published Tuesday, Jul 20th
There are plenty of band-specific Rock Band titles on the market, but until now, the only fully-fleshed game was the psychedelic sound of the 60’s with The Beatles. The latest addition to Harmonix’s franchise is Green Day centric, providing coverage from their rise to fame with Dookie to their cult following of 21st Century Breakdown.
Unlike other track-only band based games, Green Day: Rock Band is fully priced, with 47 songs from their last six albums. However, there are no bundled peripherals, just a disc and a code to add the tracks to the libraries of Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and eventually Rock Band 3.
The premise is pretty basic; as you would expect it is just Rock Band with a Green Day theme. Quick Play is exactly what it says on the tin; where all songs are unlocked and are available for any instrument at any difficulty. Career mode is split into three locations and dates that actually appeared on tour with the band: The Warehouse in 1994, Milton Keynes in 2005, and The Fox Theater Oakland 2009. Each can be played locally (multiplayer or not) with any arrangement of instruments, or online where the instrument selected is teamed with other players on Xbox Live. The atmosphere of these three specific gigs makes all the difference to the game.
The staging areas are the same for each set-list that are unlocked as you play, but the caricatures of the band members on stage may have different instruments and animated movements depending on the style of the song. For example, on the solo acoustic song Time of Your Life Billie Joe stands affront the stage with an acoustic guitar as there are no other parts; the feeling actually puts a smile on your face as you play the game.
There are only two ‘versions’ of the trio though, one colourful Dookie era outfits, and one of the deeply dark transformation of American Idiot. This awareness gives impressions to the player when watching the scrolling keys that are dropping down the screen, making strumming the guitar, singing down the microphone, or banging the drums a lot more engaging. It would have been nice to see some of the earlier performances, instead of just mixing the albums into each gig, if only because they contain the most memorable songs of the band in my youth, and also my absolute favourite songs in the career of the band.
As for actually playing the game, the same Rock Band application applies; from a No Fail mode brought in from Rock Band 2, through to Expert. Each difficulty increases the variety of coloured notes and the amount of them on screen at once. At the end of each track a score is given and an appropriate star rating is applied to your performance of the song. These are then equated to ‘Cred’ which unlock Awards. Challenges are also present and consist of completing a number of songs in a row or finishing set-lists with a certain amount of stars. Completing these will earn their own selected pieces of extra content including interviews and photos as part of the Awards feature.
Practice modes are included for guitar tutorials, practice for specific songs, and a drum trainer for a drum tutorial with freestyle play, and Tre’s Hits – where it will teach you Tre’s favourite drum beats at a selected speed.
Overall Green Day: Rock Band is a neat package. There is plenty on disc to keep hardcore fans entertained for hours, especially with the four different instruments to play through. With that in mind, there are over 180 different tracks, excluding difficulty changes. Do the maths and that is around 9 hours of content.
For those that don’t like the genre of music altogether, it is fair to say that there is nothing for you here. It isn’t flawed, but as with all Rock Band titles, if you don’t enjoy the music then you are not going to enjoy the music game. But, even for those who are not particularly crazy about Green Day, and might remember the songs from childhood, Rock Band keeps things fresh and interesting with the translated music on-screen, and creates a thoroughly enjoyable experience.