While I would have never expected Harmonix to follow up The Beatles: Rock Band with a Green Day game, the songs are a lot of fun to play, and I am a big fan – so that works out well here. That said, if you are not a fan of Green Day, or Rock Band for that matter, you know this release is going to do nothing for you.
These single-artist offerings are no doubt a mixed curse. How many people like The Beatles, Green Day, Metallica, etc enough to buy a game? How much of the band's library can you include in the game? How do you include enough to keep older fans and new fans of said band happy? Lots of land mines there.
The biggest driving factor towards a purchase of this game will be if you like old Green Day (Dookie) or rock opera Green Day (American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown). Only two to three songs each appear from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning (though I am not complaining about paltry Warning tracks). Besides the six 21st Century Breakdown tracks already available in Rock Band as DLC, you are paying for three full albums and a few other hits. The game also is available in a "Plus" version that includes the tracks and completes the 21st Century Breakdown album.
Those who have played The Beatles: Rock Band will be familiar with the layout here, the interface works well. The game is broken into three venues, with the 47 songs loosely fitting into 1994, 2005, and 2009 – in other words, Dookie, American Idiot, and 21st Century Breakdown. One fictional and two real venues seems slim for the game, but they are set to highlight the three albums.
Completing songs unlocks photos, and completing challenges unlocks videos. It is a fair amount of fan service. If you do have the previously released DLC, there are extra photos and video to unlock, which requires you complete the entire 18 track 21st Century Breakdown album as one of the challenges. That will take a while.
Vocal harmonies carry over from The Beatles: Rock Band, but are much easier this time. Maybe it is because Billy Joe and Mike don't quite hit the range that John and Paul do. The vocal harmonies are also much more varied, so are not as daunting as in the last game.
Just like The Beatles: Rock Band you can head online to play head-to-head or in a band. This is all pretty much as standard as pressing the first fret button to play a green note. Not much has changed here, just the music. For a large group of people, they are going to have a hard time dropping $60 on essentially one album they like (Dookie) and not much else (the rest).
Unlike The Beatles: Rock Band, you can export the songs to play in Rock Band 2 (and the upcoming Rock Band 3), but this time it will cost you $10. People who pick up the "Plus" version of the game get a token to export the songs, so this more expensive version of the game may be worth it if you are a big fan of 21st Century Breakdown, and having the tunes available in other Rock Band games.
Thankfully the difficulty of the game is harder than The Beatles: Rock Band, more in line with Rock Band 2. Dookie has some great bass parts that are fun to play, Your enjoyment is going to come from the overall music though, as the core game has been polished to a shine by now.
If you have been waiting to play Green Day in Rock Band, this is a game for you. If you only enjoy the "old" days of Dookie, the rest might not make it worth it. It might not be what we expected as a follow up to the The Beatles: Rock Band, but Green Day has an impressive catalog of music in their own right, and Green Day: Rock Band includes pretty much every one of their songs you would want to play.
Green Day: Rock Band is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Drug Reference, Lyrics, Mild Blood. This game can also be found on: PS3, Wii. Green Day: Rock Band Plus is also available.