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Green Day: Rock Band Review

Review; Jan. 14, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
Do you have the time to listen to me whine?

After the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, the announcement of Green Day: Rock Band had my interest from the beginning. As I've been a fan since the band's Dookie days and enjoyed the three-songs-long list available for Rock Band 2, I've often thought Green Day would be a perfect fit for the game. Yet, while the songs fit extremely well in the Rock Band format, the game itself is, sadly, a disappointment.

Green Day: Rock Band Screenshots
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Like the other Rock Band titles in the series, Green Day: Rock Band takes you through Green Day’s career from 1994’s Dookie to the eventual arrival at 2009’s “21st Century Breakdown.” The game supports drums, guitar, and vocals. Like The Beatles: Rock Band, there is harmony support, so up to three other people can sing certain songs at the same time. It’s tried-and-true game play that has been a staple of the Rock Band franchise from the beginning. Little has changed since, and it still works here. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

The song selection is some of Green Day’s most notable hits. Older hits like “She” and “Basket Case” are some of the more notable earlier songs represented.  The later albums, “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown” are represented in their near entirety as well. This is where the game’s major flaw comes into play. After the initial 1994 era songs, the game jumps to the 2004 and 2009 era. This is a major jump in their entire discography and represents a large gap in the history of Green Day’s music. Unlike The Beatles: Rock Band, it does not give the player a chance to see the evolution of the band, the evolution of the music from garage band punk to epic punk opera. Instead we see a beginning in punk, and a sudden jump into the punk opera style with no transition in between. You can argue extensively on which era of Green Day was better, but it is jarring to have such a sudden jump and not have some of the band's other hits to play.

As for the art direction and graphics, it’s lacking -- and not just compared to The Beatles game, but to the other Rock Band titles as well. With only three venues to play at, the selection is extremely disappointing after seeing what was possible in terms of backgrounds with The Beatles. The opening movie is nothing but a cruel teaser of what could have been. Instead, you get three uninspired venues which are hard to distinguish from one another. As far as the band members go, each of them maintain that half-cartoonish, half-realistic look that other Rock Band titles have used. Their looks change as the eras change from their early hair dyes and punk outfits to their signature tie and black button shirts. It’s a nice detail to see, but then again, one could argue that Green Day never had as much variety with their look as The Beatles did.

The one feature this game has over The Beatles: Rock Band is the ability to export the songs from the game to your other main Rock Band titles. It’s nice to have the ability to play all of your songs in one place, and it's something I wish others in the Rock Band series would allow. A variety of photos and videos are available to unlock as you progress through the game. It’s actually much easier to unlock the content here than in The Beatles: Rock Band, and it gives the player a greater sense of accomplishment and progression.

Green Day: Rock Band is undoubtedly fun to play. Green Day’s songs are a great fit to the Rock Band format, and whether you’re on drums or vocals, the songs are full of energy and a blast to play together. It still cannot be denied that the game feels like a missed opportunity compared with past titles in the series. Everything feels solid for the most part, but always falls short in the end. If The Beatles was two steps forward, then this game is one giant step back. I’ll never compare Green Day to The Beatles, but it can’t be denied that they deserve better than this.

Comments

JCXanirus

JCXanirus - Jan. 14, 2011 at 8:05:06pm

The subtitle was just too perfect.

Sounds like they used the export system as an excuse for its shortcomings...or laziness.

Review Score
6.9

Teen

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

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