Green Day: Rock Band Review

By on July 25, 2010

Yet another band makes their rhythm game debut

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Unless you’ve been living in the deepest, most remote cave on the planet, you’ve likely tried, or at least heard of, Rock Band (or its older brother/nemesis Guitar Hero). Between them they’ve churned out around 10 titles in the last 2-3 years, in addition to tons of paid DLC, so you could say that the demand for virtual ‘rock outs’ has been high.  So much so that people are willing to buy music games based on the work of a single band. Guitar Hero did it casually with Aerosmith, Van Halen and, more notably, Metallica.

Rock Band, on the other hand, set its sights a bit higher and trumped the competition with a game no one would have believed possible, namely The Beatles Rock Band.

That was last year however.

More recently they’ve gone a little less profile – cue Green Day Rock Band.

Now with all due respect to the band and their fans, Green Day are not the Beatles. Should that deny them their own video game? Probably not, but comparisons are bound to be made seeing as GDRB practically rehashes the template developed for the Beatles game. Quickplay lets you play all the songs on the disc from the get-go, while Career mode has you moving at a set-by-set pace. Unlike the Beatles game however, the career mode’s  3 venues are selectable from the very beginning. Each venue relates to a period in the band’s history. The first being from their more street-punk-ish Dookie days of the mid-90s , the 2nd is clearly American Idiot themed and the third is from their more recent 21st Century Breakdown time. The game sources heavily from these 3 albums, undoubtedly Green Day’s most popular works, though it still features some tracks from Green Day’s less fancied studio albums such as Insomniac, Nimrod and Warning.

As a mild Green Day fan myself, I was pleased to see all my favorite tracks in the game though admittedly I would have been surprised if they weren’t, seeing as Green Day’s discography is hardly an endless pool of era-defining masterpieces (I’m clearly in love with the Beatles). That said, I suppose the game’s major problem is its general lack of content on all levels. On the song front, there really isn’t that many tracks but enough to keep you entertained for awhile (assuming of course that you are in to Green Day to begin with). Beyond that, the game seems lacking and empty. I will once again bring up The Beatles Rock Band only to cite its delightful and beautifully designed opening animation. Green Day too opens to an animation but it’s ridiculously short and far less compelling. I was hoping to see more like it throughout the Career mode but all I got was unlockable concert footage, which is nice but generally more in line with a YouTube clip than Rock Band-specific content. Even the venues, which are only 3 to begin with, lack the variety, detail and imagination of not only the Beatles game, but every other music game I’ve played. There is just too little of everything to justify this title as a standalone game. It may have a better decision to release this as a track-pack as they did with AC/DC a while back.

Another thing the game does lack is a strong visual identity. It only half-heartedly attempts to capture to the trio’s rise from small-time neighborhood punk band to anti-establishment rock opera ensemble if it even attempts to capture anything at all. Green Day may not be the biggest musical icons, but for the sake of the game I would have liked to see more in the way of fan-service as well as content to lure in new fans that may not be familiar with Green Day’s full body of work. I’d also like to take this time to poke a bit of fun at EA’s need to child-safe the game (aka censoring the profanities), “Kill all the f**s that don’t agree” – It may be standard procedure but its still pretty funny, especially in the unlockable footage where can basically still hear the words being uttered.

One last issue I’d like to bring up is online band play. I tried searching for a band at different times of the day, different times of the week and…nothing. Does anyone play this game online? Frankly speaking, I’m not too excited about ‘rocking’ online but, for the sake of this review, I wanted to give it a shot. My many attempts ended in failure so I can only conclude that people are not to keen on ‘jamming’ with people they can’t see and I must say, I can understand that.

Ultimately, the question is not whether or not I should recommend Green Day Rock Band, but more who would I recommend GDRB to? Hardcore Green Day fans are surely not refreshing the page constantly, waiting for us to publish a review. And people that are not interested in the band are unlikely to consider purchasing the game. Therefore, the answer to that question is: If you like Green Day and are not expecting a [Rock Band] series defining title by any stretch of the imagination you will likely enjoy the game. You may not play it much, as it is quite lacking in content, but if you and your friends want to relive pop-punk classics like “When I Come around” and “Basket Case” you won’t be disappointed. If you manage getting together a group of four, you can even one-up the California-based trio.

The Scorecard
The same Rock Band gameplay we’ve come to know and love, but its definitely getting stale.
By no means ugly but not properly pushing the Dookie and American Idiot aesthetics is a missed opportunity.
Great, with nothing to complain about (unless you hate Green Day).
The game is so stripped down it may have been better off as a Track-pack add-on.
This formula for instrument-based music games is beginning to wane, and GDRB does not to shake it up.
For real Green Day fans, this is a justified purchase. But for those of us on the periphery, the lack of content and full-price tag may be enough to deter us from joining the party.


As an opinionated young gamer many years ago, I made three predictions: 1- Sega would dominate the console wars for 50 years. 2- Simon's Quest would be remembered as the definitive NES game. 3- I would be gaming even more as an adult. I suppose one out of three isn't bad.

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