BEAT SABER REVIEW


When I want to show VR to friends who have never tried it (which is one of the great pleasures of having a headset), Beat Saber is the game that I start first. Few other games traverse the appeal of this technology as quickly and effectively as they do, launching a stream of color-coded boxes on their faces and turning their controllers into a pair of lightsabers that do not match the brand, with which they can cut them and cut them. In time to pump electronic beats. Fine-tuning your abilities to turn frenetic movements into precision movements is as satisfying as it is sweaty.


As virtual reality games advance, Beat Saber does not push the limits of technology too much. You play it still and in front without anything happening behind you, so you do not need a scaled configuration of the room, even the basic tracking of a single camera of the PlayStation VR can handle it well. The bright neon-rave graphics are simple but clear and easy to read, so they look almost as good in Oculus Quest as in a Vive Pro (with only a few rejected effects). These unlicensed lightsabers do not produce the characteristic sounds of Star Wars, so I can not help but feel a bit disappointed, but the sound they make is well suited to the music they are synchronized with, and that creates the feeling of being a participant in the song.


While I do not consider myself a big fan of electronic dance music in general, I must say that the original Beat Saber soundtrack by Jaroslav Beck surprised me by how catchy some of his songs can be. The legend, $ 100 Bills and Escape are hard to get out of my head, and some of the 19 songs included have become annoying, no matter how many times I've heard them. That said, it's a somewhat limited selection to work with most of the rhythm games, and only the PC version (via Steam or Oculus Store) supports importing songs and custom maps with mods or the level editor. that was added with the release version 1.0. Developer Beat Games is committed to providing more original music and tracks from renowned artists, some of which will be free and others like paid DLC, but currently, it is the biggest limitation if you're playing on PlayStation VR or Oculus Quest. There, the only expansion option is the $ 13 Monstercat Music Pack Vol 1, which contains another 10 tracks.


While playback through a track is mechanically simple, there are a lot of nuances that make playing them to pursue high scores fun and challenging. At a basic level, it's about hitting the right block with the right saber in the right direction. The incoming blocks are color-coded according to their swords, most of the time they will hit red blocks on the left and blue blocks on the right, sometimes with symmetrical patterns, others with asymmetric patterns that create a coordination challenge that feels like caressing his head with one hand while rubbing his belly with the other. Some songs like to embed a single blue block on the left side during a burst of reds (or vice versa) to throw yourself. It sounds simple to try, but when the pace accelerates it's surprisingly easy to lose, and when you lose it once, it's hard not to lose a little more before regaining your composure.


In Normal or Easy modes it is very easy to fly through a course, but in Difficult and superior, things really warm up to challenge you. A torrent of blocks will come to you so fast that you should look two blocks down the line where you are really turning to keep up and plan where your swords should be to hit them with the right Directional Swing. Most time sequences are designed to help you with this by following an upward or left arrow with a right so that, naturally, you can turn one way and then the other, but the bad ones will do the same direction repeatedly. which forces him to turn and then quickly back up to reset the next block. You will also see fast sequences from top to bottom, from top to bottom, from top to bottom, from bottom to top, down, up, down, forcing a movement similar to that of a drummer in which if you lose one, you will lose them All OR will follow a crossed swing with another, so that if it behaves excessively in one direction, it will be difficult to do it in the other direction.


Apart from that, there are some little-used obstacles such as walls and low ceilings that force you to dodge or dodge the path, respectively, usually, while you still turn the swords. Also, occasionally, you will see pointed mines going down the pipeline that cause a score multiplier and a reset of the combo chain when they hit you, but in Hard mode, at least I have not seen the ones used so I felt that I once ran a real danger actually hit one.


Placing high in the leaderboards is not just hitting each block before it exceeds you, there is some precision in how your swing should be executed. It is assigned a score according to whether it follows the oscillation instead of lightly touching a block, and how close to the center of the block its leaf passes. That creates a lot of room to improve your technique, even after you cut your way through a song without missing anything, and encourages you to make exaggerated swings that make it look like I'm actually trying to cut the blocks with strength and momentum.


The biggest annoyance for me is that when I lose a block during a vigorous section of a song, it is often difficult to see exactly what my mistake was: you only get the sound effect of failure and your score multiplier and streak counter are reset to zero. Unless you're recording your game mode, there's no way to go back later to see if you turned in the wrong direction or with the wrong saber, or if you simply missed out due to an error in time or a tracking failure that really got you, Stole.


Difficult to Expert difficulty jump is pretty crazy. I can classify almost all the songs in the catalog in Difficult, but I can barely get through an Expert song without losing enough blocks to fail the level. The expert not only increases the speed of the blocks on his face, but it is also a very different course with arrangements of blocks more difficult to hit. And then there's Expert +, which is so incredibly fast and hard that if you get over it, you'll find Nick Fury sitting behind you waiting to recruit you into the Avengers Initiative when you take off your headphones. Watching videos of people who are going through one of these courses is really a show.


There are some other ways to play for a different kind of challenge: one is a campaign that gradually increases the difficulty and puts different turns in all the existing songs, for example, showing the directional indicator for only a moment before hiding it. It is for you to have I remember what way to swing when it hits you. Another mode eliminates the directional requirements completely and allows you to hit the red and blue blocks the way you choose, but it makes up for it by dramatically increasing your amount and mixing the different colors much more than in normal mode. There is also a single saber mode that is equally difficult to maintain. All of them are difficult in their own way, and it is a good way to expand the variety when the selection of tracks ends.



The Verdict


A good session with Beat Saber literally takes my breath away. When I'm in the furrow, swinging red and blue swords to accurately divide an avalanche of incoming boxes as fast as I can, it could be as close to the feeling of being a Jedi in a rave as I ever will. This challenging rhythm game is definitely a little light on tracks out of the box, but what's there is eye-catching and highly repeatable due to the way your scoring system fosters accuracy and tracking, plus a handful of modes alternative to play. (And, of course, if you're on a PC, you can expand infinitely with custom tracks thanks to the level editor and the modifications). It should be absolutely an option to introduce anyone to virtual reality.

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