One word. Two syllables. Dookie. If there was one album that re-established punk rock music during the 90’s, it was the one brought out by three young musicians from Berkeley, California. They are Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool and together the trio makes up the band known as Green Day.
From the very beginning the band has been known by the world over for providing one of the best live shows that money can buy. What better way to celebrate that, then to forever immortalize them into a video game that allows you, the player, to put that same show on in your own living room, (unfortunately) minus the mosh pit and topless women of course. This is what the team at Harmonix (along with much hands-on collaboration from the band) set out to do when creating Green Day: Rock Band.
Just like The Bealtes: Rock Band before it, GD:RB takes you on a journey through time through the band’s music. You’ll follow the band from their first major studio debut “Dookie” and play through 47 studio master tracks of the band’s music from the past 16 years (wow do I feel old).
Another similarity that can be drawn from the previous title in the Rock Band series is that all of the tracks are unlocked right from the start. Now while I can see this being a great thing for the casual crowd, I think that the more seasoned Rock Band veterans might frown upon it. There are challenges, where you play 3 and 4 song sets to then unlock archived footage and photos from the bands career.
Warner Bros. Records provided Harmonix with a photo archive of the band from the early years all the way to present day. One photograph in particular by Marina Chavez, even managed to earn the game a mild blood rating from the ESRB. Ridiculous, but true!
And considering that MTV Games and Harmonix are for the most part one company these days, it allows for complete access to the MTV video archives. The team at Harmonix, dissected somewhere around 20 hours worth of video footage for the title. One of these clips was actually out-take footage from an interview on the show 120 minutes, where the band could barely make it through the interview after being up for 48 hours straight. And like the photographs mentioned the video content is unlockable after playing through the various challenges found in the game.
During our time with the game we had the chance to play with Jon Foster (who is the project lead at Harmonix) who was on hand to give us a quick overview on the game. With Al on the guitar, Arman on Vocals, and your truly on the drums we rocked through “Basketcase,” “Minority” and “Know Your Enemy.” One surprise while there, that I wasn’t aware of beforehand was that GD:RB, just like TB:RB before it allows for three-part harmonies. And that’s where Chris Foster jumped in to throw in his own vocal talents into the pot.
We had an overall good time playing the game, and are looking forward to its release. While we’re not too sure how much longer the rhythm game genre will last, especially with “you know who” pumping out something like 7 titles per year, at least we know we can count Harmonix and MTV Games putting out quality products with every entry to the series. Take a look at a clip of us tearing up “BasketCase” below and make sure to stay tuned for a full review of the title in the coming weeks.