Green Day: Rock Band (for the Wii) is a great supplement to the vastly growing catalog of rhythm games.  Harmonix seemed to be toiling in boredom with their early track-packs and their first endeavor to create a “band only” game fell flat with 2008’s Rock Band: AC/DC Track Pack.  But then they hit it out of the park with last year’s hot holiday wish list item, The Beatles: Rock Band.  Green Day: Rock Band is far and away better than the track-packs they’ve put out but it doesn’t quite exceed past The Beatles in depth or majesty; but that’s OK, it doesn’t have to.

 

This is a stand alone game, which fans of rhythm games I’m sure are thrilled by as I would imagine we’re all pretty tired of having to buy the newest and coolest peripherals (I myself own 4 guitars).  The game play appears to be exactly like Rock Band games of the past; the same five note colors traveling down the same clear neck.  Depending on your personal taste this can be either great or pretty boring.  The Guitar Hero series allows you to alter the note highway allowing for more variety (aesthetically) in game play whereas the Harmonix games don’t allow any alterations in that arena at all.  Now if you don’t care about aesthetics and just want to rock out then this is a minor quibble.

 

The song selection is fantastic.  Green Day has been around since the early 90’s and finally broke through to mainstream audiences with their third LP, “Dookie,” when their song celebrating slacker culture and masturbation, Longview became an instant hit on MTV in 1994.  Ever since then they’ve been at the upper echelon’s of pop culture, churning out punk rock records every few years, managing to remain relevant even when their chosen musical form ceased being so.  All of the classic anthems fans of come to know and love are here including songs from last year’s smash offering, “21st Century Breakdown.”  I would have liked some representation from “Kerplunk!” but again, that’s a minor quibble.

 

Following the same pattern as The Beatles, players assume the roles of Green Day and follow them from small gigs in The Warehouse all the way to The Fox Theater in Oakland, which unfortunately is the third in three playable venues.  This is somewhat of a letdown as one of the staples in Harmonix rhythm games is the virtual touring.  That was also one of the nice things about The Beatles.  You got to follow their history through historical gigs.  Now I’m not comparing The Beatles rich history to Green Day’s but the latter band does have some interesting history and it’s not represented in the game.

 

The graphics are as good if not better than the older Harmonix offerings.  The Green Day avatars are as close to looking like their real life counterparts as one can get with this level of technology.  And speaking of technology, just like all of the recent rhythm games, the peripherals are cross compatible with the Guitar Hero series (assuming you have peripherals from Rock Band 2 or after).

 

All in all if you are a fan of Green Day and/or rhythm games you should enjoy this title.  It is a nice stopgap offering on the way to this holiday’s season wish list item, the much-ballyhooed Rock Band 3.

Read more of my writing at MarkRadulich.com

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