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Green Day: Rock Band Review

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Green Day: Rock Band makes good on the promises implicit in the title, but it requires an appreciation of both Green Day and Rock Band to really enjoy.


 Just what the doctor ordered for Green Day basket cases.
Harmonix set the gold standard for band-specific music games last year with The Beatles: Rock Band, a lovingly rendered tribute to arguably the most influential pop music act of the 20th century, a game with the capacity to introduce the band's older fan base to the world of rhythm games while simultaneously familiarizing the younger game-playing crowd with a band they might only be superficially aware of. At the end of my review of that game, I posited that there might not be another band out there "important" enough to warrant such treatment, and Green Day: Rock Band kind of proves that point. I'm a fan of Green Day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Green Day: Rock Band, but there's nothing about this package that transcends its parts, despite the game's structural similarities to The Beatles: Rock Band. This is a game for Green Day fans that have been waiting to play some of the pop-punk stalwarts' music in a Rock Band game, and as competently built as it is, it has little value for those who don't fall within that specific Venn Diagram overlap. As fan service it's pretty terrific, but it's no cultural event, and there's no relevance beyond that face value.

That said, I think Green Day, as a band, pretty well justifies the Rock Band treatment. Starting with Dookie and ending with 21st Century Breakdown, there's a distinct through-line for the band's musical progression, which goes from snotty pop punk about boredom and masturbation to a ballsy, full-production punk rock opera, with the music's catchiness being the most obvious consistency. The game charts this progression over a series of three different venues, each marking a key stage in the band's development. The warehouse venue represents Green Day's early days, relatively speaking, while the Milton Keynes venue--where Green Day shot its Bullet in a Bible concert DVD--represents the band's American Idiot-era resurgence, and the Fox Theater serves as showcase for the band's 21st Century Breakdown material. Like the band's music, the stages become more and more ostentatious and theatrical as you progress, though a mere three stages for 16 years of music feels a little thin. Licensing issues be damned, but I feel like the absence of a mud-caked Woodstock 94 venue neglects one of Green Day's most well-known and career-defining live performances.

 Dreams come true for Green Day fans on this boulevard.
While I found the number of venues lacking, the band itself tends to keep things interesting, with different era-appropriate looks and some really spot-on motion-capture that ably conveys Green Day's on-stage personality. More importantly, the 47 songs included with the game feature every Green Day song I'd want to play in a Rock Band game, and then some. With this you get Dookie in its entirety, the hits from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning, everything from American Idiot, and the handful of tracks from 21st Century Breakdown that haven't already been released as general Rock Band DLC. I might bellyache over the fact that these previously released songs aren't bundled here if I found that material as compelling as the band's earlier stuff. Unlike The Beatles: Rock Band, the songs here are fully exportable for play in Rock Band 2 (and, when it comes out, Rock Band 3,) though you'll have to pay a $10 export fee, which is double what past Rock Band games have charged for this convenience. Still, $70 for 47 songs is cheaper than what you'd pay for all those tracks as piecemeal DLC at the current going rates... assuming you'd actually want every song included. 

If you're the type of Green Day fan that would want all those songs, though, you'll probably appreciate all of the game's bonus material. There are tons of publicity and candid photos of the band for you to unlock and peruse, as well as a sampling of great MTV-sourced interview and performance footage of the band that you'll unlock by completing specific challenges which reveal themselves as you play through the career. As someone who grew up in the mid-1990s with Green Day, I found a lot of this archival footage particularly compelling in a time-capsule sort of way. 

 And uhh... Geek Stink Breath. Yeah, I got nothing here.
If you're a Rock Band fan first and Green Day second, you'll find that the level of challenge here falls somewhere in between what Rock Band 2 and The Beatles: Rock Band offered. Green Day's music errs towards pretty speedy, straight-ahead stuff, but Billie Joe Armstrong tends to sing in a range that I found far more approachable than most music games, the three-part harmonies are simpler, and thus, easier than what was found in The Beatles: Rock Band, and bassist Mike Dirnt has a knack for walking bass lines that translate into fun, interesting gameplay.

Aside from a few more venues, there's not much more that I'd want from such a package that isn't present here. And yet, for all the points that I've made here for and against Green Day: Rock Band, it's all pretty ancillary to the fundamental truth that, if you don't like Green Day, and you don't want to play their music in a Rock Band game, you're not going to get a whole lot out of Green Day: Rock Band.
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Posted by ChickenPants

Greenday songs are just too simple for me to see the appeal in this.And I like Greenday.

