Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)

Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive
  • Windows Mixed Reality

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • Move Required (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
Title: Beat Saber
Format: PSN (624.7 MB)
Release Date: November 20, 2018
Publisher: Beat Games
Developer: Beat Games
Original MSRP: $29.99 (US), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I’ve been playing Beat Saber on PC for almost a year now, and yet, when I heard it was coming to PSVR, I was still thrilled about trying it again – almost as if it was a new game.

If the concept is not familiar to you, or if you’ve seen screenshots and wondered what the big deal was, Beat Saber is a rhythm game developed exclusively for VR platforms.

If that genre is not to your liking, don’t summarily dismiss this, because Beat Saber is not the traditional music game, and yes, VR is part of the reason why. Keeping up with a beat using button presses, or strumming a fake guitar is not what this game is about.

You’ll hold a lightsaber in each hand, one blue and one red, and slice boxes that approach you from a Cyberpunk-style void. You don’t have to slice them at a precise moment, but you do have to cut them in the direction the arrows on the boxes are pointing. So even if timing isn’t your strength, Beat Saber focuses more on just being able to slice the cubes before they pass.

Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)

A few hours in and I was feeling like a badass Jedi, slicing to some excellent trance music. The PlayStation VR Edition includes five new songs, a campaign mode, and party mode.

Campaign is a simple enough affair. The game doesn’t have a storyline, but it does have a non-linear level progression where the songs and pacing become increasingly more challenging, thus making for a smooth learning curve for newcomers.

The party mode compliments this game perfectly. Invite some friends over, add your name to the roster, and compete for local high scores. Just buy some wipes because you will be sweating on the tougher levels.

Beat Saber isn’t complicated and there isn’t much more depth than that. But what is here is a lot of fun and pretty damn addicting. I’ve been playing it for quite some time on the PC, and found the migration to PS VR has been accomplished with great care and attention to making the game work well on this headset.

One quick tip: it helps to position your camera above the play area, as you will be ducking and slicing while low to the ground. This will help the camera see you regardless of your height.

Review: Beat Saber (PSVR) Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)

Visuals:
I expected to boot up Beat Saber on my PS4 and see a slight downgrade from the PC version running on my HTC Vive. My PC isn’t up to the best specs, I have a 1060 under the hood, but still, most PS VR ports take a small hit on the PS4 or PS4 Pro.

Beat Saber looks phenomenal on the PlayStation 4 Pro, and the sub pixel technology on the PS VR makes for even less of a screen door effect than my fancier Vive headset. The framerate is ultra smooth, which is the only way to truly appreciate a game like this.

Sure, Beat Saber is a simplistic game, with very little in the way of background elements or large environments to process, but there is a stylistic beauty here that renders phenomenally before your eyes.

You know those PS VR commercials, where the player removes the headset and breathes a sigh of awe? Well that’s how you’ll feel after playing Beat Saber.

Audio:
Cutting cubes to music may be one of my favorite things to do in 2018. And even though the PlayStation 4 version of does not include the custom music option from the PC iteration, the songs that are included are perfectly composed for this game. I have spent some time with some user-generated songs but it’s fun to cut cubes to Daft Punk.

That said, some of the user content lacks the polish that was put into the official stages, so while it’s great to cut to your favorite song, I never quite enjoy the sessions as much as I do the official stuff. The PlayStation 4 version of the game also includes five new songs, one of which has become a personal favorite. So yeah, Beat Saber has a phenomenal soundtrack.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)Review: Beat Saber (PSVR)

Conclusion:
It’s clear that Sony’s been taking this year seriously with the PlayStation VR. The last couple of months have given us several critically acclaimed hits. Beat Saber joins that group with solid gameplay, a perfect soundtrack, and a party mode that will liven up any friend/family gathering.

With toggle options that allow for players of any skill set to complete the game’s fifteen songs, Beast Saber is a perfect game to take you into the holidays. And with DLC planned, the slicing and dicing will continue on into the future.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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