Beat Saber just got a Linkin Park music pack today and we’ve already played through the list of songs to bring you our review. Spoiler alert: it’s fantastic.
It’s been a very, very long time since a Beat Saber music pack turned my head. When I got the email about the Linkin Park pack, dropping right around the band’s 20th anniversary of its smash-hit Hybrid Theory album, I was ecstatic.
I don’t really care for Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco, or Green Day, so most of the non-electronic packs have flown under my radar. To be quite honest, I’ve had Beat Saber uninstalled for a long time. I’d Given Up. But I cannot tell you how quickly I reinstalled to download this music pack. As it turns out, it felt just like somewhere I belong.
The problem with most Beat Saber tracks from its original music packs and most of the DLC that has followed is that it all just kind of sounds the same. For example, the Monstercat pack is extremely good from a quality perspective, but I’d never heard any of those songs before. After playing one and finally getting the rhythm down, I didn’t feel any sort of surge of adrenaline when it was over. I was just Numb.
That’s not the case here. Despite it being past 4AM on a Sunday night / Monday morning I still found myself literally jumping up and down and head banging throughout many of the tracks. Admittedly, I have a lot of personal connection to this music. Linkin Park is one of my favorite bands and I’ll never forget the exact moment I found out Chester Bennington had died.
But regardless of that, the song selection feels like a perfect fit for Beat Saber. I think there’s a good reason why several Linkin Park songs are consistently popular on unofficial custom song download site, Beat Saver. Something about the rhythm, cadence, and tone feels right despite the lack of electronic sounds.
I’ve got two issues with the way this music pack is handled. First of all, there are no 360 or 180 levels as far as I can tell for any of the 11 new songs. It’s just standard front-facing only, five difficulties each, for a total of 55 new beat maps. It’s the biggest track list to date, but still a bummer not to get some alternative versions of the more popular ones like Numb and In The End.
On top of that, the difficulty curve feels a bit off. Like I explained before, it has been a long time since I played Beat Saber. Like, a really long time. Yet, I was able to hop in and get an S-rank on Hard for most of the tracks on my very first try. Flip it to Expert? I couldn’t even pass any of them for a while. I recorded footage using No Fail just to ensure the entire songs got captured.
Eventually I came around and could stumble through reasonably well, but the massive leap in difficulty between Hard and Expert here felt weird. That being said, it’s a consistent level of difficulty across all of the new music. Other than perhaps Bleed it Out due to its short length, or One Step Closer for its heavy rhythmic repetition, all of the songs are quite tough by my standards.
If you’re a Linkin Park fan, you can’t deny that’s a great list of tracks. The obvious ones like In The End, Numb, and One Step Closer all made the cut. Some other gems like Faint and What I’ve Done made the list too, much to my delight. The biggest and most obvious omission, other than more recent hits such as Burn it Down, is the absence of Crawling. That track is also from Hybrid Theory, the album that’s being celebrated here, and is the 6th most-popular song on Spotify from Linkin Park — just after 4 songs that made the list and the Numb / Encore remix. I’d have gladly left off Given Up to get Crawling, personally. Papercut could pass too if I’m splitting hairs.
One change thought that I loved, since it helps make the tracks fit in even better, is the replacement stage. Instead of standing on a neon highway with abstract shapes twisting and pulsing in the distance, you’re in a subway tunnel. Just, a normal subway tunnel for the most part, with the Hybrid Theory cover art painted on the floor. It’s appropriately symbol and fittingly comfortable.
Beat Saber Linkin Park Final Impressions
If you’re a fan of early 2000s-era rock music like me, then this is like a dream come true. The mapping for all 11 songs is fantastic and it represents an excellent highlight list of some of the band’s biggest hits from not only Hybrid Theory, but albums that followed as well. Linkin Park has a uniquely identifiable sound that mixes heavy rhythmic guitar, intoxicating dual vocalists, and deeply personal lyrics that you can’t help but feel while slicing through the air. I had fallen out of love with Beat Saber, but this music pack has brought me One Step Closer to appreciating it all over again.
Beat Saber’s Linkin Park 11-song music pack is out today for $13.99 or $1.99 per song, it’s the largest collection of music released to date. This review was conducted on the Oculus Quest version of Beat Saber. For more on how we arrived at this score, check out our review guidelines.