Posted by Kurtdyoung

I think I am gonna get this, It seems pretty good.

Edited by SJSchmidt93

I like old Green Day, but I burned out on music games long, long ago.
 
Also, why is it un-clickable on the front page?

Posted by TomA

So what your saying Ryan, is that in order to fully enjoy this game, i need to enjoy Green Day's musical styling-s, as well as playing Rock Band?

Posted by Damien

But can I be the Jesus of Suburbia?

Posted by Toxin066

Thanks for the review Ryan. I think I'll pass on this until I find it at a discount price.

Posted by bretthancock

Spot on review.  People have been hating on this game while completely ignoring the fact that its a really simple deal.  If you don't like Green Day and you don't like rhythm games why the hell would you waste your time and efforts on this game?

Posted by angelfan91
@Damien said:
"But can I be the Jesus of Suburbia? "

St. Jimmy says...maybe????
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Huhuhuhuh... whacking a bass line. 
 
Wait, that's not dirty sounding.
Moderator Online
Posted by SgtReznor

i think i might wait until this is in the bargain bin - i loved their very early stuff, but lost me from about that "time of your life" song.
 
or alternatively, I'll buy it, rip the songs, then take it back to exchange it for something worth while

Edited by XaiaX

For $70 you can get the "plus" edition which includes the 6 previous DLC songs and a free import into RB2/3.  That's what I got since I didn't care about the DLC until they announced this game, now I can get it all at once.   

 Greenday songs are just too simple for me to see the appeal in this.And I like Greenday.    

This is not true from what I've played / seen on the drums. That's the best thing about punk-ish music. The guitars and singing are generally simple but the drums are awesome.
Posted by Sweep

 Green Day: Rock Band makes good on the promises implicit in the title, but it requires an appreciation of both Green Day and Rock Band to really enjoy.  


 
SCIENCE! 
Moderator
Posted by Stackboy

Got the call today, my copies in. Will start to play tomorrow. But you confirmed what I expected. Fun for RB fans and Green Day listeners alike.

Posted by MachoFantastico

The demo was fun, might still pick it up. Addicted to building up my Rock Band 2 catalogue. 

Posted by MormonWarrior

Where the freak is my The Doobie Brothers: Rock Band?!? Forget freaking Green Day...

Posted by Homeslice
@XaiaX said:

 Greenday songs are just too simple for me to see the appeal in this.And I like Greenday.    

This is not true from what I've played / seen on the drums. That's the best thing about punk-ish music. The guitars and singing are generally simple but the drums are awesome. "
 
Not to mention the bass on the songs from Dookie and Insomniac. I hope this wakes a lot of people up to just how brilliant the bass parts in their earlier material is. Impressive playing, always melodic, accents meshing great with Tre's hi-hat accents...there's some seriously textbook hookmaking stuff going on here that is lost on a lot of people only interested in popular music.
 
So I'm very happy to dig into the rhythm parts to this game. And from playing the demo, I'm happy that they copied Billie Joe's quick strumming technique on chord changes that he employs and that practically nobody picks up on. When you play it on expert, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's annoyingly hard with a strum bar, but so much fun to play on an actual guitar.
 
Basically, if you play this on expert, particularly the early stuff, I think you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the high quality of that music.
 
But don't get me started on the fluffier moments of 21st Century Breakdown. Breaks my heart, really. And the whole Broadway stuff.....oh man....better put Kerplunk! on again....
Posted by Stealthmaster86

I like Green Day and have been a fan for a LONG time. Warning is still one of my most favorite of theres but I just don't see myself getting this. I have never owned a Rock Band or Guitar Hero game. Why start now? The ONLY thing I could see myself getting RB is either Chevelle or Modest Mouse but I don't see that happening.

Posted by gunslingerNZ

I wonder why they decided to do Green Day. There are a bunch of other bands I'd prefer to have a Rock Band game made out of.

Posted by dudeglove

Fuck Green Day, just put Stairway on already.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85
@Homeslice said:
" @XaiaX said:

 Greenday songs are just too simple for me to see the appeal in this.And I like Greenday.    

