Most people will know by the title of this game if they want to buy it or not. In case you're still undecided, let me help you out. Do you like Green Day? Do you like Rockband? If you've answered yes to either of those questions you're probably good to go pick it up and you'll have fun. Green Day:RockBand is Harmonix's return to the band specific Rock Band game. What worked so well for The Beatles is once again the format for this go around with; in case you're not catching on here, music from Green Day. I think the big distinction that needs to be made here, is that unlike The Beatles:RockBand( TB:RB ), Green Day's version requires a stronger prior connection to the band.
Growing up wearing out my copy of "Dookie", is definitely what draws me to this game, however the trip through the game is not quite the epic story-telling journey that TB:RB was. For starters you only get 3 different venues, and while they're three important venues, and they do the job of conveying the era and mood for the band's music of the time frame, it's a little disappointing. It doesn't take from the presentation of the game, however, as the actions of the band, particularly drummer Tré's stage walk-abouts, are a perfect representation of the punk trio. Another glaring difference between the two is the set-list. Green Day:RockBand will give you just about any Green Day song you would ever want in RockBand, save for the ones already released as DLC ). Included are complete albums of Dookie, and American Idiot with various hits from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning, as well as the conclusion of 21st Century Breakdown to complete the album once coupled with the DLC. The best part of it all is that for an extra $10, you can export the entire 47 tracks for use with RockBand 2, something that was left out of The Beatles' version. It important to note that you can get a version of the game, called "Green Day RockBand Plus" which includes both an export code and 6 Green Day DLC tracks, which would complete your 21st Century Breakdown album. It's only an extra $10, so if you plan to buy all the DLC and Export the tracks, the Plus edition is the way to go.
The game is packed with bonus content that fans of the band are going to love. There's a ton of video footage, pictures and audio tracks that you unlock while playing the game that give you a glimpse into the bands journey from young marijuana loving teens, to today's punk-musical veterans.
Removed from The Beatles' format is the inability to change the song. Green Day RockBand allows both the whammy bar, and the drum fills to be your own creation, and actually alters the song. I felt it was a key component to put back in, as Tré has been known to go a little wild from time to time on the drums, as show evident by a number of drum solos you come across over the course of a play through. The Career mode is similar to The Story mode in TB:RB in which you are able to take a trip down memory lane along side the band and see the way they shaped their careers and how it all unfolded for them. One of the most interesting aspects for me here, was witnessing the changes to the bands music as they go along, in both complexity, and style. Quick Play mode is also available, with all tracks unlocked from the get go. The aforementioned export pack is the way to play these bad boys, mixing them into your library makes the game an option even for those DLC collectors who just want the music, and don't care about the band. 47 songs would cost you about $100, so even after the export fees you're ahead.
I found music from like-eras a little repetitive to play, so it was refreshing to see that right out of the gate, the career mode allows you to jump in to any of the venues and start the first set of that venue. So I was able to jump in and play some high tempo Dookie, and then head on over to some ballads from 21st Century Breakdown and then kicked it up a little with over 9 minutes of Jesus of Suburbia!
The overall difficulty of the game is pretty much spot on with RockBand in general. Like the Green Day, The Offspring and Blink 182 songs already available as DLC, the high tempo nature of the genre can make for some grueling challenges, no more-so is this true, than on the drums. I am far from a RockBand drum guru, but I can generally do ok on the hard drums. Not the case with Green Day RockBand. Your hands are doing two different things, and the bass pedal a third and my co-ordination stops well short of the tempo these songs demand of you. I was able to hold my own in all levels of the guitar/bass and found the singing to be a little on the easier side, specifically when dealing with the two and three part harmonies, much easier than with the Fab Four. I dared not venture to the land of expert drums.
As I mentioned, Green Day RockBand is going to appeal the most to fans of the band. While I felt that The Beatles' RockBand had a broader audience appeal, and that one of the strengths of that game was it's ability to introduce a whole new generation to one of music's most important bands, the same is not true for Green Day, at least not at that level. Even as a moderate Green Day fan, I grew a little tired of some of the catalog, something I think bigger fans of the band definitely won't feel. That being said, it is undoubtedly the complete package in terms of what it is. I can't think of anything else you could get out of the game without packing in Billie Joe Armstrong himself.
The Way I See It: A good collection of music, from a great band that translate well to RockBand. Buy it if you like the Boys from Berkeley