Green Day has been making a lot of noise lately. Whether it be on TV, the Grammys, on the radio, Broadway, and now on your Xbox. Yes they have their very own Xbox video game now and it’s called Green Day: Rock Band. This is another title from Harmonix that capitalizes on the titles that focus on just one band and their catalog of songs, just like they did with the previous release of the Beatles. However where the Beatles was visually stimulating and the songs kept you wanting to play more and more, Green Day: Rock Band made me feel nostalgic for the 90’s, but as I continued playing I realized that this game was not ever going to make me a full fledged Green Day fan.
Being that this game was focused solely on one band, Harmonix had previously spoiled us with the lush and fluid visuals from the Beatles game, and I was expecting more of the same from this game. Alas the intro scene for Green Day: Rock Band was nothing less than a snooze fest that capitalizes on the album American Idiot. You see some kids running and spray painting all under this red and black coloring. There is no visual story shown about the band like the Beatles intro had, but just another attempt to market an Album (American Idiot) that already even has a Broadway play surrounding it. From there you and your friends can choose your instruments from guitars to drums to mic. Just like with the Beatles game, there is no customization of the Green Day boys either, and you start off your first set of songs in a dive if you choose Career Mode. If you choose to play a quick song there is that option as well with Quickplay.
Once you get going you play through the early albums from Green Day’s 90’s punk days. “Basket case” was always a fav of mine as well as “When I Come Around.” The game features 47 tracks, including two full albums—Dookie and American Idiot, and twelve songs from 21st Century Breakdown. If you want the additional songs you’ll have to buy the “Plus” edition of the game or you can get it via DLC.
But honestly, except for the commercial hits, I was never truly a Green Day fan so it was hard for me to really enjoy this game when it came to playing songs that I didn’t know very well. I will say the rhythm functions did shine on this game, as these songs were more suitable for a game like this type in comparison to the Beatles. The riffs and chords seemed to flow much more easily then they did with the Beatles, and you really felt like you were jamming in tune with Billie Joe.
As you continue playing, you unlock future venues like The Fox Theater in Oakland, Milton Keynes, and The Warehouse. There is also no ability for free play at the end of songs to go crazy on drums or guitars to rack up extra points. As you proceed, depending on how many stars you get and how high your scores are, you will unlock Green Day band goodies. To hardcore Green day fans, they will eat this up, to those just looking to expand their Rock Band collection of games, they probably won’t.
The visuals are nice in regards to the details of the band. However, in my opinion, Billie Joe oddly looks like a punk version of Paul McCartney later on in the game. Unfortunately, there are no fancy loading screens, or story that ties anything together. You are basically just playing a steady stream of songs from Green Day’s catalog. Whereas The Beatles not only encouraged you to sing along, it also got you lost in its trippy visuals.
If you are looking to jam with Billie Joe, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt and love their catalog of songs then you will adore Green Day: Rock Band. The game, notwithstanding the catalog plays very well and is actually a challenge on many songs. If you play in easy mode you will never lose because the ‘No Fail’ option is enabled. However in medium and hard mode, you better play quick because those chords come fast and require your fingers to move around a lot more than you may be used to for a Rock Band game. However, I would have liked some back story interwoven in the game instead of having to play to unlock pictures and special features – I think this probably would have kept those casual Green Day fans invested to come back again after finishing it the first time. However one of the highlights for me was the fact that you can rip all the tracks to your hard drive for a $10 bucks and when Rock Band 3 comes out it will be interesting to see how they are incorporated with the newer version. Green Day: Rock Band retails for $57.99 on Amazon.
The Good: A great game for Green Day fans. Play as your idols – rock through their catalog and unlock Achievements/Trophies enhancing your love for Billie Joe, Tre, and Mike. Songs play very well within a rhythm game format.
The Bad: Visuals are lacking, and so are pivotal Green Day venues like Woodstock. No backstory on the band other than playing their songs. Casual Green Day fans may not bother playing it again after they beat it in just a few hours.