Green Day: Rock Band Xbox 360, PS3 Review

The fight between the two giant music game franchises, Rock Band and Guitar Hero, still rages on. There is one thing certain that we can say about the fight is that right now Rock Band has a much more vast amount of songs to play, and you can buy them to suit your taste. It’s the crazy amount of music DLC that takes Rock Band above and beyond what Activision does with the Guitar Hero series.

It came as a surprise last year when it was revealed that there was to be a The Beatles: Rock Band game coming. I thought to myself why would Harmonix do that when they have a very successful DLC market for Rock Band, did they really want to start doing an Activison and release five Rock Band games a year?

Obviously after watching E3 2009 and seeing The Beatles: Rock Band in motion I was totally eating my own words. Harmonix had put so much love put into that game. When I got round to playing it I could see why they had decided to create a game dedicated to such a massive music band. Everything from the presentation to the content was pure Beatles love and it showed that you can do great band-dedicated music games if they are done to same quality as  The Beatles: Rock Band.

So now Harmonix are trying it again and this time it’s for the popular punk band Green Day. The thing with Green Day: Rock Band is that the game isn’t quite as well done as The Beatles: Rock Band. It follows the same structure of the Beatles title rather than a general Rock Band game. It has the great Rock Band gameplay and you can play all four instruments. It also includes the vocal harmonies from the last game.

Harmonix also goes into the history of Green Day through videos and pictures, but it doesn’t have that much content compared to the documentary style of the Liverpudlian band’s game. It’s the structure and presentation of the game that doesn’t seem to have as much love shown as it did with The Beatles.

For starters there are only three arenas to play in. These arenas are important venues in the history of Green Day. You have the whole Dookie album represented by “The Warehouse” which is supposed to represent playing in clubs, just like Green Day did back in 1994. The National Bowl, Milton Keynes in jolly old England is the second venue and features the full American Idiot album. Lastly the Fox Theatre in Oakland, California is the other venue which features 12 (rest you can buy through DLC) songs from Green Day’s latest album 21st Century Breakdown.

Not all the albums get the same treatment as the ones mentioned above. Since the game only features 47 tracks, some albums got reduced to a measly track of two. It means from the albums Insomniac, Nimrod and Warning there is only 7 tracks. At least we get the most popular tracks so it’s not too damaging to the set list.

Throughout these three venues are the set lists you play through. Passing the set list grants you unlockable pictures of the band. Finishing the challenges, which become unlocked after buying them with creds, nets you videos of the band from different eras of their career. It’s nice that Harmonix threw in extra content for the fans, but the game doesn’t feel as much of a historic representation of Green Day as much as it did for The Beatles in their game.

Playing Green Day: Rock Band is just like how you would play any other Rock Band game. There’s a career mode where you play the set lists and unlock the cred to unlock Green Day content. There’s quick play and also online cooperative play as you would expect.

Rock Band: Green Day includes a nice look for the band members, who were used when doing the motion capture work for the game, but the tone is somewhat on the light side, going for more of a caricature like appeal rather than a realistic feel. Each of the members of the band has three different outfits depending on the venue you are playing. It’s humorous to see how their appearance has changed over the years, especially those crazy coloured hair styles.

It’s a real let down there isn’t more arenas to play in. The lack of any “music video” type background is strange too. The Beatles: Rock Band used this to create some wacky situations as you played. No doubt Harmonix could have set up some of Green Day’s music video locations to be used as settings for some tracks. What you have featured though is represented well; it’s just a shame that nothing really goes on in the background. It feels more restricted to normality rather than the all out psychedelic drug induced videos that Harmonix used in The Beatles.

As with any typical Rock Band game all the music is 100% authentic master tracks. There is a slight difference in the songs compared to the CD release of Green Day’s music. To keep the rating down for the game the songs are censored, so you have to put your own fuck in there when the song cuts the offensive words out.

With a fee of 800 Microsoft Points you can export the songs into other Rock Band games. It’s a nice feature that has been in all the Rock Band games apart from the Beatles one. There is only so much you can take looking at three guys on stage before you want to start playing other characters or songs.

Hardcore Rock Band players won’t find a challenge in this game. A lot of the songs aren’t too demanding on your skills, but they are a lot of a fun to play no matter what your musical weapon preference is. If you’re deciding if you should pick it up, all you have to do is ask yourself: Do you like Rock Band? Do you like Green Day? If you answer YES to both of these questions, then yeah you should buy this game and will no doubt enjoy the songs featured. If you don’t like playing with plastic instruments or hate Green Day then you shouldn’t even be reading this review, go on, shoo, the exit is over there.

It’s not quite the ultimate Green Day experience that you might have hoped for, but there is nothing else out there in the video game world that supports the American Trio as much as this.

7/10

by

Version tested: PS3

Developer: Harmonix

Publisher: EA Games

Genre: Music Rhythm

Players: 1-4