starting to get the “big picture” here. Rocksmith isn’t going to turn me into a rock star overnight but it definitely feels like it’s doing something. It started with Go With the Flow by Queens of the Stone Age, which happens to be both a pretty catchy song with a stable rhythm and a relatively easy one. I cracked 97% accuracy on what I think was about ¾ difficulty and felt quite confident after that. I strummed like a beast and my arm started to cramp up, but I pushed through the song because I actually had a pretty good time playing it. Who knew?

After that, I figured what better way to embrace my inner teenager than with some good old Nirvana. In Bloom, specifically. I struggled with the notes at first but, by my third attempt, I was well into it. Individual notes became power chords but I had the timing down so moving from one to the other felt natural, and I took the opportunity to work on my strumming pattern (sadly, this isn’t shown on-screen; you kind of have to figure it out for yourself) to get the twangs of my guitar strings to better match the sound coming out of my TV. During the chorus, I even managed to take my eyes off the main part of the screen to read and sing along with the lyrics as they scrolled across. Yeah, I like to sing along. Irony, right?

Oh, no wait. They do.

After completing my current allotment of rehearsal songs I jumped into a performance that included the two afore-mentioned tracks. I managed to rack up 66,000-odd points for In Bloom, well up from the 15k or so I managed to squeeze out from my first play and a good bit higher than the 55,000 I managed during my third rehearsal of the song. I’m feeling good about life and then all of sudden The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry comes along as the gig’s encore. I trip, stumble and ultimately fail my way through the track. Sad times.

I’ve found two things that I don’t like about Rocksmith: the menu system and the way new techniques are introduced to the player. The second is only a small gripe, really. When a new technique comes along like bending or palm muting, they’re just sort of thrown at you without any formal introduction like the weird kids that you’re supposed to play with at your weird aunt’s wedding. It’s only when the song completes that you’re told “oh by the way those were bends”. It’s not a big deal; I managed to figure out that a big “X” on a note implies that the note is meant to be played muted, but rather prepare me for its arrival beforehand (heck, even pause the game for a moment to tell me) than expect me to figure out what your symbols mean.

Menu navigation: Urg, it’s difficult to put into words, but the menus just iphone 5/5s/5c/6/6s/6 plus/6s plus remplacement écran have this thing where they don’t make sense. If I want to practise a song I’ve already “completed” (by scoring the requisite number of points in rehearsal mode), I have to exit the career menu and go hunting for the song in single play mode. But if I’ve just played a single track, I’m taken back to the career menu, not the track selection screen I was at before. And don’t get me started on fiddling through the free play section. Actually, do, but I’ll save that for the next part of my Rocksmith Diary, which I promise will be out this week now that that silly thing called this month’s issue of NAG is behind me.

A photo taken of me in the future.

[Read the previous entry in this series]