Post-launch music packs are vital for any rhythm game, and Beat Saber is no exception. Despite being the most notable, and likely the most popular, rhythm game in the VR space, Beat Saber has been in need of some new tracks for awhile now. Fortunately, the game just recently got its biggest wave of DLC to date, and as a result, it has made me dive back headfirst into the game’s block-smacking gameplay in a serious way over the past few days.
A little over a week ago, the Linkin Park Music Pack made its way to Beat Saber giving the game a nice boost of new songs from beloved rock band which got its start in the early 2000s. The Linkin Park Music Pack is the largest slate of music that Beat Saber has received so far and adds 11 new tracks to the game, all of which come from the band’s first three albums — Hybrid Theory, Meteora, and Minutes to Midnight. If you’re a longtime fan of Linkin Park, that final point is surely exactly what you were hoping to hear.
That said, just because there’s a lot of content in this music pack doesn’t mean it’s automatically good. Fortunately, Beat Games has invested a lot of time, energy, and care into this new add-on, making it Beat Saber’s best piece of downloadable content so far.
Some Much Needed Headbanging
I don’t know about you, but whenever I work out, I always have music blasting into my ears. More often than not, the genre that I like to listen to most-frequently is heavy metal or 90s grunge for one reason or another. With this in mind, Linkin Park was basically a perfect addition to Beat Saber purely because the band’s genre lines up with the style of music that gets me amped.
While I think Beat Saber as a whole has always been a fantastic rhythm title, the game’s larger soundtrack has lacked some much-needed diversity since it first released. Electronic music, as great as it is in games like this, can only be revisited so often before getting stale — especially when the genre makes up a vast majority of what’s being offered. Linkin Park’s 11 new songs finally add some new styles of music which, above all else, is something I think Beat Saber has needed for awhile.
Don’t get me wrong, Linkin Park isn’t the first addition of the rock genre to Beat Saber’s larger music catalog. “What about the Green Day Music Pack?” I’m sure you’re asking. Well, don’t worry, because I didn’t forget about Green Day. The previous Beat Saber add-on from one of the all-time most-popular punk bands was solid in its own right, but it failed to add a variety of different tracks from the band’s larger discography, in my own opinion. This LP Music Pack instead adds a number of discernible tracks from the group’s history, each of which are also quite different in their own right.
Despite this music pack being in my wheelhouse, though, the general idea of Linkin Park being in Beat Saber might not be something you’re into. Music tastes are incredibly subjective, after all. If you’re playing Beat Saber purely to get in a daily work out and you’d prefer to play something more centered around hip-hop or EDM, there are still plenty of songs for you in the game. Fortunately, whether you love Linkin Park itself or you’ve just been craving more tracks from the alternative rock genre, this music pack delivers in spades.
Variety of the Spice of Life
After giving each song in this bundle a whirl over the past few days, I have to say that the most impressive part to me of the Linkin Park Music Pack for Beat Saber is that each song feels wholly unique. I’m not just talking about the songs themselves, either, but instead the beatmaps that have been put together for each track.
Songs like Given Up and Papercut, while faster in tempo, naturally, contain some truly breakneck beatmaps that are more about hitting single blocks in successive fashion as fast as possible (especially when on higher difficulties). Conversely, some of of the slower songs that are available in this pack such as Somewhere I Belong or What I’ve Done task you with being more on your toes. In these latter songs, you might not have to hit as many blocks, but you’ll be asked to hit them in more complex sequences while also needing to dodge more oncoming walls.
It would be one thing for Beat Games to just add 11 new songs to Beat Saber from Linkin Park’s history, but it’s a whole other beast to make each track feel so distinct from one another. Whether you want to hit as many blocks as humanly possible, or you’d like to dial things back and try to work on mixing up your arm motions a bit more, this music pack has a lot of options with all of the new beatmaps being expertly put together.
A Change of Scenery
Let’s be honest: working out in the exact same locations every single day can get old quickly. This is partially why VR games, and specifically titles like Supernatural, have become so popular when it comes to being used for fitness purposes. Having an environment around you that is constantly lively and changing makes each workout routine feel far more fresh compared to seeing the same four walls of your local gym all the time.
Rather than putting players in the typical Beat Saber environment with this new Linkin Park add-on, Beat Games has crafted an entirely new area in which each song is experienced. Gone are the typical neon lights and nondescript arena found in the game’s normal levels and in its place, you’re welcomed to a new location that is hand-crafted to relate back to Linkin Park proper. From the band’s name adorning the left and right side of the walls, to the Hybrid Theory logo sitting on the bottom of the floor, to the band’s simple “LP” logo sitting off in the distance, the entirety of this new setting has been designed to be related back to the group.
The best part is that this environment itself directly ties into the history of Linkin Park, too. The tunnel locale was made famous in the One Step Closer music video, which first released over two decades ago. It’s a really cool callback and is one that makes each track even more fun to play within if you recognize it.
Again, this is something that Beat Games has done in the past with DLC for Beat Saber, so this new environment isn’t an entirely new idea altogether. Still, it shows that Beat Games is committed to making sure the title continues to feel fresh so long after release. And if you’re someone like me that likes to frequent Beat Saber to get in some cardio sessions, the simple change of visuals when playing made me feel more rejuvenated than before.
Practice Makes Perfect
Admittedly, before the Linkin Park Music Pack dropped last week, I hadn’t played Beat Saber in awhile. That said, I always considered myself pretty good at the game as I typically am able to clear most songs on either Hard or Expert difficulties. After giving each new song in this pack a shot though, I’m seriously starting to question my abilities.
In my own estimation, these Linkin Park songs are now some of the tougher tracks available in the entirety of Beat Saber. As I mentioned before, each beatmap included in this collection is pretty different in their own right, but when you bump up that difficulty, every song can get complex fast. Trust me, I saw a game over screens in the opening 30-seconds of songs like Faint or Bleed It Out more times than I’d like to count.
That said, this isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, for those of us who utilize virtual reality to get in a good sweat, this is one of the best things you could want to hear. If you’re someone who is looking to clear all of these new tracks on the highest level possible, or better yet, dominate the leaderboards while doing so, you’ll surely have to put in some serious practice here. When your overall goal is just as much about burning calories as it is playing the actual game, you’d be hard-pressed to complain about being forced to replay levels over and over until you get it right.
Purely from a fitness perspective, this higher level of difficulty is perhaps the aspect that I loved the most with this new DLC. Sure, failing is never a fun feeling, but if the game is going to encourage me to come back time and time again, I’ll gladly continue to polish up my skills while simultaneously losing some weight.
Overall, the Linkin Park Music Pack is an easy sell for longtime Beat Saber fans. Not only does it add a new injection of tracks from a genre that hasn’t been seen much in the Beat Saber index, but each song is just a blast to play. Plus, if you’re looking to get some longevity and replayability out of your purchase, that can definitely be found here given the high degree of difficulty that is on offer. This is one add-on that should keep you coming back for more time and time again, which is perhaps the most important thing of all if you’re someone who uses VR on a daily basis.
The Linkin Park Music Pack is available now for purchase in Beat Saber across Oculus Rift, Quest, PlayStation VR, Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The full tracklist of 11 songs can be purchased in one bundle for $13.99, with individual tracks being purchasable at $1.99.
For more on Beat Saber, you can also check out a 1-hour workout playlist for the game that should keep you more than active in this season of quarantine.