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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review of Green Day: Rock Band

To put in plainly – as every other review site has seemed to put it as well – if you love Green Day and Rock Band then you should purchase this game.

Yes, it does draw heavily on the band’s later material, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Would I have like all of Insomniac as opposed to 21st Century Breakdown? Of course. Did I expect it? Hell no. I’m just glad “Geek Stink Breath” was included. It being the lead-off single to Insomniac didn’t hurt its chances. That leaves me wondering, though. Where’s “Walking Contradiction”?

Song selection gripes aside – Harmonix couldn’t please everyone no matter what they did, just look at their forums – the game is what you would expect a Green Day Rock Band game to be. You essentially play through three “shows” based around their most landmark albums, Dookie, American Idiot, and the previously mentioned 21st Century Breakdown. Some other singles are thrown in during the American Idiot venue for good measure. The full albums are broken down by difficulty so you can’t play through a whole album until you unlock the challenges, unless you go into Quickplay which has everything unlocked from the get go and you can pick whatever you want.

The venues included consist of two real world stages, Milton Keys and The Fox Theater, as well as The Warehouse, which was created for the game to represent their smaller club days. Harmonix chose not to include the actual club they used to play at back in the day, 924 Gilman Street, due to the band being banned from there by the time Dookie came out so it wouldn’t have been all that genuine. Course I don’t know how a fictional venue makes up for that, but that’s not really too important.

The gameplay is standard Rock Band, expect this time, like The Beatles game, vocal harmonies included. Green Day utilize these a lot in their music, and not just singing the same lines along with the lead singer. This makes it seem like a more fulfilling experience, vocally, than The Beatles: Rock Band.

The other three instruments are a little harder than you’d expect them to be for a Green Day game, mainly due to the speed of some of the songs. The only problem here is that the way the game is set up.  By going through in the order the albums were released you’re getting the majority of the hardest songs first. When you get to the last venue and start playing the songs from 21st Century Breakdown you’ll notice that about half the album is considerably slower than compared to the rest of the material in the game and a little boring. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them. I did. Actually more than I did on the CD. The most fun I had while playing this game was singing and playing guitar at the same time during the entire American Idiot album. Neither instrument is too challenging on those songs, aside from a few moments on guitar, so the multitasking wasn’t too much of an issue. I’m not going to say it made me feel like part of the band or anything like that, but…

Overall, Green Day: Rock Band is mainly for those who love Green Day and really need 47 additional songs added to the library (6 songs from 21st Century Breakdown were released as DLC earlier in the year and are playable here as well). The graphics and interface are a step up from RB2 and right in line with The Beatles game, just not as lavish. The game is a little short, but then again, so are Green Day's earlier albums so I guess we should be used to this by now. It’ll only take a few hours to go through everything once. You can also import the tracks (for $10) into RB2 and eventually RB3 but if you don’t love GD it may seem like a lot. Although, with Rock Band 3’s potential ability to rate songs low enough so that they don’t show up in random set lists it may be worth it. I’d wait until we know if that’s actually going to work though before making the purchase.

So, if you love Green Day go ahead and pick it up. It’s probably less than full price at some places now. If not? Wait for it to get cheap and see if the RB3 skip functionality works. Some of these songs are classics and really should be in everyone’s libraries.

A list of the songs included on the disc and available for DLC:


The Warehouse:
  1. Burnout
  2. Having A Blast
  3. Chump
  4. Longview
  5. Welcome To Paradise
  6. Pulling Teeth
  7. Basket Case
  8. She
  9. Sassafras Roots
  10. When I Come Around
  11. Coming Clean
  12. Emenius Sleepus
  13. In The End
  14. F.O.D.
Milton Keys:
  1. American Idiot
  2. Jesus of Suburbia
  3. Holiday
  4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  5. Are We the Waiting/St. Jimmy
  6. Give Me Novacaine/She's A Rebel
  7. Extraordinary Girl
  8. Letterbomb
  9. Wake Me When September Ends
  10. Homecoming
  11. Whatsername
  12. Geek Stink Breath
  13. Brain Stew/Jaded
  14. Nice Guys Finish Last
  15. Hitchin' a Ride
  16. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
  17. Warning
  18. Minority
Fox Theater
  1. Song of the Century
  2. 21st Century Breakdown
  3. Know Your Enemy (Downloadable Content)
  4. Viva la Gloria (DLC)
  5. Before the Lobotomy
  6. Christian's Inferno (DLC)
  7. Last Night on Earth
  8. East Jesus Nowhere (DLC)
  9. Peacemaker
  10. Last of the American Girls (DLC)
  11. Murder City
  12. Viva la Gloria (Little Girl)
  13. Restless Heart Syndrome
  14. Horseshoes and Handgrenades
  15. The Static Age
  16. 21 Guns (DLC)
  17. American Eulogy
  18. See the Light