Developer: Harmonix, Demiurge Studios
Publisher: MTV Games/EA Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii
They may not deserve it, but these punks have themselves a fun music game
Of all the rock groups that could follow The Beatles, Metallica, Aerosmith, Queen, AC/DC, and Van Halen into the pantheon of bands with their own music game, Green Day isn't the first that comes to mind. Or the second. Or even the 25th. But having played Green Day: Rock Band, its pretty clear that the worst thing about the game is the idea that they should be next in line after The Beatles, Metallica, et al.
Well, that and their tepid and sappy slow jam “Last Night On Earth.” But mostly their place in line.
What saves Green Day: Rock Band from being pointless is that most of Green Day's songs actually work well in this context. We've said it before, and we'll probably have to say it again, but rocky music—be it hard rock, classic rock, or punk—just works well in this kind of game. And while Green Day's snotty punk isn't as complex, and thus as challenging, and further thus as much fun to play as Metallica's or The Beatles' post-Revolver material, it certainly works far better than the overly simple pop you often find in the regular Rock Band games.
That's not to say this doesn't have its share of pop. Green Day is a pop-punk band, and they're not afraid to get populist (again, see: “Last Night On Earth”). But unlike The Beatles' outing, which started off rather poppy but got more complicated, and thus more interesting, Green Day have always been a little bit pop and a little bit punk. As a result, such uninteresting-to-play songs as the simplistic and tepid “Wake Me Up When September Ends” are often followed by such rowdy, fun rockers as “Warning.”
As has become standard for band-specific music games, this has a mix of tunes that'll eventually be included on The Best Of Green Day, as well as the kind of deep album cuts a real fan would want. But the game goes a step further by including their albums Dookie and American Idiot in their entirety, while last year's 21st Century Breakdown can also be completed if you have the songs from it that were previously available for downloading. Still, with only 47 songs built-in, the set list is a little light. Which, sadly, is the same problem suffered by Metallica's game. And The Beatles' game. And Van Halen's….
Green Day: Rock Band does, however, have one advantage over every other band-specific music game ever made: it's songs can be imported into other music games. Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and the upcoming Rock Band 3, to be specific. Granted, it'll cost you ten bucks, and isn't an option for Wii people, but with 47 songs, that's far less than any other track pack.
Oh, and for those who are wondering, no, you also don't have to buy any new instrument controllers, the ones you have will work fine. In fact, if you have three mics, you can do the whole vocal harmony shtick that was first introduced to this series by The Beatles: Rock Band.
Ultimately, how you'll feel about this game will directly mirror how you feel about Green Day. Big fans will love it, and haters will hate it. As for people who don't especially love or hate Green Day, but are looking for the next great music game, you should probably borrow or rent it, and save your money for the upcoming Rock Band 3 or Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock. There are still some things Green Day doesn't deserve.