So the most obvious thing I could write about this latest release is also the thing you’ll hear repeated time and time again across other gaming sites; that is to say that Green Day: Rock Band is essentially Rock Band, with a whole bunch of Green Day in it. For the most part, whether you will be wanting to part with your cash for GD:RB is down to whether an all Green Day rhythm action game appeals to you, but judging the product on these merits alone is, I suppose, a little narrow minded.
Let’s get the biggest problem out of the way first; Green Day’s material isn’t exactly what you might call ‘varied’. Whereas The Beatles – who have also undergone the solus Rock Band treatment – were a band that continued to develop and expand their sound in the roughly eight or so years the group were together, yet Green Day have taken twenty three years to evolve from punk rock to alternative rock with a punk edge. There’s just not that significant a difference between the various ‘famous’ sets to keep things interesting for those with just a passing interest in the band. It would have been really great to have a dozen or so songs from bands that inspired Green Day’s sound at different points in their career, a little Operation Ivy or AFI really would have strengthened the title to no end.
Another big issue is that if you are a massive fan of the band and are expecting a lavish video game recreation of their career to date, you’ll be sorely disappointed, the amount of love and polish that went into The Beatles: Rock Band just isn’t here. That’s not to say that it’s a sloppily presented title, far from it, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool look great, the spray can art style in the menu system works well and signature playing styles of the band – such as Billie Joe’s forward lean while singing – are all present and correct. There are also photos and videos to unlock through the career mode and other trinkets that you’ll probably spend very little time with. Thankfully, one thing you won’t have to unlock is the complete set of 40+ tracks included on the disc, so if you want to jump straight in and play American Idiot, you’re more than welcome. In addition, unless you have the Wii version of the game, you can export all of the songs to other versions of Rock Band, albeit for a nominal fee.
Being based on Rock Band 2′s solid framework and with Harmonix’s superb note tracking, Green Day’s work has never played better in a game, plus there’s the usual options to play lefty, adjust for delay, no fail mode etc etc. Everything you’d expect from Rock Band 2 is present and correct, with the addition of three part harmonies taken from The Beatles: Rock Band, which adds another layer of authenticity to the proceedings, albeit one that arguably few will come to bother with. And while it’s a good thing they didn’t take many risks and change the Rock Band 2 formula up too much, it does unfortunately leave you with the feeling that this is a glorified expansion pack, very little more than enhanced DLC burnt to a physical disc.
Still, it does do what Rock Band does best, which is to say that it provides a great music game to play with friends and family, though one only fans of the artist will particularly appreciate. Rock Band 2 is still a superb game and if Green Day are a band you enjoy listening to then this is a no-brainer.
MLG Rating: 8/10
Platform: Playstation 3 (Xbox 360, Wii) Release Date: 11/06/2010
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Green Day: Rock Band for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of seven days on a Playstation 3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.