Also missing is any hint of early Green Day, including 1990's 39/Smooth and 1992's Kerplunk. Both of these early albums were released on Lookout! Records, a small indie outfit that didn't bother to keep the original master recordings. While I certainly respect the developer's decision to only offer cuts from the studio albums, I can't help but feel like a large chunk of Green Day's history has been completely ignored. Adding one or two live songs into the mix would have gone a long way to pad the track list and add context to Green Day's career.
The sad truth is, Green Day: Rock Band doesn't seem especially interested in telling the story of this influential trio. What we get are three venues open from the get-go, including The Warehouse (a 1994 club where the band sports colored hair and "Stupid" clothing), the Milton Keynes (an outdoor arena set in 2005) and The Fox Theater (the Oakland-based theater that is adorned with 21st Century Breakdown imagery). That's it. Those are the only three venues you will find in this Green Day game, which is a big letdown after the gorgeous dreamscapes found in The Beatles game.
Thankfully the band looks great performing and Harmonix has been able to capture the essence of a Green Day concert. It's clear that a lot of time and attention has gone into getting each musician's mannerisms down. From Tre Cool standing over his drum kit to Billie Joe Armstrong practically eating that microphone, the game's animation is spot-on no matter which venue you choose. Plus, the developers have been able to make each of the songs stand out with unique pyrotechnics and visual effects. For example, for "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" you'll find Billie Joe standing on an island away from the main stage, completely surrounded by the sea of adoring fans. In "Song of the Century" (the band's only a cappella song) the remaining band stands back and lets Billie Joe do his thing. These videos may not be as visually arresting as The Beatles' dreamscapes, but they are interesting and fun to look at.
Of course, most of the time you'll be more worried about hitting the right notes than watching what the band does on stage. If you've played a Rock Band game before, then you'll feel right at home with this Green Day version. As is the case with all Rock Band games, Green Day allows you to take control of a fake plastic guitar, bass, drum kit or microphone. For the most part there are no major changes to any of these instruments, though it's worth mentioning that you can bring up to three singers in on select tracks. Even after playing close to a thousand songs over all of the Rock Band games, I still have a great time strumming the guitar and beating on the drum kit. Plus, Billie Joe sings in an octave I have no problem hitting, so I even had a good time belting out Green Day's greatest hits.
Much like The Beatles: Rock Band, this Green Day version doesn't feature a World Tour mode or much in the way of single-player content. To add to the replay Harmonix has added a bunch of collectible pictures and videos for you to earn. You do this in a couple of different ways, such as completing challenges and earning a certain amount of stars per song. If you manage to earn three stars you get one picture, earning all five stars will net you the second photograph. You can also play set challenges for videos. These challenges involve you playing a certain amount of songs and earning a set number of stars. It's not a bad idea, but I would have preferred instrument-specific challenges (much like what we saw in Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero).
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