GREEN DAY: ROCK BAND (Game Review, XBOX 360)Written by James Zahn
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Developer: Harmonix Music Systems | Publisher: MTV Games | Distributed by: Electronic Arts
Reviewed on: XBOX 360
Instrument of Choice: Drums (RB 1st Gen)
With the majority of music gamers currently split into two camps with GUITAR HERO on one side and ROCK BAND on the other, I've always leaned toward the latter. In fact, the release of the first ROCK BAND led to my original ownership of an XBOX 360 complete with the first generation RB SPECIAL EDITION. Harmonix Music Systems pioneered the genre, bringing the true "band" feel into music gaming long before anyone else looked beyond plastic guitars.
Building upon a solid base of installed peripherals driven by fans of RB and ROCK BAND 2, the developer first dabbled with one-band action with their AC/DC TRACK PACK, then taking their time in developing last years excellent BEATLES: ROCK BAND. While single-band games from the other side of the fence like GUITAR HERO: METALLICA and GUITAR HERO: VAN HALEN arrived with either a bang or a fizzle, neither could match the replay value found within the ROCK BAND franchise. With constantly-updated DLC and export features to expand play beyond the single-band realm, Harmonix has mastered the art of keeping their games fresh long after most would meet their expiration date.
With ROCK BAND 3 slated for release this Fall, the bridge between the old and new has arrived with the release of GREEN DAY: ROCK BAND (in-stores now). Built upon the technology that amazed gamers with the BEATLES game last year, GD:RB takes players on a career path that starts with the band in the era of DOOKIE and continues into the modern age of 21st CENTURY BREAKDOWN.
GREEN DAY: ROCK BAND is immersive, pulling the player into the world of the band to create a true gaming "experience." The gameplay is smooth, continuing the tradition of subtle refinements with subsequent ROCK BAND releases - but it's the extras that set this game apart... if you're a hardcore GREEN DAY fan. If you're a member of that group, calling it "immersive" might be an understatement.
As for the aforementioned extras, between the treasure trove of rare video clips, there are also over 100 unlockable images along with the expected "achievements" for completing various in-game tasks. On the drum side, in addition to the now-standard drum trainer and practice modes, RB:GD also features TRE'S GREATEST HITS, a surprisingly challenging assortment of rhythm patterns running the gamut from basic punk to complicated shuffles and odd time signatures. The sheer amount of hidden goodies made it impossible to find them all for the purposes of this review.
Shipping with 47 on-game songs, six additional GREEN DAY tracks can be found available for purchase in the RB Music Store. Unlike last year's BEATLES offering, all songs from GD:RB are exportable and fully compatible with all other RB games, including the forthcoming ROCK BAND 3 (on XBOX 360 and PS3 - no export for Wii). The export costs you $10, either through a code purchase or by picking up the +PLUS edition of the game disc.
Sadly, the early GREEN DAY catalog from LOOKOUT! RECORDS is omitted from the game. Online rumblings point to either the inability to come to terms with the label over licensing, or the inavailability of suitable masters for gaming conversion. Either way, it would be nice to see these early works make their way to the ROCK BAND platform as DLC somewhere down the line if the technical possibilities exist.
Bottom line on GREEN DAY: ROCK BAND is that fans of the band will want this in their collection. Quite simply, it's a must-buy for GREEN DAY fans. Those on the fence are encouraged to rent the game first and give it a spin, especially those who are only casual music gamers.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.
He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.
Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.