When Green Day: Rock Band was announced, I scoffed. Having experienced the joys of The Beatles: Rock Band and the media event that it caused I thought no such thing would happen with Green Day: Rock Band. They haven’t made a big enough impact on music to warrant their own game. And, to some extent, I was right.
When The Beatles: Rock Band was released, based around possibly one of the most genre-bending, influential artists of the 20th Century, it managed to introduce the older generation to rhythm games and the younger generation to older music. It managed to, in essence, bring together everyone in a way that games like this have tried to do for so long. Many a times have I walked past The Beatles: Rock Band demo stations and seen a boy of around 12 playing the game with someone of around 50 or over, both having a really good time. That is the power of TB:RB. The problem is, I can’t see the same thing happening with Green Day: Rock Band. It is very much a fan service and nothing more. Released as a bumper track pack, this would be fantastic but, as a standalone game, I’m not sure where I stand on things.
On the other hand, it’s hard to fault Green Day’s progression from the early days of Dookie, when they finally kicked off and one of my favourite albums during my early teens, right up through American Idiot when they got all political and took on a post-punk epic style to the recent 21st Century Breakdown. There is plenty of variety in the tracks available and it is evident in the venues chosen for each era. Kicking things off in the warehouse like venue gels well with their snotty punk attitude of the early 90s, then moving on to the famous Milton Keynes venue during the American Idiot tour and finally the Fox Theatre for the 21st Century Breakdown tour. The shift between the theatrics and mannerisms of the band really show this progression well, just as it did with The Beatles: Rock Band. The motion capture of the three band members is spot-on and the characters are very much in the style of how The Beatles looked in their game; slightly cartoony but with some essence of the band there.
My love for Green Day disappeared when I was half way through high school so I never got into albums like American Idiot and beyond, but the tracklist here is very impressive for fans of the band. All of Dookie is there (this is pretty much all I played), a couple from Nimrod and Warning as well as most of American Idiot and a select few which weren’t DLC from 21st Century Breakdown. In all honesty, I only really loved Dookie, but for an actual Green Day fan, and not just an early rebellious teen fan during the Dookie years, there is plenty to get stuck into here.
Alongside that, similar to The Beatles: Rock Band, there is plenty of archival footage, photos and interviews to unlock by completing sets and completing challenges. This really is a treat for the Green Day fan to peruse at your leisure.
For those that are a fan of Rock Band first and Green Day second there’s still something here for you. The songs range for the challenging to the easy but most are fun to play. Even though I don’t like much of American Idiot, I have to admit it was great fun playing the title track among others. The vocal harmonies are much easier than those in TB:RB and so are the vocals in general. Bass is also pretty fun to play with some challenging little bits here and there.
The problem now comes for me to score it. Do I score it as someone who once loved Green Day and see the game as a nostalgia trip? Do I score it as someone who loves Rock Band and will take any excuse to play more? Or do I score it as a writer judging it as a product? The latter is where the problem lies. As a package, it isn’t great. I don’t feel Green Day have yet to earn themselves a game. The Beatles are universal; their adoration is wide spread. Green Day don’t encapsulate this as much. For a Green Day fan, on the other hand, it is a fantastic game. There are plenty of new and old tracks here, the mannerisms are what you expect from the band (with Tre Cool jumping from his drums to run around the stage teasing the rest of the band as they play) and the little bonuses are a great peek through time. As a Rock Band fan, the game seems nothing more than a glorified DLC pack but the variety of tracks inside are well worth playing. It is a really dfficult game to score. I enjoyed it a fair bit and, for any Green Day fan, it’s an essential purchase but I don’t feel it is worth the money.