Thu 10 Jun 2010
At this point in the game, do we need to provide context for the Rock Band series? Is there anyone out there vaguely interested in the games that doesn't have a plastic guitar or three in their home? Green Day: Rock Band focuses on the band's later career—starting with the suburban symphony that was Dookie—and goes from there. If you're interested in the harder and rougher songs from Green's Day indie genesis, you're out of luck.
The game features two entire albums: Dookie and American Idiot, and a smattering of songs from the rest of the band's body of work to make up the 47-track setlist. There are no songs "inspired by" Green Day included here. You can also import the tracks into your master setlist for Rock Band or Rock Band 2 for a $10 fee. The game features the digital likenesses of the band; they'll play across three venues as you unlock images and videos by playing the career mode and finishing challenges. If you don't care about all that, every song is selectable from the beginning in the game's quickplay mode.
You can perform vocal harmonies with up to three microphones, and there are certain drum lessons unique to Green Day, so you can learn to drum like the band if you want. That's pretty much it for unique content in the game, although the menus and loading screens and art have all been designed for the Green Day fan.
Honestly, reviewing the game feels like going through a bullet list of features: if you like Green Day and enjoy Rock Band, this is a great buy. It's much cheaper than it would have been to buy all the songs separately as downloadable content, were they offered that way. If the idea of listening to over 40 Green Day songs makes your skin crawl, putting a plastic guitar in your hand won't change that.
I found the songs much more enjoyable to play than I expected, and it was great fun reliving my youth by playing Dookie straight through with friends; these tracks fit with the gameplay of Rock Band very well. Still, your reaction to the title of the game is pretty much your reaction to the game itself. There are very few surprises here: fans of the music will think this is a must-have, while everyone else will shrug and wish they could download one or two favorite songs from the collection.
A quick note: we know that a Mature rating means fewer sales as most stores won't sell M-rated games to children, but the editing of the songs here is annoying as hell. Does hard language really have to be taken out of a Teen-rated game? Would an M-rated release have fit the music a little better? Hearing what amounts to radio edits of all these songs was a bummer.
Green Day: Rock Band is out now on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and NIntendo Wii.