A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Green Day: Rock Band garnered a "Teen" rating by the ESRB because of some lyrical references to drugs and sex, some unlockable videos where a bandmenber makes a joke about cocaine, and "mild blood" seen in a photo you can unlock that shows the band reenacting a bloody crime scene. The game does encourages players to express their passion for music and cooperate with friends. Parents should be aware, though, that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 editions support open online voice chat, which Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.
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What's it about?
If you're not yet burned out by the deluge of rhythm games over the past couple of years, MTV Games’ GREEN DAY: ROCK BAND rocks nearly 50 tracks from the popular punk pop band, pulled heavily from the albums Dookie (1994), American Idiot (2004) and 21st Century Breakdown (2009). In fact, the game lets you strum, drum, or sing along with all the songs from those three albums, plus a few others from Insomniac, Nimrod and Warning. Here's how it works: plug in your instrument peripheral to play guitar, bass, or drums (or sing into a mic) in time with the song to rack up as many points as you can. Fans of the band can unlock lots of other goodies, too, including backstage chats and live concert footage.
Is it any good?
This is a fun game -- but only if you're really into the band. Unlike games such as Guitar Hero: Aerosmith or Guitar Hero: Metallica, which feature songs from the title bands plus a selection of tracks by other artists, Green Day: Rock Band features only songs by Green Day. Plus, while the game feels, looks, and sounds good, Harmonix didn't really innovate much in the gameplay department.
Fans of music games who aren't major Green Day lovers should save their cash until the new Rock Band 3 debuts later this year, which will be the first music game to support a keyboard peripheral. Spending $60 is a bit hard to justify here.
(NOTE: The Nintendo Wii version is essentially the same as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version, save that it's missing a few online options.)
Online interaction: Gamers can play online in all three versions of the game, which means a "band" can play together even when each player is in a different city. Open voice chat is available in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 online modes. Consequently, players may be exposed to inappropriate language and topics of conversation by other players or share personal information. There is no online voice chat for the Nintendo Wii edition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about lyrics in pop songs. Which songs are controversial and why?
Families can also discuss whether rhythm games in general and this one in particular help foster interest in music. Do you think players learn anything while playing these games, or are they pure entertainment?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.