Music has always been one of those things to inspire people throughout the ages. Just over a decade ago Guitar Hero was released, opening up a new genre of gaming and entertainment to everyone. A combination of music, gaming and real-world interaction with the use of a faux guitar as a gamepad. Many years later thanks to innovation in the VR space we have Beat Saber.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen the Augmented Reality trailers for Beat Saber, whereby you see a woman gracefully swaying from side to side while welding lightsabers and slashing coloured blocks to the beats of some really epic tracks. That in fact is the easiest way to describe what Beat Saber is, a rhythm VR game where you dice and slice apart incoming blocks while feeling like a true Jedi Master.
Beat Saber has totally renewed my faith in VR gaming and has paved the way for the platform to go completely mainstream. From it’s incredibly simple and natural gameplay to its pumping EDM soundtrack, Beat Saber immerses you like no rhythm game has ever been able to in the past. The soundtrack consists of 10 songs which have been composed for the sole purpose of this game, and trust me when I say they are of the highest standard. These songs could easily be content that could be picked up by a record label.
Jumping into the game is a simple task, thanks to the incredibly small file size download of under 200 MB. Strap on your compatible VR headset, grasp your motion controllers, and you are good to go. There is absolutely no learning curve to understand the dynamics of this game.
I had friends who weren’t gamers immediately understanding how to play the game thanks to its simple controls. You wield two lightsabers, one Red and the other Blue, while matching coloured blocks fly towards you. In the main game mode these blocks will have directional arrows on them, compelling you to slice them from that direction. The closer to the suggested direction you cut the higher your score will be, and if you’re able to hit these without missing you will be able to build up a Combo leading to a higher score.
While slicing to the rhythm of each track is a blissful experience, and quite possibly the most immersive one I have had in VR, the higher difficulty you choose to play, the more of a workout it becomes. Some may complain at the limited selection of songs available at launch, but when playing the game on its highest setting, while crouching, dodging and slicing the oncoming blocks, it will lead you to come out in a total sweat just trying to complete the selection on offer. The developers have stated that more tracks will be coming in future updates as well as the ability to add your own songs and create levels for these. There are also other game modes whereby you can remove the direction of cutting, and attempt to beat a song at highest difficulty with only one saber.
The comparison between Beat Saber and Guitar Hero can be likened to the difference between Super Mario and Crysis. Gaming has evolved to the point where you no longer have to feel like you’re experiencing it but can actually dive into it. I’ll be quite surprised if it doesn’t encourage more people to go out and buy VR headsets and I’m totally looking forward to seeing where it goes.
THE NEW KING OF RHYTHM GAMES
Beat Saber takes everything that was great about Guitar Hero, and pushes it to a new level of immersion and entertainment.