In 1994, Los Angeles punk band Green Day released Dookie to immediate success. That album has since gone diamond, selling over 10 million copies. Green Day went on making punk music and experimenting with their style, finding new popularity with 2004's American Idiot and continuing that success into 2009's 21st Century Breakdown and now even a Broadway musical based on that album.
Now, after eight albums and several Tony Award nominations, Green Day gets their own Rock Band game.
Green Day: Rock Band is built upon the most popular tracks by the punk trio. The entirety of Dookie and American Idiot appear in the game, as well as 12 of the 18 tracks from 21st Century Breakdown. The other six tracks from Breakdown were already available as DLC for Rock Band and can be imported into Green Day. Finishing off the track list are select hits from Nimrod, Warning, and Insomniac.
While Harmonix's previous venture into the one-band game - The Beatles - featured a multitude of venues and various looks throughout the Fab Four's career, Green Day only shows three venues and appearances to go with them. These venues show off actual and representative places Green Day played in 1994 (Dookie), 2004 (American Idiot), and 2009 (21st Century Breakdown). While the Dookie setting captures old-school Green Day with their frantic behavior and multi-colored hairdos, the more modern settings really don't look that different from one another. While they are accurate portrayals of the tours for American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, they're so similar it doesn't provide much differentiation.
Everything else in Green Day: Rock Band is standard Rock Band fare with a Green Day twist. The cut scenes are a cross between full-motion video and motion comics, taking cues from the later concept albums Green Day released. The sound is exemplary, featuring nothing but master recordings by Green Day themselves.
The game offers Career, Quickplay, and Training modes. Career takes you through the full track list in wonderfully non-linear fashion. You can jump between the three venues at will, playing any song in the available setlists as you unlock them. Quickplay allows you to play any song at any time, or even build your own setlist. The training modes are deep. Hours can be lost just mastering the three training modes available for drums alone.
Working your way through the Career Mode unlocks various stickers and videos capturing Green Day at different points throughout their illustrious career. Again, as with The Beatles, there is no mode for creating your own rockers as well as no fans or money to earn. Every song features you playing as Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, or Mike Dirnt.
Gameplay is exactly like The Beatles: Rock Band. Drums, bass, guitar, and three-part vocal harmonies allow you and five friends to get your Green Day on. No keyboards or Pro Mode yet, and as with The Beatles, the ability to log in three vocalists for achievements would be a welcome addition. All the tried and true Rock Band game mechanics are present here and working perfectly as usual.
Again - as with The Beatles - the value is a questionable feature. The track list is significantly smaller than a full Rock Band game. While the normal track list is 84 songs, Green Day only has 47. Then again, those 84 tracks work like a shotgun blast trying to catch as many would-be rockers as possible. Green Day's track list is more like a laser-scoped rifle, targeting Green Day fans with all 47 tunes.
You also cannot import any Rock Band DLC into Green Day except for the six 21st Century Breakdown tracks. However, for a $10 fee, the tracks from Green Day can be exported into Rock Band, Rock Band 2, or the upcoming Rock Band 3. There is a Plus version of the game available for $10 more that includes download codes for the six tracks and for exporting Green Day as well.
Overall - as with The Beatles: Rock Band - fans of Green Day (like myself) will love this game and find tons of replay value in it. Not a Green Day fan? Then you won't be a fan of this game. Single-band music games are always a big risk, targeting only fans of that band. As a fan of Green Day since 1994, I deem this experiment a rousing success.