reviews\ Jun 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Green Day: Rock Band review


While the Guitar Hero franchise has been putting out single-band music games since GH: Aerosmith launched back in 2007, the Rock Band franchise didn’t release its first one until just last September. However, considering that it was a game based on The Beatles’ music catalog, it was a doozy. Now, Harmonix is launching their second single-band game, this time basing it on alternative rock group Green Day.

Green Day: Rock Band isn’t quite the tour de force of its predecessor, The Beatles: Rock Band. Then again, we are talking about the snot-core leaders of the pop-punk genre here, not exactly one of the most beloved musical groups of all time. If you aren’t a fan of Green Day, then this iteration of the Rock Band franchise will not make you one. That said, if you like the group and are a fan of the franchise, then this iteration of the series will be right up your alley. The songs are catchy and fit extremely well within the Rock Band mold, and offer up a nice degree of challenge without being impossible for all but the most seasoned pros.

The tracklist in Green Day: Rock Band offers up integral pieces from the band’s long past, beginning with their landmark breakthrough, Dookie, which is presented here in its entirety. Aside from Dookie, the game also features all of 2004’s American Idiot album, 12 tracks from their most recent, 21st Century Breakdown (the rest is available as DLC for Rock Band 2 and will work here), and choice cuts from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning. The game features some solid songs from the band’s history, but it is not as retrospective as fans might hope, negating the bands first two albums entirely by picking things up with Dookie. It would’ve been cool to have some tracks from “Kerplunk” that many younger Green Day fans would be unfamiliar with, but this is not to be unless Harmonix decides to release some DLC from the album.

Whereas The Beatles: Rock Band had a surprisingly personal career retrospective, there’s something sterile about the career mode in Green Day: Rock Band. The whole affair unfolds rather plainly, and while you can still unlock still images and videos of the band’s past depending on how you perform and unlock new gigs as you complete sets, it lacks the finesse of its predecessor and feels shallow and tacked on.

On the gameplay front, the game features the same advances on offer from last year’s The Beatles: Rock Band. You’ll be able to do up to three-part harmonies with other singers, as well as employ a No Fail option should you want to play through the songs but aren’t quite good enough to finish them. There is also a drum tutorial similar to the one in The Beatles: Rock Band that will help you nail some of the game’s more complicated fills. Green Day: Rock Band doesn’t really bring anything new to the franchise, instead opting to be a fairly straightforward single-band title without much in the way of innovation. One bonus is the ability to export the game’s entire song library to other Rock Band games for a 10 dollar fee.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good, but not a huge improvement over its predecessors. The game lacks the stellar design of its predecessor (fair enough, since the Dreamscapes in The Beatles: Rock Band are not likely to be topped any time soon), instead featuring the avatars of the band playing their songs in a few different forums. The characters do a fine job of “playing” the songs and are well-animated, but the engine here is starting to show its age.

Green Day: Rock Band is exactly what the name would imply; nothing more and nothing less. The game has the tried-and-true mechanics that have powered the franchise for a few years now, and offers a solid catalog of songs from the titular band. It goes without saying that your enjoyment of the game overall stems on how much you love (or hate) Green Day’s music, but if you are a fan, then this game could be worth your time and money. Otherwise, skip it altogether.


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