The final notes slain, Beat Saber takes me back to the menu. My arms can finally rest, having been put through the wringer. Not a full combo, but still an S rank. That’s something, but I’ve full-combo’d this before. I better try again. Just one more try. Just one more. The lights fade. 'Radioactive' starts again, and the cycle continues.
There aren’t many situations where I would find myself genuinely wanting to hear Imagine Dragons’ 'Radioactive' back-to-back. Hell, there aren’t many situations where I want to hear it once. But Beat Saber is a special game. By far my favourite PlayStation VR title that I’ve had the pleasure of playing, something magical happens whenever I load up a song in Beat Games’ masterpiece. You see, the game has almost zero songs in it that I like. None of the music best suited to the gameplay is the kind of thing I listen to. So anytime a new song pack gets announced, there’s a moment of excitement followed immediately by disappointment. “Why isn’t this pack a band that I like?”
But here’s the thing: Beat Games is right, and I am very wrong. Many of the best and most fun songs to play in the game are the ones I'm least likely to listen to outside of it. I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Imagine Dragons, nor most of the artists from the Monstercat label pack. In fact, the only pack in the game of a band I listen to on my own time is Panic! At The Disco. So how is it that, despite not liking about 80 per cent of the music in this game, it’s one of my favourite experiences?
Beat Games has a knack for picking out the most fun songs to play imaginable, and at this point, I implicitly trust them to pick the best tracks. Take 'Overkill' by Riot from the Monstercat pack. That song is an ungodly assault on my ears, but I’ll be damned if it’s not the most fun track in the game. It’s brutally challenging, exhausting, and brilliant. When you really get into a groove playing Beat Saber, the music fades to the background. You concentrate by not concentrating, because the second you start to think about what you’re doing, you'll begin missing notes. All you really hear is the beat, and this game has quite the ear when it comes to finding compelling rhythms.
What’s more, the constant replaying and “just one more” mentality that the game puts me in has made me like a few songs I normally would not. After buying the Imagine Dragons pack, I’ve actually come to quite like the song 'Believer' and now even listen to it outside the game. The fact that Beat Saber sold me on an Imagine Dragons song is downright crazy to me. The painstaking attention to finding entertaining drum beats and equally entertaining note tracks has made the experience peerless. It offers something unique for rhythm games, and helps bring attention to some really cool stuff.
It makes for an interesting inversion on how I normally view rhythm games. Whereas I play Rock Band or Guitar Hero because they have a cavalcade of tracks that I already liked beforehand rather than solely on the merits of gameplay, I approach Beat Saber with no expectations of liking the music and enjoy it immensely despite that.
That being said, every once in a while, it would be nice to get some songs I already like. So if Beat Games is reading this, how about a Franz Ferdinand pack, yeah?
What do you think of Beat Saber's music? Do you like it, or do you like the game despite the music? Hack n' slash a couple of comments down below.