- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
reen Day isn’t the first band you’d think of to follow The Beatles with a “Rock Band” title of their own. While the punk rock trio has only gotten better with age, they don’t exactly have a catalog comparable to the Fab Four’s. Then again, neither does any band, but at least Green Day has a storied career that translates well to Harmonix's band-specific format. Look a little closer and you’ll discover that the similarities don’t end there – like the fact that both bands matured their sound over the years from short pop tunes to sweeping musical epics and concept albums. There’s no band quite like The Beatles, however, and that’s never more evident than with “Green Day: Rock Band,” a solid entry in the music game genre that just doesn't have the mass appeal of its predecessor.
While “The Beatles: Rock Band” offered a more comprehensive look at the band’s musical career, Green Day’s game focuses more on the seminal moments – namely, their major label debut, Dookie, and the rock operas American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. The first two albums are presented in their entirety and make up over half of the game’s 47-song set list, while 12 tracks from 21st Century Breakdown have also been included, with the remaining six already available as DLC. Rounding out the list are eight hits from the band’s other studio albums, like Insomniac’s “Brain Stew,” Nimrod’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," and Warning’s “Minority.” Surprisingly, there’s nothing from the band’s pre-Dookie days, although that’s probably for the better.
Just like the last game, Story Mode is broken up into a few different acts. You start out in a fictional warehouse venue, then head to Milton Keyes (made famous in the band’s 2005 video, “Bullet in a Bible”), and finally end with a concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland. There’s no linear narrative that forces you to take a particular path (you can jump back and forth between the three venues if you like), but it’s easier just to knock them out one at a time. Unfortunately, that’s where your freedom ends, as you still have to complete certain songs before unlocking others. Earning 3- and 5-star ratings will also net you photos, as well something new called Cred, which are used to purchase song-based challenges that reward you with cool concert footage and TV appearances.
The collectibles are a nice touch, but they don’t mean a thing if you’re not having fun playing the songs to unlock them. Thankfully, Green Day’s catalog is pretty strong, so even if you’re not a diehard fan of the band, you’ll still enjoy a majority of the included tracks. What the game lacks, however, is personality. “The Beatles: Rock Band” was all about celebrating the spirit of the group’s music, but there's nothing here that suggests that Green Day is special enough to deserve their own game. It features a measly three venues (one of which isn't even a real location) and doesn't respect the song order of the band's two concept albums. The music definitely makes it worth playing once, but just like "Guitar Hero: Metallica," only true fans will want to revisit it again and again.