After potentially over 100 failed attempts, I finally passed American Idiot on Expert difficulty. Despite being absolutely drenched in sweat and beyond exhausted, I realised I had finally come to enjoy playing the level after initially being frustrated. However, whether that was genuine enjoyment or just Stockholm Syndrome was still unclear.
After more thought, it’s definitely the former. While I found some of the tracks in the Green Day music pack frustrating at first, they’re ultimately just designed slightly differently to fit the rock genre better. After an adjustment period, you’ll be slashing your way through blocks that feel perfectly in-line with Green Day’s punk rock attitude.
The tracks included don’t go too far back into the Green Day discography – there are two tracks from their upcoming album (‘Father of All…’ and ‘Ready, Set, Fire’) and then a smattering of American Idiot tracks (‘American Idiot’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’) and then one track from Warning (‘Minority’). The six tracks will set you back $8.99 as a bundle or $1.99 each.
However, what’s most important about this pack is that these Green Day tracks are the first rock tracks we’ve seen in Beat Saber. The Panic! At The Disco pack is more pop punk, Imagine Dragons leans more towards the pop side as well, and everything before that is electronic or pop music. I’ve personally been clamoring for more varied genres for a while, so it’s fantastic to finally see some pure rock represented in the game.
However, I realized that some of my initial frustrations with the Green Day Beat Saber tracks are probably related to why it took so long for the game’s music to veer away from pop and electronic. Rock doesn’t immediately lend itself quite as well to Beat Saber tracks as you might think. Things get a little more rigid and there’s a lot of potential for repetition, leading to some stale tracks. Overall though, the Green Day pack works well but feels stylistically different to some of the existing Beat Saber catalog.
This isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it’s the opposite. With each new music pack, players are getting different styles of levels to match the music they’re built from. The Panic! At The Disco levels have a really nice flow and feel elegant, even at the higher difficulties, perfectly matching the panache you might associate with Brendan Urie. By contrast, the Green Day levels feel much more rough around the edges, tighter and, at times, more punishing – definitely more befitting a punk rock band with attitude.
Speaking of attitude, Green Day is well known for their use of profanity and all of the tracks in this music pack are censored with beeps. It doesn’t completely ruin things, but it can be distracting.
Drumming to the Beat
In most of the Green Day tracks, the higher difficulties focus on mapping blocks to Tré Cool’s complicated drum beats and fills. ‘American Idiot’ is a prime example – with such a rhythmically-sparse track, you mostly mirror the rigid drums and guitar patterns. When you get it right, hitting those beats feels incredible. However, to begin with, I found this track to be a lot more daunting and frustrating than others. It took me many, many tries to pass American Idiot on Expert difficulty for the first time compared to other Expert tracks in the game. By contrast, when the Panic! At The Disco tracks released, I was able pass most of them on Expert after only a few attempts at each.
This reliance on the drums also means that some of the Green Day tracks are noticeably easier than others – there is a huge disparity in how these tracks are rated in terms of difficulty. Comparing Boulevard of Broken Dreams on Expert to American Idiot on Expert will leave you confused – the former feels like a walk in the park, with fewer blocks and less complication, and the latter is a real a workout that sends your arms flying to match frenzied drum beats and fills.
Some Missed Opportunities
Personally, I feel that other tracks from Green Day’s discography would have made for much more interesting levels. The bass line and drum combination from ‘Longview’ screams Beat Saber. Likewise, ‘Welcome to Paradise’ might have provided a bit more rhythmic variety than ‘Holiday’, which can feel a bit passé at times. To keep the selection within Green Day’s more recent tunes, the 9-minute anthem and fan-favourite ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ would have been hilarious to see in Beat Saber, with all its twists and turns. It would have been an exhaustingly long level, no doubt, but it definitely would have provided more variety than some of the tracks we ended up with.
This isn’t to say the included levels are bad. They’re a lot of fun and the ones that provide a bit of a challenge are well worth the time investment. The theming on each level is also fantastic – the blocks are changed to hues of green, set against a bright green backdrop with the iconic hand-grenade heart from the American Idiot cover hanging over the track ahead of you. A lot of effort has been put in and the resulting tracks can be excellent at times, but I also wish we had gotten more tracks, or at least some with more rhythmic variety.
Other Beat Saber Updates
The launch of this pack also coincided with the launch of 360 and 90 degree levels, which have you spinning around as blocks come at your from different angles instead of just straight ahead (although PSVR uses only gets the 90 degree variants, not the 360 degree ones, due to tracking constraints). The 360 and 90 degree variants are only available on certain tracks, spread across the original Beat Saber OST and all of the music packs so far.
I found this new style to be a mixed bag. While refreshing, the 360 and 90 degree levels are only available in one pre-determined difficulty per song. For example, the 360 and 90 degrees variant of ‘Holiday’ in the Green Day pack are only available set at Hard difficulty. If more difficulty options were given, I might have stayed more interested. Nonetheless, the new style makes for great variation from the standard tracks, which many will no doubt enjoy.
Beat Saber Green Day Music Pack Review Final Verdict:
All that being said, the Green Day music pack is indicative of the path Beat Saber should continue on if it wants to keep its currently-unbeatable poster-child status in the VR world. Green Day is a big name and the first proper rock band to feature in Beat Saber. They’re sure to draw a wider, or at least more diverse, audience than some of the other packs, and that variety can only lead to more widespread appeal for the game overall.
This pack also feels a bit more ‘full’ than the closest and most recent equivalent – the Panic! At The Disco pack. There’s a few more songs, the theming of the levels is more extensive and you get some tracks that feel a bit stylistically different from what’s already on offer. Overall, these levels are definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a Green Day fan.
Hopefully this is the first of many music packs to come that feature popular artists from a range of different genres. With enough variety, Beat Saber will soon have a music pack to fit almost anyone’s music taste.
Final Score: 4/5 Stars | Really Good
You can read more about our five-star scoring policy here.
This review was conducted using the Oculus Quest version of Beat Saber. The Green Day music pack is available on all platforms that already contain Beat Saber and costs $8.99 for all six songs or each song can be purchased individually for $1.99.