There’s still a lot to love if you’re a PSVR owner.
Move aside, Ready Player One. If VR has a claim to anything in pop culture, it’s Beat Saber. Without a doubt, Beat Saber is currently the most popular VR game around the globe. Because of its popularity on PC, it inevitably exploded into the 3+ million unit market share of PSVR users in November 2018 to fanfare amongst the PSVR community, who’d been waiting with hushed breath for word on when the instant PCVR classic would finally come to their shores.
Some of you might be wondering exactly what differentiates the PSVR and PCVR versions of Beat Saber, besides that one relies on a beefy gaming rig and the other relies on a PS4 console. You might even be hinging the purchase of your headset and your base system on which one can play Beat Saber better. Though, I’m not sure why you’d do that.
A PSVR owner myself, I decided to go in and investigate the differences between the two Beat Saber ports and honestly, I lost myself as deeply inside of the PSVR version of the game as I would have if I were playing in my Oculus Rift.
PSVR Beat Saber Pros
PSVR Campaign Mode
The campaign mode in the PSVR edition of Beat Saber has actually provided far more fun than I originally expected it would. While the PSVR version of the game also has free play mode, there’s a sense of progression you get from playing the game in a campaign format that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. The PC port does not have a campaign mode at the current moment, so there’s that to consider. However, Beat Games has promised to add this feature to the PC edition at a later point in the future.
As far as what the campaign mode actually offers, you get a lot of interesting stuff to do. There are multiple progression paths that take you through different songs and challenges, and you are revved up in difficulty levels as you play through the campaign. There’s actually a surprising amount of content once you take into consideration the various modifiers that Beat Games has added to Beat Saber’s box-slashing loop.
One of the modifiers that forces you to rethink your tactics is one that makes box arrows disappear at a specific distance before they reach you. Another one is the minimum/maximum movement measurements, where you’ll need to move your arms a specific amount of meters for the duration of a track. I found the maximum movement levels to be a challenge because of how deliberate and restrained I needed my movements to be. It was like a clever wrist workout built right into the campaign mode.
Five Exclusive Songs
Beat Saber’s PSVR port also comes with five new exclusive tracks from major artists like Mord Fustang and Frank Bentley. Once again, these five new exclusive tracks will be launching on the PCVR version of Beat Saber at some point in the future, likely alongside the campaign mode. While this does not hold a candle to the rather insane amassing of custom music tracks available to PCVR players via Beat Saver, it is nice to see Beat Games beginning to roll out new first-party beatmaps to the game.
PSVR Move Controllers
Ironically, Beat Saber is the one game where I feel like the Move controllers make total ergonomic sense. You’re not playing with hands here, you’re playing with laser swords. The Move controllers feel more like hilts than hands anyway, so the physical shape of the controllers fits and feels more correct than the Oculus Touch controllers. I haven’t played Beat Saber with HTC Vive Wands, so I’m not sure what those are like in comparison, but I find the Moves to enhance the experience in PSVR Beat Saber on an ergonomic level.
PSVR Beat Saber Cons
Lower Graphical Fidelity
As with any PSVR game, the graphics here are a downgrade from what a PCVR user is used to. To start, PSVR’s reprojection from 60 to 120 fps creates somewhat of a ghosting effect which can be somewhat unpleasant if you’re not used to it. It’s actually better here than it is in other PSVR games I’ve played, but it’s noticeable as a regular Rift user. There’s also a nested pro here, in that I never personally noticed the PSVR version of Beat Saber drop beneath 60 frames per second. Which is actually very cool for those who might get motion sickness from frame stuttering on PC.
Of course, in order to maintain those 60 frames per second, the graphics have been downgraded to a much slimmer, less detailed, blurrier version of the game than PCVR players get with a decently built gaming rig on low-medium settings.
The graphical fidelity of a game like Beat Saber isn’t something to write home about in the first place, but the little things do make an impression on me, and this version of Beat Saber simply gives me a more compressed visual experience than the PCVR version. Corners have been cut on things like anti-aliasing and shadow quality to give you a more consistent, more playable game on the PSVR. It’s functional, and that’s what matters.
Reduced Tracking Quality
Because the PSVR relies on one camera and one camera alone to do all of its dirty work, you don’t get an opportunity to play Beat Saber with the benefit of roomscale 360-degree tracking.
You’ll face forward and stand in the same spot either way, but I feel like my freedom on the PSVR version of Beat Saber is lacking as a result of the PS4’s lowered capacity for tracking my movements. Sometimes I’d have my controllers appear and disappear as I attempted to naturally move around my playspace, and that would cause me to miss slices that’d be otherwise easy to nail on PCVR. This made the game feel less fluid as a result, and therefore took away some of Beat Saber’s charm.
Lack of Mods
Mods and custom songs have been a staple for PCVR users since the game’s release last May. Beat Saber would not have gained as much traction as fast as it did if not for the viral videos that went around last spring. And many of those videos were of influencers playing the game with custom tracks, avatars and sabers.
Because they’re provided through a third party, none of them are available on the PSVR version of Beat Saber. Beat Games has, in the past, talked about providing a custom level editor built into the game with a first-party platform for sharing content, but it remains to be seen how they’d be able to pull that off. Seeing as much of the popular custom content is based on licensed material, PSVR users may never see any kind of custom songs appear on the platform at all.
Both PCVR and PSVR users will be receiving a series of DLC packs soon, and both have received new first-party content through patches. So far, free first-party content patches have come with songs like Knower’s One Hope and K/DA’s POPSTARS, new modifiers that can be applied to freeplay mode, and a new saber design that feels much more detailed than the original design from launch.
Once again, many of the PSVR port’s defining features will be making their way to PCVR, but that doesn’t mean the PSVR version of the game isn’t worth getting. It’s still Beat Saber, and it’s still pretty much what you’d expect it to be. That said, if you have a nice gaming PC and a PCVR headset, you’re still getting a better deal by going for the PCVR version of Beat Saber.
PSVR owners, how are you enjoying Beat Saber so far? Let us know in the comments.