Releasing in November 2019, Pistol Whip was undeniably one of the standout VR titles of that year. Jerry rigging first-person shooting into a rhythm game does not exactly sound intuitive but as anyone who has played Pistol Whip can attest, it really works. In fact, we voted it our 2019 New Fitness Game of the Year. It also picked up the D.I.C.E award for Immersive Reality Technical Achievement.
Slick, stylish, and overwhelmingly visceral, Pistol Whip eschews subtlety and instead launches an over the top, all-out assault on the senses. It’s outrageously good fun, and quite a workout too, as you duck, bob, and weave your way through a hail of incoming bullets, before returning fire, or dispatching enemies by smashing your gun into their face, the game’s signature move.
Since making its debut with ten synthwave tracks, Pistol Whip has had a slew of past updates including the Mad Max-inspired Full Throttle, which offered new levels, and game modifiers such as Scavenger, and One-and-Done.
In all prior to Pistol Whip 2089, there were 18 tracks in total, each with a short story bio, but nothing linking them together.
With Pistol Whip 2089, developer Cloudhead Games has decided to offer us a more story-driven campaign, featuring comic art style cutscenes and gritty voiceovers. The plot is familiar. The future is here and the machines have taken over. You play the appropriately named John Asimov (John Connor/Isaac Asimov I see what they did there), tasked with saving humanity, defeating the metal horde, and unraveling the mystery behind their uprising.
It’s set over five acts, with tracks from Black Tiger Sex Machine, Draeden, Processor, and an exclusive Magic Sword remix. This brings the game’s total track count to 23.
The Terminator vibes are strong in this expansion, the first level playing out almost exactly like the beginning of the first Terminator movie.
Hands-On – Fast, Frenetic, And A Solid Workout
This free update to the Pistol whip universe assumes some familiarity with the game’s mechanics. If you’re new to the game I’d start with the arcade modes first. Play some classic or reloaded tracks to get a feel of what Pistol Whip is about and then only then step into the campaign.
Once in you’re greeted with some excellent comic book art and a stirring introduction to get you in the mood. I’ve posted the intro below.
Cloudhead asked reviewers to limit the video footage shown to brief clips only as they want to avoid spoiling surprises for players, which is fair enough. I just have to tease a clip of my favorite level though below, an unarmed facility escape mission where you have no ammo.
It’s a glorious bob and weave fest interspersed with some strong right hook pistol whips to the face. This is the most physically demanding Pistol Whip level so far and a great choice for leg day!
There’s also the addition of a new burst fire handgun, that can take out robots four at a time. This is wonderfully choreographed to the music and made me feel like I was Christian Bale in Equilibrium.
Overall it will take around 45 minutes to an hour to complete the campaign, which for a free update is not half bad. Of course, Pistol Whip, like Beat Saber is infinitely replayable, with difficulty settings and game modifiers adding challenge and variety to the levels, and giving the incentive to complete them again, and again.
That was Cloudhead Game’s first attempt at a Pistol Whip campaign, and I certainly hope it won’t be the last. The next large update, entitled Concierge is slated for Spring 2021, and I can’t wait to see what they bring us then.
Pistol Whip 2089 is a free and automatic update that provides additional content to the base game. You can get it now for Oculus Quest and Rift, and it’s also available for PCVR on Steam. It’s ‘coming soon’ to PSVR.
If you want to know more about the base game, check out our full Pistol Whip review.