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Green Day: Rock Band (2010)
Improves over The Beatles: Rock Band, but not without its faults.
I am a huge fan of both Green Day and Rock Band, so when I heard about Green Day: Rock Band, I could hardly wait. When this game finally came around, I loved this game. Whether you are a fan of their Dookie punk era, or their more current pop albums, such as 21st Century Breakdown, you will enjoy this game. If you are a huge fan of Rock Band and have never heard of Green Day (or vise versa), you will love this game.
I am going to start with the songs. All of their songs off of Dookie and American Idiot are in this game, and almost all the songs off of 21st Century Breakdown. Their albums from the mid to late 90's get a little less recognition, with 1 to 3 songs from each album in the game, but the songs they pick are really good. The most fun for drumming comes out of the Dookie album, where you really see drummer Tre Cool shine with a solo in Burnout or his craziness in Basket Case. Playing guitar and vocals at the same time in the game is extremely fun. American Idiot is the place to go if you a fan of the guitar or vocals. The best songs in the game are Jesus of Surburbia and Homecoming off of the American Idiot album. If you have never heard of these songs, they are each about nine minutes long, and every 1 or 2 minutes the song all of a sudden changes rhythm and sounds like a whole new song, kind of like Paradise by The Dashboard Light. There are a few things I have to say about 21st Century, their lowest point, in my opinion. First of all, there's Song of the Century, which was a waste, as it only has vocals in it, which shouldn't have been in the game. Also, my two favorite songs off of this album, and their two most well-known songs off this album, Know Your Enemy and 21 Guns weren't on the disc! Sure, you can download them as DLC, but I still which they were on the disc, which would have made it a lot easier. I am also mad that nothing before Dookie is in this game, which is a shame. There are 47 songs in total, 53 if you count DLC so far, which is a nice number, but it would have been nice to see some pre-Dookie stuff and more off of Nimrod and Insomniac, which would have been fun and would have made the song number a little nicer, but I'm still really satisfied with what we get.
One that I really hate about this game that shouldn't have been in here is this. As I mentioned, there are 47 in game songs, but there are a few instances where they take two Green Day songs and turn them into one long song, which actually makes the song number 44. This was a nice idea, but the problem is in all 3 instances they make the first song really easy, and the second song insanely hard. It's tough to pick a difficulty for songs like this. You will play Brain Stew on drums on expert being really bored, then all of a sudden, you fail 10 seconds into Jaded.
The career mode is decent. It's similar to the Beatles: Rock Band, where they follow the band in chronological order, which is more informative to the band's career, rather than Guitar Hero's method of putting songs in difficulty order. There might be a super hard song in the beginning of the game, then a really easy song in the end, but it helps show how the band progressed. However, The Beatles Rock Band's career mode was a little better. For example, in that game you had to play the career mode in chronological order, and they had the Beatles go to various point in their career, such as Shea Stadium, Japan, and Apple Rooftops. Green Day's career mode you can play in any order, and they don't go to a wide variety of sets. There's a made up place for the Dookie songs, The Warehouse. There's the Milton Keyes stage for everything up to American Idiot, then some other stage for 21st Century. I wish there was a more variety of places in the game to go to, like the Lollapalooza tour perhaps rather than The Warehouse. Or maybe there could have been imagination sequences, like in The Beatles when they have the songs at Abbey Road Studios. I found those very imaginative and fun. Green Day songs would have been perfect for these sequences, especially since their two newest albums, as a whole, tell stories.
The bonus features are the highlight of the game. Just like in Beatles RB, if you get 3 stars on a song you get a picture of the band, 5 starts gets you two pictures, which gives you another reason to get really mad for getting almost 5 stars on a song. This is what really kept me coming back to the game, trying to get 5 stars on all the songs to see what pictures there are. There are also the achievements again, which also make come back to try and win them all. Also, there are challenges in this game, like play certain songs in a row, or even the whole album. If you get enough stars upon completion, you net a video of the band, ranging from concerts to interviews, which are amazingly fun to watch,
In conclusion, buy this game. It has some flaws song-wise and career mode-wise, but the bonus features are amazing, and are a joy to watch. The visuals in the game are really good, they give a nice representation of a Green Day concert. Again, buy this game, even if you only like Green Day slightly, or if you only love Rock Band slightly.
