You already know if you want this game or not.
While most fans of Green Day were indoctrinated by the release of Dookie's Longview, I was introduced to them at some point in 1992 by my punk rocker friend with the release of 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. They were a catchy band and pretty much instantly likable to my teenage self. However, with the 1994 release of Dookie, their masturbatory anthem rang true to every bored kid in the nation and stardom was achieved. Here we are, sixteen years and eight albums later, and Green Day has their own video game in the form of Green Day: Rock Band.
The gameplay of the Rock Band series has not changed significantly in quite some time so I'll just quickly recap how these things work. Colored notes flow from the top of the screen to the bottom along a fret board and it's your job to "play" the notes in proper time using either a guitar (bass and lead) or drumset. Vocals are measured by the pitch of your voice. The more accurate you are at hitting these notes and tones, the higher your score and the more stars you'll earn. GD: RB does include one newer feature that was introduced with The Beatles Rock Band, and that is the ability to perform three part harmonies. The stars are treated like a form of currency allowing you to open up venue specific challenges including marathon full album playthroughs for Dookie and American Idiot, or to unlock some Green Day specific awards.
Much like the majority of Green Day's fanbase, the game's soundtrack starts at the release of Dookie and ends with their latest, 21st Century Breakdown, so it's a bit dissapointing not hearing some of their roots presented here. Still, both of their major releases, Dookie and American Idiot are present completely with 21st Century Breakdown six songs shy of entirety. Those six songs will be available via $DLC if you'd like to ensure three complete albums in this one package. There are a few other songs from different releases like Nimrod's Good Riddance and Warning's titular track, but the majority of the soundtrack focuses on those three albums. Needless to say, if you're not a Green Day fan don't bother playing this game.
Now to my biggest complaint about this game: It feels like a competent form of lazy. The songs are split among three total venues, so you'll be playing three or more set lists in each location, looking at the period specific Billie Joe, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt, doing the same animations, for long stretches of time. Also, Green Day is a three man band so it would have made perfect sense to put a little extra work in and allow players to finally be able to sing and play an instrument simultaneously, but the engine still forces one profile signed in to play a guitar and a separate one to sing. This actually causes an issue later on down the line as one song from 21st Century Breakdown is vocals only, so you won't be able to blow through the whole game with a single instrument. With the primary focus being on three of their albums, this doesn't feel at all like a historical record of Green Day as The Beatles Rock Band was to The Beatles, but more of an embiggened track pack.
Green Day: Rock Band is exactly what you thought it would be when it was announced. Nothing more, nothing less. If you're into Green Day and aren't burnt out on music games yet, then this is for you. As someone who's been wanting something new out of the music genre, this title doesn't bring anything new to the table other than songs and some Green Day unlockables. I hope Harmonix's Rock Band 3 work will freshen up things a bit.
- All of Dookie, All of American Idiot.
- Fully exportable to Rock Band.
- All the latest features from The Beatles Rock Band
- Having only three venues feels quite lazy.
- Still no way to use one profile for simultaneous guitar and vocals.
- More like Green Day: Chord Hero, amirite?