Experience: Before waves of Rock Band fans have the opportunity to wield their trusty axe-shaped controllers not to mention keyboards on the game's 3rd edition later this year, Harmonix has delivered Green Day: Rock Band to satiate them a little while longer. Whenever you have a band-specific edition for an activity like Rock Band, your perception of the game play will correlate to how much you enjoy tracks like F.O.D. Welcome To Paradise and "Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl). Of course, those are three fairly distinctive tracks from three separate eras in Green Day's career, which is almost essential if you want to reach a wide audience. Let's not go as far as to make the outlandish statement that Billie Joe Armstrong's songwriting is as genre-defying as the multiple musical periods of The Beatles (whose own game worked amazingly well for Rock Band's franchise last year), but Green Day: Rock Band should have at least a little something for most tastes.
It's hard to warm up to the game immediately if you're not a monster fan of Green Day, but the good news is that it does eventually become infectious. The bass parts are surprisingly more challenging than past Rock Band offerings, while there are some songs available that allow you to utilize the vocal harmonies gameplay that was introduced with The Beatles' edition. Featuring 47 songs (with the complete albums of Dookie and American Idiot), Green Day: Rock Band does stick to the tried-and-true Rock Band formula. The makers wisely don't present the songs chronologically as you tour the city of Milton Keynes, Oakland's Fox Theater or The Warehouse. So if you aren't a fan of one particular time period in Green Day's career, you aren't bombarded with a given year's material all at once.
The visuals, much like the gameplay, are standard. The wardrobe changes coordinate with a new venue, so don't expect a whole lot of options in that area. You might get a bit annoyed with seeing the same type of stage setup over and over again, but again, this particular edition is more focused on the soundtrack. There's nothing really groundbreaking this time around, but the songs do offer a greater challenge than The Beatles' material and do cover all of Green Day's hits. Included in the sets are Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, Chump, Geek Stink Breath, and good chunk of the band's opus 21st Century Breakdown. // 8
Extras: In many ways the extras do become as much of a selling point as the gameplay itself. While the photographs that are automatically unlocked in Career meta-mode (after completing songs with a certain number of stars) are impressive and of top-notch quality, the videos unlocked via the Challenges serve more of a purpose for Green Day fans. There are some gems in the bunch, with everything from a 1994 interview on the band's tour bus which is actually a bookmobile to a performance of Chump on MTV's 120 Minutes. // 8
Overall Impression: Green Day has a wide enough appeal by this point that Harmonix made a logical choice in selecting the band as the focus on the latest Rock Band. That being said, the band still isn't quite as beloved as, say, The Beatles, and the soundtrack is often hit or miss. The saving grace is that the makers of Rock Band ensured that the game itself is an excellent challenge, specifically on Expert level, with the bass parts finally coming across as entertaining as the guitar. Once all the Challenges are checked off the list, fans obtain a good deal of video footage that is essentially just as worthwhile as a band-released DVD. Green Day: Rock Band might not seem a perfect fit for every gamer, but it's addictive enough that even most 21st Century Breakdown haters out there will be entertained for at least a little while. // 8