Huh. Well it seems Green Day is one of those bands where I know a lot more of their songs than I would have thought. From "When I Come Around" to "Warning", turns out I do know more than "American Idiot" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". Chances are you do, too — so keep reading before you completely write off Green Day: Rock Band. If you're a big fan, of course, you can stop reading now and go buy this thing.
Surely you know the deal by now: just like Beatles: Rock Band before it (and the Guitar Hero equivalents that covered Aerosmith, Metallica and — ahem — Van Halen), Green Day: Rock Band showcases 47 of the band's songs, wrapping them up in unique visuals, locations, and memorabilia. And really, that's it — it's a completely known quantity.
The song selection focuses largely on the Dookie, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown albums, and does a good job of showing how surprisingly diverse the band can be. I, no doubt like so many others, figured that the few singles I'd heard on the radio was the extent of Green Day's sound, but thankfully they do mix things up on a bunch of songs, particularly on album tracks. The result is a lineup that may not have the diversity of the Beatles, but at least isn't overly repetitive.
My own personal highlights varied depending on what instrument I was playing. Drumming was a workout on most tracks, which I enjoyed, expect when too much kick peddle happened. The most interesting songs for guitar were the ones that strayed away from thrashing out power chords — "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "Time of Your Life" are good examples. Those two are also some of the better ones to sing, alongside "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Warning".
So when considering a purchase of this game, you shouldn't need to worry about the solidity of the tracks. If you're into all the frippery surrounding them, however, you may be disappointed. Beatles combined a series of great concert/dreamscape venues with a slick interface and an intriguing collection of bonus material. GD:RB is still well-presented, but it's pretty bare-bones: unlockables largely consist of photos and not much else. If you're at all interested in looking at shots of the band members, I suggest you simply google them. It's a shame, but certainly fits in with the whole 'Beatles Lite' vibe. At least it's not full-priced — you can pick this one up for $60 new.
What else is there to say? The venues (all three of them) have been done well, as have the band members themselves, both in terms of looks and animation. All the modes you'd expect are here, and — thankfully — all the songs are automatically unlocked in Quickplay mode. Vocal harmonies, one of my favourite Beatles feature, also makes a return here, although arguably there are fewer Green Day songs that take advantage of it. Not to worry, I hear Bohemian Rhapsody will be in Rock Band 3…
Speaking of other Rock Bands: unlike with the Beatles, all the songs on the Green Day disc can be exported to be played in the 'proper' version of the game. That right there bumps up the review score — after all, while seeing unique animations is nice, sooner or later (usually sooner) someone's going to pipe up and demand to play something different. Just keep in mind that it costs 800 MS points (roughly $15) to bring the songs across.
And that's that! You know how this goes: if you're a Green Day fan, go forth and purchase thyself a copy. If you're someone who just casually likes Green Day, but loves Rock Band, then you should listen to a good number of the tracks and decide whether it's worth buying a copy for the exporting. And finally, if you have no interest in getting this game… well, why are you still reading?