This is not true from what I've played / seen on the drums. That's the best thing about punk-ish music. The guitars and singing are generally simple but the drums are awesome. "
 Not to mention the bass on the songs from Dookie and Insomniac. I hope this wakes a lot of people up to just how brilliant the bass parts in their earlier material is. Impressive playing, always melodic, accents meshing great with Tre's hi-hat accents...there's some seriously textbook hookmaking stuff going on here that is lost on a lot of people only interested in popular music.  So I'm very happy to dig into the rhythm parts to this game. And from playing the demo, I'm happy that they copied Billie Joe's quick strumming technique on chord changes that he employs and that practically nobody picks up on. When you play it on expert, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's annoyingly hard with a strum bar, but so much fun to play on an actual guitar.  Basically, if you play this on expert, particularly the early stuff, I think you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the high quality of that music.  But don't get me started on the fluffier moments of 21st Century Breakdown. Breaks my heart, really. And the whole Broadway stuff.....oh man....better put Kerplunk! on again.... "
This is why I am excited for this game as well.
Posted by TheIneffableBob

I think people say that the Green Days from several years ago are of higher quality than the newer Days maybe like dairy products but what is the rock Band?

Posted by RobotNinjaHornets
@dudeglove said:
" Fuck Green Day, just put Stairway on already. "
Led Zeppelin sucked.
 
Also this should've had some stuff from 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. That album had some pretty good solos.
Posted by jonnyboy

Look I love power chords as much as the next man, but translate that to the simplicity that is Rock Band notation and this game just doesn't deliver the challenge that those playing on higher difficulty levels. I'll rent it cos I fancy playing a bit of Greenday, but I can't justify buying it, only because I recon just like Rock band 2 and the Beatles, after a few weeks most of it will be 5/gold stared.

Posted by SlantedRoom

ehhhh,  i see why they made this game.. kind of.. but i still don't really agree with it.. i honestly think beatles are the only band that really DESERVES a rb game 100% committed to them.
Posted by yakityyakblah

"Green Day: Rock Band makes good on the promises implicit in the title, but it requires an appreciation of both Green Day and Rock Band to really enjoy.  " 
 
Umm... duh? 
 
Isn't that kind of implied? What dipshit is going to buy Green Day Rockband unless they like Green Day and Rockband? I mean, these band games have the most on the nose titles of any games ever and yet every review seems to make it a point to clear up the great mystery of whether someone who hates the very core of the games concept will enjoy it. It's like if someone was reviewing a hamburger and went, while the hamburger delivers on the promise of being a hamburger fans of hotdogs may be disappointed to find that this is not a hotdog.

Posted by FinalDasa

This is pretty much the only review that can be written for this game, I assume.  
And Ryan does a great job specifically spell it out.  
I think the worst part is the possibly beginning of a Guitar Hero-ing of this franchise. Sure music games might have lost a huge part of their momentum but pure fan service may not be the route.  
 
It will be very interesting to see what Rock Band 3 brings. 

Posted by TadThuggish

Green Day is bad at what they do.  At least, they have been since about 1999 or so.  Just like all other GH/RB games, the pure gameplay will surely be fun, but what makes a game great is the brilliant music, which this game often sorely lacks.  Whether you like Green Day or not, this seems more like a quick cash grab than anything else.

Posted by StealthRaptor

Fuck Green Day.

Posted by Lies

Just like to point potential buyers to the ATMOSPHERIC drop in the Beatles: Rock Band price in less than a year. I expect a similar descent here; waiting will pay handsomely I think.

Posted by hagridore

Cool, wanna pick it up now. 
 
I don't get the haters. They act like Rock Band is an award that some bands don't deserve. Its a game for fans of Green Day that takes nothing from you.

Edited by kuma17

What no other bands "important enough" to warrant the same treatment??? 
 
What about The Rolling Stones? The Clash? The Ramones?  David Bowie even?
  
I would call a rock band game about The Rolling Stones "culturally significant". They're still going and are probably one of the most influential and powerful rock bands in the world. I mean, they're definitely on par with The Beatles and in my opinion are better, they're songs are much more interesting. The Beatles are frankly boring, they're just hyped about so much. The Stones are much cooler too, a game about their story would be fascinating. And Exile on Main Street is still one of the greatest albums of all time, if not the greatest.  
 
