Work your way to the top…from the top!?
When news first seeped out about Green Day: Rock Band during waves upon waves of uninspiring DLC, my fret hand rejoiced at the possibility of dousing myself in gallons of songs from one of my favourite bands. It’s pretty much anyone’s natural reaction (…hopefully) when they’re given the possibility to become a Fischer Price cover band of their idols, but Harmonix’s previous duet with The Beatles means that the tenacious trio must follow in the daunting looking footsteps of legends. Legends who sung of insufficiently camouflaged nautical transport.
Though the raucous punk soundtrack is anything but similar to that of the mop-headed Liverpudlians, flicking through the menus and the general set-up of Green Day: Rock Band lends quite a few similarities to The Beatles own Rock Band debut. Sure, the rainbows and stars have been replaced by razors and bombs, yet players can still easily assign instruments and difficulties easily and cycle through pictures and videos earned in their tribute career. Completing basic set-lists unlock songs, completing songs gains players archive photographs of the band and a metaphorical currency known as ‘Cred’, ‘Cred’ unlocks challenges consisting of more songs and completing challenges earns videos. The basis of your career is to follow this path until everything is unlocked and you look like the ultimate stalker and it’s a remarkably simple process with little substance. However, with an impressive roster of songs, great visual merit and a hard hitting soundtrack, the collectable quest is an enjoyable one for any Green Day fan.
Vocal Harmonies also make a return on certain songs, allowing the rich in USB microphones to accommodate 6 players at one time. Though the gameplay dynamics of none of the instruments has changed, let alone evolved, the familiar rhythmic button bashing, pad smashing is still entertaining, and a vocal interface that’s much easier to read makes singing in groups less of a awkward bundle of lyrics and just an awkward bundle of friends.
A big obnoxious ‘YAY’ for the poppy punked Green Day fan
Though the 47 song package sounds somewhat slim, it contains 2 full albums from the bands’ back catalogue, both on the extreme ends of the Green Day timeline in order to please perhaps the more vindictive and judgemental fans. Classic kick-off album Dookie successfully injects life threatening combinations of crack and sugar to punch forth the fast paced and hard hitting punk warm-up, whereas the more recent American Idiot brings aboard the more dramatic rock-opera approach to the mix. Those who shelled out on the Green Day DLC will also be able to add to the majority of 21st Century Breakdown songs, giving players a third complete album to work on. Although a heavy emphasis on these albums is a treat, the lack of much else leaves this a rock sandwich that scarce on the filling. Barely any tracks from the middle of the band’s career are featured, and with no foreseeable DLC approaching as of yet (yes, shocking), a collection of the hit singles from each of these seemingly ‘minor’ albums would have been a perfect conceivable finish to the line-up.
Setting on stage with a chosen song treats you to the best visuals a Rock Band game has delivered so far. Members of the band are well detailed and locales look both excellent and truthful to Green Day’s career. Each venue stays loyal to a particular era, so you may see Billy Joe with hair so fluorescent it looks like he uses Power Rangers shampoo one minute, and a matured yet still scuffed up version the next. No matter where you play, however, all of the band members are stupidly hyper and are recreated faithfully throughout. The recreation of notable sets combined with impressively lifelike animations encapsulate the experience of playing live better than any other Rock Band game, yet with only three venues to choose from, it feels like there’s been yet another unnecessary slimming down of what makes this rhythm title stand out above its peers.
The previous paragraphs are all completely void of use, however, when you simply read the title stamped on the box; Green Day:Rock Band. It symbolises a big obnoxious ‘YAY’ for the poppy punked Green Day fan, yet with a bizarre tendency to leave certain sections of the game starved of content, it’s a predictable give-it-a-miss ‘nay’ from anyone else. A sure fire hit for followers, those who simply love the Rock Band franchise will dismiss it like anything unfavourable that appears on the DLC marketplace and ought to just save their money for that bloody expensive looking keyboard.
The Bad: Too few venues, Some albums are ridiculously scarce and desperately awaiting DLC