Green Day: Rock Band Review

By Patrick Klepek - Posted Jun 08, 2010

Taking the excellent model established in The Beatles: Rock Band, Harmonix and Demiurge Studios have crafted a love letter to Green Day fanatics. Green Day: Rock Band does a phenomenal job helping you understand Green Day as musicians. The songs aren't particularly difficult to play, however, which means you'll need to be a serious Green Day fan to really appreciate the package.

The Pros
  • Massive amount of tracks at a cheaper price than what you'd pay to download them
  • Faithfully takes you through the interesting career of a seminal band
  • You can export the songs to Rock Band and Rock Band 2, but there's a catch
The Cons
  • Exporting the songs to Rock Band and Rock Band 2 will cost you $10
  • No export available for Wii owners
  • The songs aren't particularly difficult, meaning this package is for fans only

How much do you love Green Day?

Taking the excellent model established in The Beatles: Rock Band, Harmonix and Demiurge Studios have crafted a love letter to Green Day fanatics. It's not as ambitious as The Beatles, but it's certainly more than 47 songs slapped on a disc. Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool have been recreated in Rock Band's signature stylization across three different time periods of their professional careers, though it's really divided between two eras: their rebellious emergence riding high on "Dookie" and surprising reinvention with "American Idiot."

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Interactive History

I like Green Day. In middle school, they were what you might call my "jam." We've parted ways since, but playing the undeniably iconic "Brain Stew" in Green Day: Rock Band brought upon a nostalgic moment where I wanted to send a video of myself playing a virtual version of Green Day back to my younger self. More than anything else, Green Day: Rock Band allows someone to actively participate in a history lesson on the band. There's no better way to understand what makes Green Day tick than to strap on a guitar and, quite literally, become a temporary member. No, it's not the same as learning how to play "real" guitar, but I know that's never going to happen. Green Day: Rock Band gets me one step closer to understanding Green Day.


You'll want to think twice about picking up Green Day: Rock Band if you're not a massive fan, though. The game isn't going to imbue you with an appreciation for the band that wasn't there before and it's not interesting on a technical level. Their sound (especially early Green Day) is classic punk, which means very fast riffs of basic chords. With few exceptions, Green Day songs aren't particularly difficult, especially on guitar (though to be fair, drums are a bit more interesting). To whit, I managed to gold star a handful of guitar tracks via Expert on my first try and I've never achieved gold star status on any song in Rock Band or Rock Band 2.

Things to Do While You’re Billy Joe

Fans have extra incentives, as the disc is packed with reasons to keep playing that have nothing to do with achievements or trophies. There are all sorts of live videos to be unlocked via the game's extensive list of "Challenges," which range from simple (hit all of the notes in a certain solo) to a serious time investment (complete a whole career with friends in under 12 hours).

Not Locked In, But At a Price...

That said, you don't have to stay on the disc. Unlike The Beatles, Green Day signed off on allowing Harmonix to continue connecting the Rock Band experience as a platform. All of the songs on the disc can be pulled off the hard drive and imported into Rock Band and Rock Band 2 -- for $10 (there was, however, an opportunity to have the $10 fee waived by pre-ordering). That is, unless you’re playing on Wii, in which case, you have no such option.You don't get the character models, photos, videos or new venues this way, but given how few times people will be in the mood for an all-hours Green Day session, this is a welcomed option. And given that it's 47 songs for $59.99 (which would cost more if purchased under the standard Rock Band track pricing), if you're a Green Day fan, this is a huge cost saver.


Despite any grumbles about the cost of importing songs into Rock Band, Green Day: Rock Band does a phenomenal job helping you understand Green Day as musicians and as a group that's stuck it out for a good long while. As someone who hasn't really cared for new-age Green Day, while playing an interactive version of their career, I came to better appreciate their transformation. Did a video game just help me appreciate music more? By golly, I think it did.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?