Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Green Day? Not so much.
And this is a band I like a lot — far more than Aerosmith, Metallica and Van Halen, the acts that have anchored "Guitar Hero" editions. The problem is that despite Green Day's ambitions and accomplishments, there's not much variety in its set list. You have your fast, punky songs and your slow, melancholy ballads, but a sort of sameness settles in after a few hours of "Green Day: Rock Band" (MTV Games, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $59.99; Wii, $49.99).
That becomes more apparent when you play the career mode.Developer Harmonix pulled out all the stops when it came to the Beatles, producing elaborate, psychedelic animations for the songs. Green Day, however, gets just three venues to play in: a club called The Warehouse, the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, England, and the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif.
The disc has 47 songs, including every track from 1994's "Dookie" and 2004's "American Idiot." There's a smattering of singles from the period between those two landmarks, including "Brain Stew/Jaded," ''Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and "Minority." And there's about half of last year's "21st Century Breakdown" — if you want the rest, you have to pay to download it.
And that's ... well, infuriating. If you're paying $60 for "Green Day: Rock Band," the publisher ought to throw in those extra six tracks for nothing extra. And if you want to transfer the songs on the Green Day disc to your hard drive (so you can play them in other "Rock Band" games), you have to fork over another $10. You get those things free on the $70 "Green Day: Rock Band Plus" edition, but it feels like MTV is nickel-and-diming its loyal audience.
Some of the songs here — pop-punk gems like "Hitchin' a Ride" and "Holiday" — will make it into my regular "Rock Band" rotation. Almost all of them are fun to play, even if just once, and if you're a Green Day fan, this is an essential purchase. With "Rock Band 3" right around the corner, though, casual admirers of the threesome aren't likely to get $60 worth of fun out of this edition. Two stars out of four.