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Green Day Rock Band review

Green Day Rock Band

Platform: PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Publisher: EA/MTV Games
UK Price (as reviewed): £39.99 (Inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $57.99 (excl. Tax)

After watching England's disappointing loss to the USA in the World Cup, Phil and I decided to try and cheer ourselves up with the new Green Day Rock Band we'd been sent for review.

Unfortunately, a review is almost beside the point; Harmonix may well have created the first game that does the job itself. Green Day Rock Band is... Rock Band with Green Day. The only piece of information you need in addition to that is the price, which you can find at the top of the page.

Still, slapping a six on Green Day Rock Band after a 34 word intro and a 50 word first paragraph wouldn't feel very satisfying - and it might raise a few questions. Does the game get a six because it's Green Day's music? Does it not get an eight or a nine because it's just another Rock Band game? Really, the answer is that it scores lowly because of all the things it's not.

*Green Day Rock Band review Green Day Rock Band review
Have the time of your life! Click to enlarge

It's not British Invasion Rock Band or Grunge Rock Band. There are 47 tracks included with the game, all from Green Day - there's no 'and friends'. This means every track from the two albums everyone knows (Dookie and American Idiot) plus most of 21st Century Breakdown and the notable stuff from Warning and Nimrod. DLC enables you to fill in any gaps.

A single band focus wouldn't be too bad if we were talking about Pink Floyd Rock Band or The Rolling Stones Rock Band, but musically, Green Day isn't a band with a massive degree of development in its back catalogue (Basket Case to American Idiot is a short journey). Plus, the songs don't have a great deal of differentiation when they're rendered as note charts. There's little in the way of variation in terms of length, sound or approach - even the acoustic and slow tempo tracks are mostly a selection of samey power chord button presses.

It's not Iron Maiden Rock Band. Green Day aren't really a band known for their art work, visuals or live show. Green Day Rock Band takes you from playing Dookie-era material at a made-up generic club venue to playing at two bland stadium shows - the Milton Keynes Bowl and the Fox Theatre in California.

The three members of Green Day are well modelled, and there's some audience feedback and chanting in the arenas but there are no dreamscapes or visual effects to really build on the songs, which means the career mode fails to build a sense of narrative or importance. It's not even that challenging either - the reliance on power chords means it lacks interest for more skilled players. It might be challenging due to the sheer volume and speed of notes but the songs don't feel that appealing to play.

*Green Day Rock Band review Green Day Rock Band review
Don't want to be an American Idiot? You can click to enlarge

It's not Led Zeppelin Rock Band. The stuff you unlock in the career mode in Green Day Rock Band - mostly photos of the band, almost entirely devoid of context and narrative - are dull and don't feel interesting or worth winning. Unlockables should actually be mysterious; they should contribute to making the career mode's sense of cohesion and substance.

*Green Day Rock Band review Green Day Rock Band reviewIt's not... Well, there are a lot of things it's not. Frankly, it's hard to avoid the feeling that Green Day landed a full game because Harmonix has simply looked around for a project it can produce quickly, cheaply and that will appeal to 14-25 year old male gamers.

It does exactly what it says on the tin - it's a nuts-and-bolts, simple three chord version of Rock Band, with lots of Green Day songs, but it fails to justify its release as a game as opposed to DLC. Even if you love Green Day and can't wait to blaze through all of Dookie, we find it hard to believe you'd find Green Day Rock Band good value at full price. Six months from now, if you can find it for £20 or so, it'll be worth a look, especially as you can export the tracks to Rock Band and Rock Band 2, but until then, it's for die hards only.

Score Guide

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