Review: Green Day Rock Band

Developer – Harmonix Music Systems / Demiurge Studios
Publisher – EA
Available On – Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / Wii
Reviewed On – Xbox 360

Because it was the obvious next step after The Beatles right?

Right?!

It’s almost moot to talk about these games at this point. Everyone out there seems to either be a die hard Rock Band fan or a dedicated Guitar Hero or they just have absolutely zero interest in plastic musical instrument games whatsoever, but whatever, we’re here so let’s talk about the latest full band rhythm game to hit the scene, Green Day: Rock Band.

Those of you hoping for a lovingly crafted journey through the band’s career complete with visual landscapes based around the group’s imagery and themes ala last years Beatles game will be grossly disappointed. In many respects Green Day is a budget game. Featuring only forty seven tracks and three arenas to perform, and with the capability for all the songs to be ported over to the core Rock Band titles it’s easy to think of the game as being little more than a retail released track pack. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s nice to have these songs available for dedicated Rock Banders and Green Day fans will surely appreciate the games existence, even if it is a cut-down experience. I just wish the visual designers at Harmonix and Demiurge had been a little more adventurous when it came to the look of the game. Three bland venues and lots of recycled animations between the band members make for a frustratingly dull and uninspiring thing to stare at.

Another disappointment is the un-evenness of the song selection. Forty seven tracks pulled from the trio’s six major label albums may seem like a decent selection but the balance is really weirdly weighted. The band’s first album Dookie and their two most recent releases American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown feature in their entirety (well technically 21st Century Breakdown is missing six tracks that were made available as downloadable content earlier) while the middle three albums are represented by only seven songs. Especially odd is that a couple of the hit singles from those middle albums are even missing such as Waiting and Macy’s Day Parade. Don’t get me wrong, all the songs featured in the game are fun to play and good to listen to but it just strikes me as a really strange choice to include three full albums and largely neglect the bands other works.

Other bonus features on the disk include unlockable live performance videos by the band, ‘classic’ interviews and lots of pictures. It’s decent stuff but none of it is really anything you couldn’t find through Google image search or Youtube in a couple of minutes. I was a little disappointed that none of the group’s music videos were included as they’d seem to me like the most obvious of bonus features to pack in, but again thanks to Youtube this isn’t really a big issue.

Green Day: Rock Band is a tough thing to rate. The budget scale of the game and the fact that you’d really have to like Green Day’s music quite a lot to get anything resembling enjoyment out of the experience hurts it quite a lot, but then I can’t deny that I had a heck of a lot of fun playing through it also and I know that I will continue to enjoy playing these songs in Rock Band 2 and the upcoming Rock Band 3 for ages to come. If you’re even the least bit curious I’d recommend grabbing a copy as soon as you can anyway as the game is already vanishing from store shelves seemingly never set to return.

Green Day: Rock Band

79%

The Good

– It’s a Rock Band game all about Green Day!

– The songs are all fun to play and as most everyone knows them there are some great sing-alongs to be had, especially as the three part harmonies feature from the Beatles game makes a welcome return.

– It’ll make you feel like an angsty 90’s kid all over again.

– All songs can be exported over to the core Rock Band games for a small fee.

The Bad

– It’s a Rock Band game all about Green Day!

– Serious lack of visual inspiration.

– Somewhat strange song selection.