Sorry, but as a Rolling Stones fan, i'm just a bit offended... But otherwise a good review.  
 
edit:   Oh and Rolling Stones songs would be great to play as well..

Posted by Shaanyboi

It just so happens I really enjoy Rock Band.... and I REALLY enjoy Green Day.  
 
That said... I have never shelled the money to GET Rock Band, so.... I kinda can't get this.  Unless I wanna dish up a lot of cash and considering I'll be leaving for school again once summer is out....noooot very ideal. 

Posted by JacDG

I like Green Day, they have some songs that are, in my opinion, very great and I enjoy listening to them from time to time, so when this game is very very cheap I'll get it, probably with along Beatles Rock Band, I only have Rock Band 2 but I'd like to expand even though I play with myself (hahah very funny..... just don't) 99%of the time :/

Posted by Fjordson
@dudeglove said:
" Fuck Green Day, just put Stairway on already. "
QFT. Green Day is absolute shit.
Posted by Scott757

Bring on a U2: Rockband!
Posted by Jensonb

Can't wait till Friday when this comes out in the UK. Heading straight out of an exam, hopping on a bus to what you Americans would call "the mall" and grabbing my copy.

Posted by Digi7alS3lf

70 bucks for 47 songs?  No way.
 Make it DLC, nobody wants EVERY song anyway. In my experience, when i play RockBand, there's a certain list you stick to, and the rest of the song are just filler.

Posted by 234r2we232
@Homeslice: Played it. Was not impressed. Not to mention, the obnoxious characters in the background were distracting :(
 
 I still believe this game failed when the concept was drawn up for Green Day to have their own game. The charts don't hold up, and the music certainly doesn't. Maybe they'll put out an update that makes the band likable?
Posted by colinjw

I am not a greenday fan but I would think of picking this up just for dookie. 
  
Where is GWAR rockband?

Posted by Venatio

I'm a big fan of Green Day, I even like all of their new stuff, so I'll probably get this soon
 
Good review

Posted by Tikicobra

WAITWAITWAITWAITWAIT 
 
So I have to enjoy Green Day AND Rock Band to enjoy Green Day Rock Band?!

Posted by Aarny91

I effing love Green Day and this sounds fun. Too bad I'm just not that interested in music games.

Posted by stinky
@RobotNinjaHornets said:
" @dudeglove said:
" Fuck Green Day, just put Stairway on already. "
Led Zeppelin sucked. Also this should've had some stuff from 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. That album had some pretty good solos. "
this is whats great about new generations coming in, finally people are free to admit Zeppelin sucked. 
 (though i do like Stairway and a riff here and there)
Edited by Nintaiyo

" Green Day: Rock Band makes good on the promises implicit in the title, but it requires an appreciation of both Green Day and Rock Band to really enjoy."
 
I know what you meant by this, but the way it reads makes it appear utterly redundant. :P

Posted by miishypiishy

Is anybody else disappointed over the absence of the Woodstock '94 venue? Just like Ryan said, it "neglects one of Green Day's most well-known and career-defining live performances." I get the whole licensing thing and all that, but c'mon. That show put Green Day on the fuckin map. That's almost like if they made The Beatles: Rock Band without the Ed Sullivan show. Insane.
 
If Harmonix had trouble coming up with venues, they could have done something creative with Green Day's music videos and tried recreating some of them as playable stages. The videos for "Basket Case," "Minority," "American Idiot," "Nice Guys Finish Last," or even "Longview" all could have resulted in some fun places to play. Granted, these aren't actual venues in which Green Day performed, but at least it would have varied the scenery a bit more.

Posted by Lambert

4 stars too many.

Posted by TheYear20XX

Raaah I don't like Green Day why didn't they use [my favorite band] instead. 
 
I wouldn't have given Green Day their own game but I can understand why Harmonix did and at least they put as much effort into this as they do all their other releases. So, kudos.

Posted by FelixCulpa

Yay! Gonna hopefully get this tommorow. Just saw them live this saturday!

Posted by ThePwnee

I would have preferred more old Green Day. American Idiot and 21st Century suck hard.

Posted by nail1080

The review itself reads more like a 2 or 3 star game but meh whatever another overrated music game. After last year I thought they wouldn't get decent reviews ever again but I gues the big waste of plastic spaces shall continue to whore up all the shelve space again.

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