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Editors’ Choice: Why Beat Saber is One of the Best Games of 2018

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Editors’ Choice: Why Beat Saber is One of the Best Games of 2018

Beat Games' vibrant, addictive rhythm slasher is a must-own for anybody with a PS VR headset.

I spent a good chunk of my teens and 20s striving to master games like Dance Dance Revolution, DrumMania and Beatmania IIDX (not to mention your Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands), and I’ve been a vocal champion of virtual reality since the early “Project Morpheus” days. Beat Saber combines these two passions in an addictive, “why-did-it-take-this-long-for-someone-to-do-this” experience that — yeah, I’ll say it — is a mandatory addition to any PlayStation VR owner’s library.

You probably know the gist of this one, as it’s been making the rounds on YouTube for a while: the player, equipped with dual sabers, slashes through oncoming blocks to the beat of high-energy tunes — many composed in-house by Jaroslav Beck. Beck, co-founder of Beat Games, has contributed his musical talents to big properties including Blizzard’s Overwatch and Hollywood juggernauts like Star Wars and Terminator.

Beat Saber for PS VR

Witnessing expert players at work in Beat Saber can be daunting, but I posit that Beat Saber is one of the most accessible rhythm games of all time. Stay with me here.

Mechanically speaking, Beat Saber isn’t an especially complicated game, but rhythm games are almost always confusing when you first start trying to learn them. For some reason though, every time I’ve showed someone Beat Saber and watched them play their first song, they’ve picked it up almost immediately.

The one-to-one control setup of Beat Saber goes a long way. Take DDR as an example: stepping on arrows as the corresponding on-screen arrows get to the right spot seems simple enough, but there’s a disconnect between the digital arrow on the screen and the physical one you need to step on. It feels great once you clear that mental hurdle, but connecting those metaphorical dots takes some time. In Beat Saber, you are literally slashing through a “physical” object that exists directly in front of you. Removing that step of the learning process gets new players straight to the “Wow, this game is really fun!” part.

It helps, too, that many of the songs on the game’s electronic / techno-heavy soundtrack are especially well-suited to its slash-dancing gameplay. This is accentuated by expertly crafted note charts for each song: Regardless of which difficulty you play on, moving as the game instructs you to makes you feel like you’re, well… dancing. And as it turns out, dancing is a pretty good way to burn some calories! My smart watch has gotten used to me being a pretty sedentary person, so this sudden shift toward a more active lifestyle (some of the expert-level songs are intense) is probably pretty confusing for it. Sorry, little buddy!

Beat Saber is the first new music game I’ve played since Rock Band that feels this fresh and promising. It’s rekindled my love for the genre, reinforced my belief in the future of virtual reality, and, with any luck, will help me live a healthier life. How many Game of the Year nominees can claim that?


What was your favorite game of 2018? Click here to vote in the PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year 2018 Awards!

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33 Comments

  • xXMilkyFreakXx

    Battlefield 5

  • s1mply_n0thing

    Subnautica is so underrated

  • El_Maravilla5450

    Fortnite

  • Thebigragu_84

    Probably God of War or Spider-man or COD BO4

  • Battlefield V and Detroid become human are the best new Games 2018

  • I want this game really bad. The article says, “In Beat Saber, you are literally slashing through a “physical” object that exists directly in front of you.” I will wait to buy this game until it is available as a “physical” object that I can purchase in a store an keep forever.

  • nathanuc1988

    Beat Saber is amazing. Can’t wait for additional songs!

    • Same here. Working on improving my Beat Saber skills to take on Expert level songs while anxiously waiting for additional songs to get added. Surprised that I can already do Full Combo and S Rank on most of the songs on Hard, so it is definitely possible to improve if keep playing because I started not even being able to do Full Combo on Easy / Normal when I first got the game.

  • In my opinion Battelfield V is a Best Game

  • Spider-man was amazing can’t wait for Spider-man 2

  • dolphin_grl16

    Red Dead Redemption 2

  • BaconLicker912

    Beat saber is up there on the list, but my picks are: RD2, Spider-Man, Detroit Become Human and God of War. Fortnite doesn’t deserve to be on the list because multiplayer games don’t have enough room to fit a story or dialogue into just cartoon characters killing cartoon characters, but that’s just my opinion.

  • First the editor for editor choice picks destiny 2 and now this.

  • Fortnite 

    Because it is fun it has no blood and is suitable for teens under the age of 18 and16

  • Dr_Awesome81

    Beat Saber is not only the best game of the year it’s the best game of its genre period.

  • Marvel SPIDER-MAN

  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 is a best one!

  • IAmSpaghette

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Is Best In My Opinion.

  • I personally think that COD BO4, Bf5 and GOW 4.
    Are all good and exceptional games that should be competing in their own game variant.
    Because you can’t compare a GOW with a COD.
    It doesn’t make any sense to me, yes I’ve been a gamer since my 4th but still would it be more fair?

  • Vio-Viva-Vendett

    Best game 2018 , i loved this game,

  • COD BO4 and red dead redemption 2 are honestly the best

  • youssefplays997

    Spider man

  • youssefplays997

    Spider man game is the best

  • youssefplays997

    Spider man game

  • youssefplays997

    Spider-man ps4

  • youssefplays997

    Spiderman PS4 is the best game

  • gogdervloger

    It is Spider-Man a really fun game to play

  • hasson___qtr700

    My favorite game is of this year is nothing it was the baddest year for games

  • Thabks for highlighting this game. It is easily going to be the game from 2018 that I play the most going forward. Already have over 12 Hours into this, and I can’t stop playing.

    So hard to choose a game of the year this year. Between Beat Saber, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Creed: Rise to Glory, Moss, and Firewall, PSVR alone had one of the best years I can remember. Then on top of that God of War, Spider-Man, Detroit: Become Human, Forza Horizon 4, Smash Bros. Ultimate, and even Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu. It has been a non stop year for great games!

  • Beat Saber is a ton of fun. The PS4 version is limited in song selection compared to the PC, but hopefully promised DLC’s will help remedy that! The bigger the game gets the easier it’ll be to get more artists on board, for sure. I agree with the reviewer. One of the beautiful things about Beat Saber is the almost zero learning curve (to figure out how to play, not to play well), and the fact that, while playing, you don’t have to press ANY buttons! For everybody who isn’t as used to a game controller as they are to their own hands, this provides incredible accessibility. It is quite literally, the most accessible game I’ve ever seen, and yet – on difficult levels, challenging enough that you’ll work up a sweat even if you’re a pro. Absolute gaming zen.

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