One of the most popular virtual reality games to launch in 2018 was Beat Saber by Beat Games. Receiving almost flawless ratings across the board and even listed as one of Gametyrant’s Top 5 Indie Games of 2018 showed that it brought countless hours of entertainment to players across both Steam and PlayStation. The thing is, it simply just could have been a better game all around.
Don’t get me wrong though. I own Beat Saber on the PlayStation and play frequently with my PSVR because it is a fun game, but it is also an easy one to put down as well thanks to it missing a few key elements. Because I have the game for the PSVR, I won’t be mentioning anything about the song limitations. I know on Steam players have a much larger variety, mods, and there have been tweets from Beat Games themselves stating that new music packs are coming soon for all platforms. But before I just drop the subject, a quick question: why isn’t there a song creator or song editor mode for players to make a song as difficult or fun to play? I can only imagine that we would see some interesting custom choreographs if this were an option.
The first issue I have is kind of a main one. Everybody knows that games are better played with friends, be it local or online, so why isn’t there any multiplayer options? Yes, there is a leader board, but there is no way to battle a friend or even do a four saber co-op with them. While the gameplay itself is rather new and unique, it is still a music game which is a genre that has been built up since the first Guitar Hero. With modes available for both co-op and battles in other music games, the lack of one in Beat Saber is a real let down that would just improve the replay-ability exponentially.
Customization options is my next issue worth mentioning. Even on the PSVR, there were two songs added to the roster. One of which showed the colors slightly change for that one song alone. So, if changing the color of the sabers and boxes is possible, why can’t the players simply choose what colors they want to use? Lucky enough, blue and red are among my favorite colors, but it would be fun to mix them up or change theme to match the theme of the holidays. Sometimes a small change in scenery is enough to keep things aesthetically pleasing for longer.
My last bone to pick is with the lack of a practice mode. This is again a regular standard for a music game to have, but there isn’t one in Beat Saber. The best example I can think of was when I had issues with a part near the end of Angel Voices. This is a six minute long song and I kept failing at around the five minute mark, but instead of being able to go into a practice mode and just work on the part I was having trouble with, I had to go through the whole song each time to try the part again. There should be a mode that lets players start the song at specific points and then slow it down to work on it, because you can bet money that I am not going to extend an already long song by putting on “slower song” mode just so I can practice a part way down the way. If you were wondering, yes I passed that song by now and actually full combo’d it.
Edit - Some people have pointed out that there is a practice mode if you click a little hat button after picking a song. I honestly did not see that this whole time, so there is fault on my end. But I stand by the fact that there should just be a “Practice Mode” option on the main menu that is much more obvious and easier to see.
I truly enjoy playing Beat Saber, but these are the key elements that bother me every time I turn the game on. Why aren’t these features here? Will they be adding them to this game or do we have to wait for a Beat Saber 2 in order to have all the game modes that a music game should come with? We won’t know until further development, but at least they are working on improving the games song list and continuing to increase the play-ability of the game.