Guitar Hero: Van Halen (2009)
Guitar Hero killed Van Halen.
I am a big fan of Van Halen, they are a great band that I really admire, so when I heard that Guitar Hero would make a Guitar Hero game for this band, I couldn't wait, especially since I am also a big fan of Guitar Hero. Too bad I got my hopes up for nothing. I really wanted to like this game, I mean I really did, but there was just too much negative. Don't buy this. If you got this free with Guitar Hero 5, you paid too much for the game. This game is such a step backwards in the once-great name that is Guitar Hero that the company should give everyone who buys this game 30 dollars to make up for it.
I'm going to start with one of the most important parts of Guitar Hero games: the songs. The Van Halen songs are really good songs from their career. This game has all of Van Halen's classics, from And the Cradle Will Rock to Jump, from Panama to Eruption in all it's glory. The note tracks for the songs are really well, especially on guitar, where Guitar Hero veterans can really show their stuff. However, even at the best part of the game I am dissatisfied. For one, there just aren't enough Van Halen songs. This is a problem I have with all the GH games based on specific bands. Another big problem with me is that this game only had songs from the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen, and doesn't even mention the 10 years that Sammy Hagar was in the band. Sure, I like DLR's era better, but Hagar had some really nice songs with the band as well, like Poundcake, Right Now, and Why Can't This Be Love.
Now we come to the other non-Van Halen songs, and they pretty much suck. About 90% of the other bands here are either a) horrible bands b) bands totally irrelevant to Van Halen c) both. In Guitar Hero Aerosmith, the other bands were bands that influenced Aerosmith. In Guitar Hero Metallica, the other bands are bands covered by Metallica. In Van Halen the other bands include Weezer, Blink-182, and Offspring. There are the occasional good songs (I Want It All by Queen or Master Exploder by Tenacious D), but they are few and far between.
When I got this game, I couldn't wait to see how they did the story mode and how they made a great representation of Van Halen's career. Maybe they would do like in Beatles Rock Band, where the songs would be in chronological order and follow the band's career. Maybe it would be like in Guitar Hero Aerosmith, where the story mode follows the band's chronological order, but puts the songs in order by difficulty. This was GH: Van Halen's story mode: each set is a random stage with 6 random Van Halen songs. This isn't a story mode, it's an iPod on shuffle. To make matters worse, it doesn't even have any cut scenes in between sets to show you part of their career. Nope, it just dumps you to the next stage. Therefore, this game follows the band's career in no way. Like I mentioned, there was already the Hagar deal. Also, instead of having their standard bassist, Mike Anthony in the game, we instead have Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang for no reason at all.
At this point, you're probably wondering if at least the people in the game LOOK like the people in Van Halen, but again, no. The graphics in this game also suck. The animation is very robotic and un life-like at all. Eddie has the same stupid sneer glued to his face the whole game, and the game does not have the feel of a real Van Halen concert.
The worst part of this game are the bonus features. Their problem? They aren't in the game!!! Aerosmith had interviews with the members of the band. Metallica had pictures of their tours, videos of their tours, and videos of the band in their mo-cap suits, recording themselves for the game. Van Halen has...nothing. The mo-cap was made by the Neversoft Mo-cap Team according the credits, there are no other videos in the game or even pictures! Even the loading screens have nothing interesting to say!
I can say this, however. If you enjoyed Guitar Hero Metallica and Aerosmith NOT because of the story mode, NOT because of how the people on screen looked, NOT because of the bonus features, but just for strumming a plastic guitar, then I have to admit I'd recommend this game to you. It's pretty fun to play. However, I bought this game expecting a cool insight of this band, and instead came out empty-handed. This is why I grade this game so poorly.
I ran out of things to say, so I'm going to make fun of this game using Van Halen songs. This game makes me want to have an Eruption. I Ain't Talking About a good game. This game should be Running with the Devil. After destroying this game with a sledgehammer, I Danced the Night Away. I hope this game Jumps. Off a cliff. all copies of this game should be shipped to Panama. Guitar Hero really got me. Jamie might not be the only one crying. I turned the disc of this game into 5150 pieces. I think I made my point by now.