If you own a virtual reality (or VR) headset such as the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, you need to add this game to your collection: Beat Saber. It is hands down the best VR game on the market and it’s highly rated. This game was properly released around mid-2019 on various platforms and it’s incredibly fun to play and you can work a sweat doing so. For those people who remember Dance Dance Revolution or were enthusiasts themselves, this is the next evolution, though with your hands instead of your legs.
I had the opportunity to play this game before its proper release at several exhibitions and conventions. I wasn’t very good at them at the time, but it left a really positive impression on me. The game appeared at the Melbourne Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX) and some other similar conventions. Each time, this game drew in the crowds who just wanted to test their mettle.
I purchased my PlayStation VR very early in its release. I was really excited to use it for various games and to watch movies in 3D. While there were some decent games out there that use the VR features, VR didn’t hook me as much. So I stopped using my PlayStation VR for awhile. It was only during the pandemic that I thought about dusting it off and playing some VR games.
When I was thinking about what else to add, I saw Beat Saber in the PlayStation Store (and remembering my experiences with the game at the conventions), I thought about giving it a go. I haven’t since regretted the purchase. It was well worth it for around AUD$44.99. There is plenty of content to keep you playing and hooked.
According to the description for the game:
‘Dive into an immersive rhythm experience you have never seen before! Enjoy precisely handcrafted levels and exclusively created electronic dance music, all embedded in an appealing futuristic world. Swing your sabers, match the color and the right direction to slash the cubes, and keep up with the adrenaline-pumping music… This game is gonna make you dance!Beat Saber on the PlayStation Store
The gameplay is deceptively hard. You will need practice to get good at it. You will see blocks come towards you and your goal is to slice through the blocks in the same direction as the arrow on the block. At the same time, you need to dodge walls and avoid hitting mines.
The coolest thing about the game is that it makes you feel like you are dual wielding light sabers (from Star Wars). (No Star Wars game has come close to this experience. Unlimited POWER!)
You score points by slicing blocks in the middle, more points if you slice right through the center at 115 points, and if you combo enough blocks you build a multiplier, up to 8x, that exponentially increases your points for the round. At the end of the round, you are giving a score for your efforts. The points are separated based on the difficulty. The great thing about this game is that this score is then used to rank you against all the other players around the world. You can see how you rank against some of the best players. (I don’t know how some people get those ridiculously high scores.)
While you are playing, you play against a combination of really cool music beats and visual effects. Some of these music beats come from popular franchises. The whole experience feels futuristic.
The game comes with a challenging campaign mode where you can test your might with various handicaps, from slower songs, one-handed wielding and not missing a block for an entire round. Plus, outside of the campaign, you can play all the non-DLC songs and fidget with the settings to your liking (but ranking is only available if you just play it properly).
I started off at Normal, then advanced to Hard pretty quickly. Currently, I find myself doing Expert a lot, because I want the challenge. I noticed that with the Vol 1 and 2 tracks that doing Expert was doable, because I think they are easier, but anything past Vol 1 and 2 on Expert is really difficult. I still need to work on my speed and timing.
When I pick Expert difficulty and play for around 15 to 20 minutes, I find myself sweating like crazy. This game can really get your body moving. While I don’t think this is a proper substitute to exercising, I know I am burning some calories trying to beat each track.
Like all modern games, Beat Saber has DLC that you can purchase. You can add DLC soundtracks for BTS, Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons, Green Day, etc. The DLC soundtracks are pretty decent. I purchased the Linkin Park Music Pack for AUD$20.95 and it came with some of the best Linkin Park songs:
– Bleed it Out
– Breaking the Habit
– Given Up
– In the End
– New Divide
– One Step Closer
– Somewhere I Belong
– What I’ve Done
When you play on a DLC soundtrack, you play the entire song from start to finish. Each song is pretty challenging. Also, you play the game in a unique Linkin Park arena with its own unique visual effects and colored blocks.
The BTS soundtracks have miniature BTS members appear on screen from time to time to cheer you on. Plus, at the end, the whole BTS crew congratulate you by appearing all on screen.
I have never seen Beat Saber on sale on the PlayStation Store. I’m not sure why that is, but I can safely say that it’s worth the purchase. Even now, the developers are still adding new tracks to the game. The most recent are the Original Soundtrack Vol. 4 which was added in early 2021. I’m sure there will be more additions.
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