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Green Day: Rock Band

I just finished playing through Green Day: Rock Band in one sitting. It’s an interesting game. The Beatles needed to be a standalone game and an incredible experience, because, come on, it’s The Beatles. Green Day, though, didn’t necessarily need to perform on that level, and I think it’s created an interesting experience.

Like The Beatles, Green Day goes through a long period of the band’s history. However, where The Beatles showcases the changes in the band and their style, Green Day shows more of the changes in rock concerts. You start in a warehouse in 1994, and it’s just the band on stage. They’re all dressed in street clothes, not really a lot tying them together. By the end of the game, you’re at the Fox Theater in 2009, and the band is wearing coordinated outfits, with a huge screen behind them displaying unique images for each song. And there’s 2005’s Milton Keynes show somewhere in the middle, with coordinated outfits and light pyrotechnics, but not the production of the 21st Century Breakdown set.

Some people thought that Green Day was just a glorified track pack…and it’s hard to disagree. It follows the formula of The Beatles, but doesn’t really innovate much beyond it. I have a feeling it may also have been a test of the Rock Band 3 character technology – more realistic characters and shading, and better lip-synching than RB2 or The Beatles.

Still, are we getting to the limits of where realism needs to be? One thought I had is that Green Day is the Desert Bus of music video games – a highly realistic recreation of specific Green Day concerts, capturing the settings, the band’s movements and expressions, their entrances and exits and light shows for each song. It’s almost getting to be too intricate and realistic. But I think the main Rock Band games strike a good balance – they have hints of a realistic world, but they also don’t complain if you dress your band in cowboy suits to do a combination Slipknot/Spongebob setlist.

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