Although Green Day: Rock Band won’t make you an instant fan of the Oakland-based punk trio, those who already enjoy their music will have a blast with this rhythm game.
The Beatles are a hard act to follow, but that didn’t prevent developer Harmonix from taking a controversial decision. After acquiring the rights to develop a video game based on the legendary rock and roll band from Liverpool, Harmonix decided that they wanted to release a title with a similar treatment, but it was going to be based on Green Day instead. A lot of people disliked this decision since they though that Green Day was an inferior band and that it didn’t have the mass appeal of The Beatles. Although Green Day: Rock Band won’t make you an instant fan of the Oakland-based punk trio, those who already enjoy their music will have a blast with this rhythm game.
Before moving on to the specifics, I have to say that Green Day is one of my personal favorite music acts (and while we’re on the subject, I don’t like The Beatles that much.) How much do I like Green Day you might ask? Well, I listen to their albums religiously, I dyed my hair green once and the first song that I learned on guitar was a Green Day song. I’m not saying this to brag about my fandom, but if there’s anyone who should have a great time with this game, that would be people like me.
The list of songs is probably the part about this game that people will be more than interested and let me tell you, the soundtrack is spot on. For starters, both Dookie and American Idiot (which happen to be fan favorites and award-winning albums) are included in their entirety. Furthermore, some of the best songs from Nimrod, Insomniac, Warning and 21st Century Breakdown are part of the extensive soundtrack. If you’re interested in the hits, this game has you covered. If, on the other hand, you were hoping to play some obscure songs, you might be disappointed so make sure you check out the soundtrack first.
As soon as you start playing the game, the painstaking attention to detail will definitely catch your attention, so if you know anything about the band, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve played any of the other Rock Band games before, you already know what to expect in terms of audio and gameplay and there aren’t that many surprises in those departments. The visual treatment though, is really attractive. A lot of time and effort was put into the virtual recreation of the three band members, their instruments, some of their most iconic concerts and even their tattoos and movements. If you’ve been following Green Day for some time, you definitely recognize their unique style from their humble yet raucous beginnings to their most ambitious and spectacular arena concert group. Apart from the band members, three iconic venues are wonderfully recreated, which include the Warehouse, Milton Keynes and the Fox Theater.
The modes included are quick play, career mode, training, extras and achievements, and while there aren’t that many surprises, this is what you’d expect from a game of this kind. It’s worth mentioning that all the achievements are lyrics from songs or references to albums, interviews and puns and as you progress though the game, you unlock different pictures and videos.
If anything, Green Day: Rock Band clearly shows is how much the band has grown over the years and how unbelievably fun and entertaining their music can be. Additionally, the motion capture technology makes the live performances convincing and engaging to watch. Some of the trademark moves of each band member is well represented here, from Billie Joe’s jumping around on one foot to Tre making weird faces.
But even as a loyal fan I have to admit that there are some problems here and there. Some of the achievements require you to own specific songs that don’t come with the game, so if you are interested in getting every achievement, you’ll have to purchase the 21st Century Breakdown album. Also, even though a lot of time and effort went into the band members looking like their real-life counterparts, the audience looks absolutely terrible, since they are contrived-looking puppets that move unconvincingly. Finally, the lyrics that have swearing are censored and while this is how Harmonix has always treated their rhythm games, I can’t feel to roll my eyes when there’s a pause in the middle of a song.
In the end, Green Day: Rock Band is one of the most entertaining Rock Band games I’ve played in a long time, but your enjoyment with this game depends on how much you like the band. Fans of the punk band will be more than pleased with the game because it’s brimming with personality, the soundtrack is simply brilliant and playing those songs is fun no matter which instrument you have. Green Day: Rock Band reminded me why I love both Rock Band and Green Day so much and for better or for worse, I don’t think I’ll ever play a band-oriented game that makes me feel that way ever again.
Editors note: As of this review, exporting songs is no longer possible due to the offer expiring on April 30th, 2015, so if you’re interested in getting Green Day: Rock Band to move all those songs to Rock Band: Blitz, Rock Band 3 or Rock Band 4, you won’t be able to do so.